Winter Street Bridge Westbound

John Allen

The centerpiece of the February Safety Corner was a photo of cyclists riding on a multi-lane rural highway, and I asked whether that was safe and legal, but possibly rude. I promised answers this month, and so here they are:

Yes, it is legal except on limited-access and express state highways where signs have been posted – though sometimes they are posted incorrectly.>

Is it safe? With good road skills and equipment, it is safe entirely within reason. I did get one comment from a CRW member who said that he wouldn’t ride on such a highway at night, and would prefer to do it in a group, for greater visual presence. Well and good, I’m aware of those factors too. Also, I use a rear-view mirror, which greatly improves my ability to keep track of motorists behind me.

Is it rude? All other public roads are open to bicyclists. You have to use challenging roads for some part of your travels, and delay motorists briefly at times. But your right to use the road places the burden fairly on them. Some drivers may think otherwise , but you know better. And in the video embedded in this article, we’ll see traffic lights delaying motorists while bicyclists cause no delay. Many things delay motorists. Motorists often also delay bicyclists.

Our video example is the Winter Street bridge in Waltham. CRW’s Ride Leader Ride earlier this winter crossed this bridge, and so I thought that it would make a useful example. I show how making use of traffic signals to time entry can get you a lane all to yourself. Also, how lane choice and lane control give you safe clearance from passing motorists.

I’d say “get out the popcorn” except that this video runs less than three minutes.





John S. Allen is CRW Safety Coordinator, a certified CyclingSavvy Instructor and League Cycling Instructor and author of Bicycling Street Smarts.