[Nothing on this blog should be confused for legal advice. I am not a lawyer, public official, or officer of the law. You, the reader, are liable for your own behavior and knowledge.]

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Car Analog Rule

When I'm caught behind a cyclist stopped at a red light and I'd like to turn right, why doesn't the cyclist get out of my way so I can turn on red?

A second rule beyond the General Rules (i.e. safe? legal? courteous?) to which I've already alluded is, Would I do this if the bike was a car? If the answer is no, don't do it; bicycles are vehicles. I'll call this the Car Analog Rule. (A major warning here is that the opposite of this rule is not true. Just because you would do it if the bike was a car doesn't necessarily mean that it's acceptable to do to the bike.)

So, in this situation, would you expect a car that is in front of you at a red light waiting to go straight through the intersection to get out of your way so that you can turn right a few seconds sooner? Of course you wouldn't! Why would you expect a cyclist to behave any differently?

That said, as a cyclist, I regularly try to get as far left in the lane as safely possible when stopped at a red light to courteously allow a possible car behind me that might want to turn right that opportunity. This isn't always possible or advisable, though, and certainly isn't required. Be patient.

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