The Chainlink

I am a relatively new city rider. I've been riding daily for the last 4-5 months. I typically ride a same route to work and back, to school and back, to the girl friends house and back...etc.

Today I found myself having to ride downtown on an unfamiliar route, down one way streets and my question is, if there are no bike lanes, where do I ride? My initial reaction is to default to the right side of the street, however I was riding on the right side of Dearborn for about 2 months before I realized that the bike lane was on the left side. I've seen some riders use the bus lanes and some use the left side.  IS THERE AN UNWRITTEN RULE? Or is it just a free-for-all when it comes to no bike lane?

I've done a mold internet search and can't really seem to find any information on this subject. 

Thanks,

Connor

Tags: bike, lanes

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Illinois law says that you should ride "as far to the right as practicable".

Chicago ordinance goes a step further and states that you should also yield to all other vehicles at all times.

That means if someone on a skateboard or a vespa or a pogo stick comes up behind you, and you are in their way, you need to let them pass. Usually if you have the ability to levitate about 8 feet up in the air,  that's the easiest way, but most of us look for some bushes to dive into.

Also, here's your resource, courtesy of CDOT:

http://chicagobikes.org/bikelaws/?show=chicago

Thank you! Now i know why the fellow on stilts was so pissed at me yesterday!

Seriously, though, you should be practical.  Dearborn north of the River does indeed have a lane on the left side, so get over there (on a three-lane one-way street!).  But for the most part, you should indeed stay to the right, out of dooring range, on most streets.  Main thing: do what you feel safe doing. But also: look at what other cyclists are doing.  If you're the only rider on the right along Dearborn north of Chicago Avenue, well, that's a hint to get over to the left into the bike lane.  Do what feels safe for you.

Also if you are going to make a left turn on a one-way, it's fine to start merging toward the left side of the street, the same way a car does.

h- Bushes are for wimps. I prefer a dramatic car hood lunge and roll.

Also, for your own safety, signal all your turns and lane changes.  Most drivers don't actually want to kill you, and will cut you a little slack if they know what you intend to do.

Bill Savage said:

Seriously, though, you should be practical.  Dearborn north of the River does indeed have a lane on the left side, so get over there (on a three-lane one-way street!).  But for the most part, you should indeed stay to the right, out of dooring range, on most streets.  Main thing: do what you feel safe doing. But also: look at what other cyclists are doing.  If you're the only rider on the right along Dearborn north of Chicago Avenue, well, that's a hint to get over to the left into the bike lane.  Do what feels safe for you.

+1 !!!

Jeff Schneider said:

Also, for your own safety, signal all your turns and lane changes.  Most drivers don't actually want to kill you, and will cut you a little slack if they know what you intend to do.

Bill Savage said:

Seriously, though, you should be practical.  Dearborn north of the River does indeed have a lane on the left side, so get over there (on a three-lane one-way street!).  But for the most part, you should indeed stay to the right, out of dooring range, on most streets.  Main thing: do what you feel safe doing. But also: look at what other cyclists are doing.  If you're the only rider on the right along Dearborn north of Chicago Avenue, well, that's a hint to get over to the left into the bike lane.  Do what feels safe for you.

Thanks for all of the replies. I will stick to what I am conformable with!

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