Stylized line drawing of mark playing the flute

Taking the lane

Fellow cyclists, I am here to set you free!

No longer are you condemned to ride in fear, hugging the white line.

No longer will you bounce along in the gutter, praying your front wheel doesn’t drop through a sewer grate.

Here’s the deal. You are allowed to take the entire lane if it’s necessary for your safety as cyclist.

KRS 189'300 says

Slow moving vehicles must keep as far to the right as practicable (bicyclists β€” read SAFE) to allow faster vehicles free passage.

That means you get decide how far right you need to stay over. And, in fact, the next section of the bicycling code says as much:

But to be safe, riders need not place themselves in danger of running off the road or over deteriorated pavement and may take the lane (position near the center of the lane) when hazards, road widths, or traffic speeds dictate.

The only exception is if you're on a street with a dedicated bicycle lane. In that case, unfortunately, you're legally required to use that lane, even if the dedicated lane is obstructed. Heres a great video illustrating why that kind of law is ridiculous.

When I ride to work down Bardstown Rd, I almost always take the lane. River Road and the 2nd Street Bridge are other places where I feel safer taking the lane.

The law states that faster vehicles must leave at least 3ft of space when passing. The problem is, if I ride too far to the right, people will try to sneak by without changing lanes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been buzzed by a car with only a few inches of clearance.

If you take the entire lane by riding right down the center, it makes it clear to people behind you that they have to change lanes to pass.

It’s counterintuitive, but riding in the middle of the road can make you safer!

(Complete details about Kentucky Bicycle Law)