I’m sorry for slowing you down.
Legally speaking, California gives bicyclists the same rights and responsibilities to the roadway as motor vehicle drivers. And there are even a few instances where bicyclists can ride out in the traffic. Which is when you saw me.
I saw some conditions ahead that—if I had continued riding on the right—were unsafe. Here are common reasons permitted by law when I may ride out in traffic:
• Bad Road Surface Cracked, uneven, or pot-holed roads are a bigger hazard to me than cars because my tires are narrower. These conditions can grab my front wheel and knock me over into oncoming traffic.
• Obstacles in My Path Many times, there are garbage cans, glass, tree branches, or boxes in my lane. It would be unsafe to not avoid these.
• Parked Cars on the Right Hitting the door of a car can seriously hurt me when I ride at 15mph or more. Cyclists have been killed from being “doored”.
• Poor Visibility When buildings or trucks block the view of cars on the right coming into traffic, moving to my left gives me more time to respond to unsafe situations that may suddenly develop.
• The Lane Was Too Narrow Vehicles can drive too close if they try to squeeze by me in one lane. Cyclists are routinely hit by mirrors this way, and the wind from a vehicle’s draft can knock me over and put me under the wheels of following vehicles.
Please remember, it is better for both of us if I ride predictably—in a straight line—in traffic than if I were to weave in and out avoiding obstacles.