Bikes, cars and shared space on the roadway By Chip Smedley, Staff Writer email@example.com
The Watchdog believes money could be made from a wrestling cage match between avid bicycling enthusiasts and drivers who are unenthusiastic about them.
Knowing that any mention of a bicycle-related issue will engender responses from both sides, we again wade into troubled waters.
A Millersville Pike driver notes, "If I have it correct, the state now requires drivers to give 4 feet of space between a bicyclist and the side of your car."
The driver is correct.
Then the follow-up question, "Does this provide for what I see with some frequency on Millersville Pike in late afternoons or weekends: Cyclists riding two abreast with the left-side rider on the automobile lane area? Does the law perhaps require also that cyclists ride single-file in order for this 4-feet requirement to take effect? I find the inconvenience and even the potential danger for a driver to give those 4 feet of space to be an undue problem."
Which brings us back to the state vehicle code, courtesy of city police Lt. Todd Umstead. Section 3505 ("riding on roadways and pedalcycle paths") explains that pedalcycles "may be operated on the shoulder of a highway and shall be operated in the same direction as required of vehicles operated on the roadway."
But one subsection -- "Limitation on riding abreast" -- somewhat addresses the driver's question. "Persons riding pedalcycles upon a roadway,'' it states, "shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of pedalcycles."
However, this does not address the issue of how far into the roadway the pedalcyclists can ride. That is clarified in a section of the code dealing with vehicles (motorized or pedaled) driving slower than prevailing speeds. Here, in all its glory, is guidance provided by section 3301 (b):
"Upon all roadways any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction."n