Which side of the road do you ride on?

I commute 3.2 km (aka 2 miles) each way to/from work every day. I either uni, bicycle, walk, ski or snowshoe. In British Columbia a bicycle is classed as a vehicle under the Motor Vehicle Act, so when bicycling I must ride on the right (WITH the traffic for our English, Aussie, and NZ friends).

But I read somewhere that a unicycle, since it is not expicitly noted in the MVA, cannot ride on the right WITH traffic. Therefore, a unicyclist must ride on the left AGAINST traffic, and so when unicycling that’s what I do.

Here is the issue. A security guard at my plant told me he nearly ran me over the other night as I was headed home and he was headed to work. He came around a corner and didn’t see me “until almost too late”. I don’t think he was really too close, since I don’t remember the incident, but he was probably quite startled to see me.

I wear a reflective vest, flashing red lights on my backpack and uni, and a flashing white light on the front of my uni, as well as a helmet light. Someone told me that I was VERY easy to see, and the only way someone could hit me was if they WANTED to hit me. But this guard was very disturbed. He probably would not have been as disturbed if he saw me on the right side of the road, because that’s where drivers expect to see cyclists.

So which side of the road do you ride on - WITH traffic, or AGAINST traffic?

With… Its a lot safer and it makes me feel less scared.

don’t worry 'bout them po’lice… Your safety comes first

Re: Which side of the road do you ride on?

In the UK unicycles are now classified roughly like bikes and have to follow
similar rules. This wasn’t always the case: previously it was suspected
that a unicycle could do pretty much all the random stuff pedestrians are
allowed to get away with over here :wink:

Therefore, on the road I ride with the traffic. I think I’d find riding
against the traffic a bit unnerving, although it does give you a chance to
jump out of the way!

You might like to try writing to the traffic police (or even whatever bit of
government is responsible for the traffic laws) and asking them. Some guy
over here did that and got a rather helpful response as to what they wanted
him to do.

Cheers,
Mark

DonO wrote:

>
> I commute 3.2 km (aka 2 miles) each way to/from work every day. I
> either uni, bicycle, walk, ski or snowshoe. In British Columbia a
> bicycle is classed as a vehicle under the Motor Vehicle Act, so when
> bicycling I must ride on the right (WITH the traffic for our English,
> Aussie, and NZ friends).
>
> But I read somewhere that a unicycle, since it is not expicitly noted
> in the MVA, cannot ride on the right WITH traffic. Therefore, a
> unicyclist must ride on the left AGAINST traffic, and so when
> unicycling that’s what I do.
>
> Here is the issue. A security guard at my plant told me he nearly ran
> me over the other night as I was headed home and he was headed to work.
> He came around a corner and didn’t see me “until almost too late”. I
> don’t think he was really too close, since I don’t remember the
> incident, but he was probably quite startled to see me.
>
> I wear a reflective vest, flashing red lights on my backpack and uni,
> and a flashing white light on the front of my uni, as well as a helmet
> light. Someone told me that I was VERY easy to see, and the only way
> someone could hit me was if they WANTED to hit me. But this guard was
> very disturbed. He probably would not have been as disturbed if he saw
> me on the right side of the road, because that’s where drivers expect
> to see cyclists.
>
> So which side of the road do you ride on - WITH traffic, or AGAINST
> traffic?
>
>

As another BC native I know that I always ride againest as I was once told by a local officer that I counted as a pedestrian. When Avaible I use the sidewalk.

I tend to use the footpath to get everywhere with my trials uni, it’s easier that way. But, if I ride on the road with my coker then it’s on the left hand side (just like our cars)

In Quebec, we’re not classified as anything, so I ride on the right-hand side when there’s no sidewalk to ride on… Mostly 'cause I’m so used to riding a bike on the right hand side, I’d prolly have a probalem riding on the left :wink:

Ride on the right side if you’re going faster than walking pace.

I think you should ride on the same side as the traffic, as if you were on a bike. Apart from the legal considerations, I wouldn’t want to be riding a bike and come across a unicyclist going in the opposite direction. It would be quite unnerving for a car driver as well to have a “cyclist” coming towards you on the wrong side of the road.

Rob

I find it incredible that anyone would ride on a road against oncoming traffic.

Even if unicycles were classed as pedestrians, the fact remains that pedestrians do not walk on the road against oncoming traffic.

The road system is based on the fact that traffic rides on one side of the road, to avoid the situation of two vehicles heading towards each other on the same side of the road- a recipe for certain disaster.

I would fully expect any court of law, if presented with a case where a unicyclist riding on the wrong side of the road, is mown down by a car, to find the car driver totally blameless.

Generally, on bike/car issues, I side with the cyclists; but on this one,i just think that car drivers have got enough to look out for, on crowded roads full of traffic directing signs, and other motorists, often behaving unpredictably; to also be looking out for any vehicles coming at them head on, on the wrong side of the road.

As I see it, the issue of where to ride is a choice between

a. the pavement (sidewalk)
b. the road, as normal traffic, ie the same direction as cars and bikes

In many places, the legality of whether a or b is appropriate, may be disputable, but at least both options are sane- the same, IMO, cannot be said of riding on the road against oncoming traffic- if you do that for any length of time I would expect that an accident is guaranteed.

As a unicyclist who has ridden both on pavements and on roads, and a unicyclist keen to promote unicycling as a responsible activity (so that I can continue to ride on roads and pavements without harrassment from the law), I’m saddened to think that there are unicyclists riding on the wrong side, however well lit up they are.

Sounds like bike lights. If you’re unicycling on roads, as a general rule you act as if you’re a bike. With traffic, no question.

Walking against traffic as a pedestrian is for roads with no pavements, and ideally only quiet roads. The idea is that you can see the car coming and get out of the way - onto the grass verge or something. If you ride against traffic on a uni you would also have to get off the road every time a car came.

The other issue is speed - a pedestrian at 2 or 3 mph might as well be standing still from the point of view of a car. At 10mph or so on a unicycle, the difference in speed between riding with or against traffic is 20mph, which isn’t that small.

John

For US unicyclists this translates to “walking against traffic as a pedestrian is for roads with no sidewalks, and ideally only quiet roads.” John is not indicating offroad riding here.

I think that the security guard should be removed from the roads until he has an eye exam.

Where I live the roads are pretty narrow. When riding my Coker I ride against traffic so if some negligent driver is going to hit me I’ll have the chance to bail? I try to ride on quiet roads mostly tho.

That’s part of the story. But there’s another big part:

The other day I almost took out a guy on a bike (in my car). It was dark. I was making a right turn out of my neighborhood onto the main road. I was looking where I’m supposed to expect traffic, which in this case is to my left (remember driver’s ed? For a right turn, “Check left, check right, check left”). I had already looked to my right but the invisible bicyclist was not close enough to be noticed. Then, just as I started to pull out I noticed a wrong-way bike right in front of me. I was already moving. A second off and I would have taken him out.

I was furious. If I hit the guy and he was injured, or if there was any form of insurance claim, my insurance rates would go up for at least three years. Because of a stupid idiot riding against traffic. Glad I missed Mr. invisible.

End rant. So anyway, riding against traffic makes you much more likely to be hit at an intersection. Drivers will not be expecting you to come from the non-traffic side!

So don’t ride against traffic. The only time I’d suggest that is if you’re on a 20" and going at a casual pace. And if you’re doing that in the traffic lane, you’re still nuts.

This applies to you too, pdc. Get a mirror. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing the road with everyone else going in your direction, you really should find a different road before something bad happens. Riding into traffic only works if traffic is very light, and you’re paying close attention to each and every vehicle coming toward you. Even then you can’t tell until the last second if they’re aware of you.

Back at university there used to be a scary number of people cycling on the wrong side of the road. The worst bit when cycling towards them was not knowing whether they were going to stay at the kerb or move out to go around you; closing at speed, usually with pedestrians and cars about, doesn’t leave much in the way of escape routes if you both want to go the same way.

Much ranting was done, but some kind of university-wide publicity of how dangerous it was would have had a much larger effect.

Phil

It’s a bad idea. What if there’s a bicyclist or unicyclist coming the other direction? You’ll force him (the one following the law) right into traffic, or into the ditch. If you’re on a Coker you definitely should be riding with traffic.

In The Netherlands it is the law. When no pavement is available, pedestrians should face oncomming traffic. Unicyclists are considered pedestrian to. So…
when it’s dark I usually do so. But during daylight not that much. Further I choose to ride on cyclepaths in the same direction as bicycles. By law I should choose the opposit roadside as well, but especially bicyclists have a certain need to expose they are anoyed (and don’t know the law).
So let’s resume without all theory;
you can find me riding anywhere I think it’s best for both me as well my fellow road-user.

to make a long long loong long long long…long story short ride WITH the traffic. if you had a poll there wouild be way more votes on WITH the traffic than AGAINST so ide go WITH the traffic.

Re: Which side of the road do you ride on?

On Wed, 7 Dec 2005 23:01:34 -0600, leo wrote:

>In The Netherlands it is the law. When no pavement is available,
>pedestrians should face oncomming traffic. Unicyclists are considered
>pedestrian to.

This is outdated, Leo. See
http://www.infopolitie.nl/verkeer/rvv/rvvplaats.php (in Dutch),
particularly article 4.

I personally always ride WITH traffic, following the rules for bikes.
Unless a bike can’t go somewhere and a pedestrian can, then I consider
myself a pedestrian IF I want to go there on a uni. (That was a big
if, mind you.)

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

“erectile function trumps public image - David Stone, commenting on the importance of seat comfort”

I find the curve of the road makes it a bit harder to balance, so I ride directly down the center of the road–between traffic. It’s fun to try to stay just between the yellow lines. :slight_smile:

I’ve glided down the centre line of a hill in my city during rush hour…that was scary