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  1. #1
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    FRAP and the white line

    so i try to ride right of the white line when possible (i am a new cycler, but was always taught to ride as a vehicle as a younger kid on my bike).

    i have gotten 3 flats in 4 days because the non-travel lane on our semi-rural roads are full of glass and sharp stones... is it inadvisable to ride on the right side of the travel lane where the car's right tire would be? This is what was suggested by the mechanic at the LBS as i complained about my tire woes to him

  2. #2
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    The far right of most roads isn't maintained to the same standard as the travel lane ( as you're seeing ) because, well, most tires go down the travel road, and that's where the money is best spent.

    I generally won't go much beyond the white line to the right of the travel section of the road, although there are exceptions to everything. I'll look at it before moving right to make sure it's clear of debris, and move back into the travel lane when there's something I don't want to go over. It could be glass, or a pothole, or a bump ( say a branch, or a root under the pavement, or any number of things ), but, if there's something in the path I don't want any part of, I'm back in the travel lane.

    If your lanes aren't wide enough to safely share with whichever vehicle is behind you ( could be a truck ), you'll want to ride in the center of the lane. This isn't something you want to do for great length, but, it's there in your bag of tricks when you need id.

  3. #3
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    It's referred to as the "right tire track", and yes, that is where you should be. Riding to the right of the line, unless there is a HUGE shoulder, is never a good idea. Invites the less intelligent among the drivers to "buzz" you (passing you too closely to be safe).

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    thanks guys... i will be trying to get into the 'right tire track' tomorrow... had to by a couple new tubes, and of course, a new pump followed me home too so that i can ensure full operating pressure on my tires in the event of an on road change versus my current mini pump that will only get to 90 psi

  5. #5
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Right of the white line is not legally part of the roadway. You're never required to ride to the right of it.

    That said, I ride there when it's practical. About 2 miles of my commute is 60 MPH and busy, 2 lane road. There's a good shoulder and no hazards, I ride it twice daily for years and no flats. If I got flats there I'd stay off the shoulder.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member mikeybikes's Avatar
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    If there's too much debris to the right of the white line that you get flats, its not practicable to ride that far right.
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  7. #7
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Regardless of whether it's practicable or not, it's not part of the roadway and you're never required to ride there. I think the law always reads "as far to the right of the roadway as practicable." It doesn't say you have to ride off the road, whether it's practicable or not.

    Many of us will ride there if it works for us, but I don't believe that the law ever requires it.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    Right of the white line is not legally part of the roadway.
    Yes, the pavement to the left is the "roadway" (or travelway). The pavement to the right of the line is the shoulder.

    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    You're never required to ride to the right of it.
    This is generally true. Some states require you to use an appropriate shoulder.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 04-26-10 at 09:06 PM.

  9. #9
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Sometimes the shoulder will be the nicest place to ride.

    absolutes about road position are DOGMA and do not reflect the nuances actually involved in choosing an appropriate highway position.

    the reality of bicycling will very well find you choosing a well provided shoulder to ride on, if you are a considerate, vehicular road user able to share the road with faster traffic.

    at some speed differentials, even the most dogmatically addled will choose the shoulder - say, a western interstate, at dusk, in the rain. take the lane at a five time speed differential in the midst of ground fog and spray at twilight?

    Last edited by Bekologist; 04-26-10 at 10:47 PM.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Digital_Cowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adam_mac84 View Post
    so i try to ride right of the white line when possible (i am a new cycler, but was always taught to ride as a vehicle as a younger kid on my bike).

    i have gotten 3 flats in 4 days because the non-travel lane on our semi-rural roads are full of glass and sharp stones... is it inadvisable to ride on the right side of the travel lane where the car's right tire would be? This is what was suggested by the mechanic at the LBS as i complained about my tire woes to him
    Yes, what state are you in and what are the exceptions to the FRAP clause of your bicycle statue? It should have exceptions for substandard width lanes, surface hazards and other dangerous road conditions.
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  11. #11
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Not to disagree with any lane positioning advice but you should think about getting better tires to limit flats, as the more options you have the better the cycling experience.
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  12. #12
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    I too only ride the white line when there is a shoulder that is too small to claim as a bike lane, but big and clean enough for occasional use. In the case you are describing I too would ride the right tire track and slide towards the white line in order to facilitate a pass. When approaching an intersection, especially when stopping at a light, I usually take the center of the lane to discourage ill-advised motor vehicle passing or going around me to turn right.
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