When entering the road, look left, but
always look right as well for pedestrians and overtaking cars.
Even when preparing for a right turn onto a rural highway, look left,
right, left, and then right again. A car approaching from your right can pull out to pass
very quickly and head for you in the lane you're about to enter.
Traffic follows the usual rules at a diagonal intersection, but it's harder for drivers
to look into the diagonal cross street behind them. Be especially careful of vans and
trucks, which have a right rear blindspot.
Some of the turns in a diagonal intersection aren't very sharp, so cars may not slow
down very much. Be alert to oncoming left-turning traffic, and be sure the drivers have
ON- AND OFF-RAMPS
When you're riding along a road and an on-ramp comes in from the right, stay in your
normal lane position. Traffic from behind you on the ramp will first pass to your right,
and then to your left.
If passing an on ramp or off ramp as in
(a), ride in a straight line. Enter or exit by following the right side of the ramp as in
(b). If a combined roadway is short, keep your position as in (c), avoiding the need to
merge right and then left again. You may avoid having to merge across a lane by riding the
left side of a ramp as in (d), but then move into your normal lane position when traffic
An off-ramp is much like a right-turn lane, except that the traffic is
faster. If you're going straight and the ramp goes off to the right, stay in your normal
traffic position, to its left. The exiting traffic will pass you on your right, and the
through traffic will pass you on your left.
When you're passing an off-ramp, exiting drivers may hesitate to pass you on the right.
It's effective to stay a little farther to the left than usual and make a left-turn
signal. Drivers can see your hand signal for hundreds of feet behind you, so it's useful
even when cars are traveling at highway speed.
A one-way roadway can have on- and off-ramps to the left side. When entering on a ramp
from the left, ride along its left side, then the left side of the roadway until you can
merge across to your normal lane position. When exiting on a ramp to the left, cross to
the left before the ramp and ride on the left side of the ramp until it is safe to move to
your normal lane position.
Sometimes two roadways will join or divide, but the total number of lanes will stay the
same: For example, a couple of one-lane roads can join into a single two-lane one-way
road. In high-speed traffic, it's best to ride near the edge, as with ramps. When entering
or exiting from the left in slower traffic, you may ride on the right side of the left
road, so you avoid having to cross as many lanes.
A roundabout is a left-curving street with several side streets going off to the
The right lane of a roundabout is, then, a right-turn lane used by entering and
exiting traffic. Enter the roundabout in the right lane if you're going to turn right
at the first exit. But if you're going past the first exit, change lanes to the inside as
you enter the circle. Ride around at the outer edge of the inside lane. It sometimes helps
to make a left-turn signal while in the inside lane; drivers then feel comfortable about
passing you on the right as they exit the circle.
Change back to the outside lane as you approach your exit. Use your normal tactics and
hand signals for lane-changing.
Roundabout or rotary intersection:
Keep to the right if you will take the first exit, as in (a). Ride in the inside lane if
you are going past the first exit, as in (b) and (c).
Because of the roundabout's left curve, cars go straight to turn
right. For this reason, it's especially dangerous to cross an exit of a roundabout in
the right lane. Bicyclists who always keep to the right will tell you that roundabouts
are very dangerous. On the other hand, you'll find it surprisingly easy to ride around in
the inside lane. Drivers don't go very fast there, since they follow the curve.
TWO LEFT TURNS IN A ROW
Sometimes you need to make two left turns quickly, one after the other; for example, if
you're turning left at an intersection and then turning left into a driveway at the middle
of the block.
In this case, don't head for the right side of the street after the first left turn.
You may not have time to change lanes to the left again. Finish your first left turn in
the correct lane to begin your second left turn.
LEFT TURNS ON ONE-WAY STREETS
If a one-way street is two or more lanes wide, laws in most places allow you to ride at
either side. When you make a left turn from a one-way street onto another one-way street,
it's easiest and safest to ride around the corner on the left.
BIKE LANES AT INTERSECTIONS
Bike lanes give bicyclists a narrow lane to the right of motorists. Sometimes you must
ride outside the bike lane to be safe, especially at intersections. Pass slower vehicles
on the left. If you pass on the right, the vehicle you are passing might turn right
without the driver ever seeing you, and that vehicle also hides you from oncoming drivers
who might turn left in front of you.
Bike lane right turn problems. Straight-through bicyclist must cross
paths with right-turning traffic. Motorist (a) must look left and ahead for other traffic
and may not see the bicyclist. If motorist (a) does yield to bicyclist, left-turning
motorist (b), who can not see the bicyclist, may proceed into path of the bicyclist, and
motorist (c) must wait. The bicyclist, not sure if motorists (a) and (c) are turning, must
look both backward and forward.
The bicyclist has merged out of the bike lane
in advance of the intersection. Now nobody has to look backward and forward at the same
time. Motorist (a) can make a safe and legal right turn. The bicyclist and motorist (c)
can both continue through the intersection. Motorist (b) can see the bicyclist and knows
to yield. Dashing of bike lane stripe indicates to right-turning motorists that they
should merge right.
When turning left, merge left before the intersection as described
earlier in this booklet. When going straight through, don't let right-turning traffic get
on your left and "hook" you. Unless the bike lane goes to the left of a right
turn lane, this means moving left (out of the bike lane) before the intersection, merging
into line with the cars. When turning right you can usually stay in the bike lane.
Some motorists may think that the bike lane is "your space" and you should
stay in it. Your safety is more important. Bike lane or not, follow the lane positioning
guidelines in this booklet.
And there they are - the difficult intersection types. Once you can handle these, you
can ride just about anywhere. You can even figure out how to handle intersections not
described here by using the principles of lane changing and positioning on which all
intersection maneuvers are based.