FAQ: Isn’t riding your bike in the middle of the lane illegal?
Let’s start with California’s vehicle code:
Duty of Bicycle Operator: Operation On Roadway. VC 21202
a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at such time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:
When overtaking and passing another bicycle or motor vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge. For purposes of this section, a “substandard width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane
So why was I riding on the middle of the lane? In this case, I consider vehicle doors a hazard, you never know when one is going to swing open in front of you. I ‘take the lane’ when it’s safe for me to do so, after clearing the row of cars I ride close to the sidewalk again, I wave as a thanks to any motorist that was behind me. I’ve yet to encounter a driver that has gotten pissed off at me for doing so.
So the answer is NO, it is not illegal for me to ride in the middle of the lane when it’s appropiate.