The streets of Berkeley are often dually occupied by drivers and cyclists. Buzzing spokes zoom along even the busiest streets, and drivers sometimes need to navigate narrow lanes to pass by.
So, how do cyclists and drivers share the road safely?
For cyclists, Berkeleyside has examined the rules of the road in a recent podcast. As John Rieger explains, "laws and custom are never quite congruent," and sometimes it's easy to forget how to properly maneuver the streets.
Do you adhere to the "unwritten code" for bicyclists in Berkeley? For example, if you reach a stop sign at the same time as a car, do you go first?
If you answered "yes," then you may adhere to what Reiger calls the "conservation of momentum right of way," which is, of course, a common custom rather than a written rule. The vehicle code specifies that cyclists must obey all traffic signals and stop signs. Read the DMV's safety tips for bicyclists here.
But what about being a driver, and having to inch your way past a cyclist on a narrow street like College Avenue? Do you cross over the middle dividing lines to do so, or edge your way past in your own lane? According to the California Driver Handbook, it's correct to pass a cyclist by crossing the middle line — depending on the line. A broken yellow line means that crossing is allowed, as long as it is safe to do so. But two solid, yellow lines indicate no passing. College Avenue has both types, so check before you pass.
For more safety tips, check out the DMV's video on sharing the road with motorcycles and bicycles, which can also be viewed in the media box on the top right side of this article.
Here are some tips for cyclists from the City of Berkeley's Parking and Transportation Department:
Safe Riding Tips
- Always ride with traffic and follow lane markings
- Signal your turns and moves.
- Do not ride in prohibited areas (sidewalks, areas designated for pedestrians only)
- Ride in a straight line, to the right of faster-moving traffic.
- Use bicycle lanes and paths where available.
- Stay as close as possible to the curb or the edge of the road.
- Use caution when passing parked cars, as doors may open without warning.
- Use safety equipment. Always wear a helmet and light-colored, reflective clothing is recommended. For night riding, use a headlight, a red rear reflector, two side reflectors on each wheel and reflector pedals.
How do you stay safe as a cyclist or driver sharing the road? What are the biggest problems? Where are the problem areas for cyclists or passing drivers in Berkeley? Let us know in the comments.