Last night I was needing to take a little longer route and mix things up a little. Riding to McAllen’s Archer Park seemed as a good place as any. Knowing this, there was only one road to take, Business 83 and it’s one shoulder. That meant riding over there on the should with traffic and coming back on the same shoulder against traffic at night.
There is a reason the law says that cyclist have to ride with traffic, it is extremely dangerous to do so otherwise. On my ride back home I started thinking of all the extra hazards to look out for that you wouldn’t normally blink an eye. While riding against traffic you have three more hazards to look out for at intersections:
- Vehicles traveling from left to right may want to make a right turn and run into you
- Vehicles coming towards you may want to make a right turn and cut in front of you
- Vehicles traveling in the same direction as you may want to turn left and broadside you
Out of the three listed above, the last one is the most dangerous as they may not see you as they make their turn and you would have to constantly look over your right shoulder to make sure no one has entered the left turning lane. Very dangerous situation.
I see people riding on the wrong side when there is a perfectly good shoulder on the other side of the road. I even had a family tell me that I’m riding on the wrong side of the road! I meant to catch up to them at the parking lot of the Hike n Bike trail in Mission, but they were gone.
Talking to an older friend of mine, that rides his bike for commuting, says he rides on against traffic so he can see the cars coming at him and avoid being hit. Also, a cop told him that he needs to ride against traffic. Those are the two major reasons why people ride on the wrong side of the road. Greater education for the population and police officers is the key to solve this issue.
In the mean time, if you have to ride against traffic, be alert and extra cautious when approaching intersections.
To learn more of the rules of the road in Texas, here are some links to browse: