Slowly but surely (emphasis on slowly), US cities are creating bike lanes on major commuter roads. These lanes are meant to be safe lanes for cyclists especially in high traffic areas where automobiles take up all of the space on the streets.Since bike lanes aren't as common as we'd like, we'd like to talk about some bike lane etiquette.
Etiquette #1 Don't be a Jerk
"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity" - Martin Luther King Jr.
Everyone on that road is going somewhere. You're going somewhere. MLK Jr. speaks on society but it most definitely can be applied to every aspect of life, including cycling. There is much mortal danger in being purposefully ignorant and stupid on the road.
Etiquette #2 Safety First
Sharing the road with automobiles is riskier for the cyclist than the automobile driver. Obviously the automobile drivers are more protected than you, the cyclist. Wear a helmet, and suitable shoes for cycling. Knee and elbow coverings highly recommended.
Road safety means following all traffic laws (which apply both to motorists and cyclists!). Be hyper aware of road conditions and traffic. Remember, you are sharing the road with large metal boxes on wheels being driven by people who may or may not be aware of you.
Etiquette #3 Passing Protocol
Hand signals are invaluable for cyclists. The ones in the image above are the absolute basic you should know. There are other hand signals that warn of hazards, tell people they're slowing down, this is where google is your friend.
A common way to let someone know you are passing is to call up to them "on your left!" or "passing on the left!". Communication is key here, and remember to be clear.