Lane Control and Why You Should Sometimes “Take the Lane”

Updated: September 27, 2012

Visit website to view animation:

This article form has a fantastic animation explaining why it is important to sometimes “Take the Lane.”

Driving in the middle of the lane actually protects cyclists against the most common motorist-caused crashes: sideswipes, right hooks, left crosses, and drive-outs.  A bicycle driver’s top safety priority is to ensure he or she can be seen by motorists with whom they might potentially be in conflict, and bicycling in the middle of a lane is one of the most effective ways to do that.  Most overtaking crashes involve a motorist who attempts to squeeze past (illegally) in a lane that is too narrow to share.


  1. Mighk Wilson

    September 27, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Thanks for sharing!

    In the CyclingSavvy program we prefer to say “control the lane,” rather than “take” it. “Take” sounds like it’s not ours to begin with.

    British cycling author John Franklin refers to the “primary position,” which is lane control. When we think of our use of the entire lane as the default position, and that moving right (when it’s safe to do so) is something we do to facilitate passing, then many of our problems as cyclists go away.

    • brian

      September 27, 2012 at 10:30 am

      Such an important message – the more motorists can understand why we ride the way do at times the better off we will all be in the end. Motorists don’t typically want an altercation – they just don’t understand.

      We need to send the message that cyclists are typically aware a motorist is behind them and will do everything they can to help them pass safely. If they watch carefully for cues from the cyclist and realize they will typically only lose a few seconds of travel time things would be so much safer.

      Thank you for such a great illustration!

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