Respect My Lane: Cyclists' Rights Get High-Visibility Treatment in Mass. - Appalachian Mountain Club

Respect My Lane: Cyclists’ Rights Get High-Visibility Treatment in Mass.

March 5, 2018

I love high-visibility gear for cycling. I also support cycling advocacy efforts that make streets and roads safer for all users. A new set of products from Respect My Lane does both at the same time.

Respect My Lane is a small local operation based in Boston (the same traffic-tough cycling area that brought you one of my favorite gadgets, the Loud Bicycle Horn) and offers a small collection of bright, high-visibility shirts, pack covers, and other cycling gear.

All of the products prominently highlight a basic state law, namely that cyclists have the right to use the full lane of traffic—a fact that many drivers are likely unaware of. For cyclists, taking the full lane can be a safer riding strategy, especially on narrower, busier roads with closer quarters, and when parked cars or other obstacles are close by on the right.

By law in Massachusetts, cyclists are not compelled to move to the side to let vehicles behind them pass, no matter how much they may honk at you. Of course there are some etiquette and nuance issues here. My rule of thumb is this: Cyclists should only take the full lane when it enhances—or is crucial to—their biking safety; they should not needlessly impede traffic when staying to the side provides a perfectly safe option.

This basic law, and its extension that drivers must change lanes to pass a bicycle taking a full lane,is emblazoned on the company’s collection of short- and long-sleeve shirts for both men and women ($35 to $45), as well as its line of waterproof backpack covers ($30).

While Respect My Lane currently only offers apparel for Massachusetts, you can find a complete list of state cycling laws here at the League of American Cyclists. Overall, though, it’s a simple concept that could surely be replicated in other states by other groups as well. Ride on!

Part of an ongoing series on Northeast-based gear companies. Here’s the complete list to date.

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Matt Heid

Equipped blogger Matt Heid is AMC's gear guru: He loves gear and he loves using it in the field. While researching several guidebooks, including AMC's Best Backpacking in New England, he has hiked thousands of miles across New England, California, and Alaska, among other wilderness destinations. He also cycles, climbs, and surfs.