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In some situations you need to move right, towards the centre of a lane. This is called ‘taking the lane’ and helps you avoid hazards and prevent unsafe passing.

Every situation is different. You will need to decide whether to take the lane depending on the road layout and width, and traffic speed and volume.

This page describes:

How to take the lane
Riding past parked cars
Riding around a roundabout
Using turning lanes at an intersection
Riding on a narrow section of road

How to take the lane

  1. Find a gap in the traffic, signal your intentions, check for following traffic, and move across.
  2. Take the lane for as long as you need.
  3. Move back towards the left side of the road when it is safe.

Taking the lane

Q: How long should you take the lane for?

A: Take the lane for as long as you need to stay safe. Be courteous to others.

  • Before moving back to the left, look ahead to see if you will need to take the lane again shortly. Avoid swerving in and out, which can reduce your visibility to others.
  • When taking the lane to prevent unsafe passing, move back when the situation changes.
  • When taking the lane for longer sections of road or at lower speeds, check regularly for following traffic, allowing it to pass when it is safe.

Here are some situations where taking the lane can help.

Riding past parked cars

Take the lane to ride past parked cars or other stopped vehicles, allowing at least a metre clearance. After you pass the cars, move back to the left side of the road when it is safe.

Taking the lane here helps you avoid the ‘door zone’ where car doors can open unexpectedly in front of you.

Taking the lane here also helps you see and be seen by people such as pedestrians waiting to cross the road, or drivers leaving driveways.

Taking the lane past parked cars

Riding around a roundabout

Take the lane to approach the roundabout. Stay in the middle of the lane to ride around the roundabout. After you leave the roundabout, move back to the left side of the road when it is safe.

Roundabouts

Taking the lane here puts you in the best position to be seen by drivers. It also helps prevent drivers from passing you while you approach and ride around the roundabout, or crossing your path when they exit.

Taking the lane around a roundabout

Using turning lanes at an intersection

Take the appropriate turning lane to approach the intersection. Stay in the middle of the
lane to ride through the intersection. After you leave the intersection, move back to the left side of the road when it is safe.

Intersections

Taking the lane in the turning lane helps drivers realise you are planning to turn, reinforcing the message from your hand signal. It also helps prevent drivers from passing you while you approach or ride through the intersection.

Taking the lane when using turning lanes at an intersection

Riding on a narrow section of road

Take the lane to ride the narrow section of road. When the road widens, move back
to the left side of the road when it is safe.

Taking the lane here helps prevent drivers passing you where the road is too narrow
to pass safely. For longer sections of narrow road, check regularly for following traffic, allowing it to pass when it is safe.

Sharrow Markings

You may see a sharrow marking on the road. Sharrow markings remind everyone
that people on bikes can take the lane.

Sharrow markings are used in places where people on bikes are likely to need to take the lane. They highlight that it may be a good idea in that location. You can take the lane in other places too.

Sharrow markings