GREAT FALLS- When it comes to biking, it's important to know the laws that not only protect you, but everyone around you as well.
In the end, it all comes down to respect.
Drivers need to respect cyclists, and vice versa.
A bicycle is considered a legal vehicle and has the same rights and responsibilities as a car or truck would.
In fact, they're required to obey all of the same traffic laws motor vehicles abide by.
Bicycles aren't required to use a bike lane or the shoulder of the road, however, they should keep to the right as far as possible.
However, there is also an exception to this rule of thumb.
“You also are supposed to make sure you stay safe and that allows you to take up more than just the edge of the road. If you feel it's safe for you to be more in the middle of the lane, where you would say obstruct a car from going around you; because you don't think it's safe for them to go around you, then that's legal according to the law,” explains John Juras, a Chairman of the Bike Walk Montana board.
Cyclists are also required to ride in a single file line when riding on a two-lane road.
The best way to approach cyclists is slowly and cautiously.
Stay back approximately 100 feet and treat them as if you were driving behind a heavy piece of farm equipment.
Once you are able to safely pass, do so by crossing over into the other lane completely to give them the most space possible.