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The three foot law is an unfortunate necessity in almost every state, but it’s one that not everyone truly understands. For the cyclist, it’s incredibly easy to know when the rule has been violated. For motorists though, it turns out that many drivers struggle to judge the distance between their vehicle and cylcists, or simply aren’t paying enough attention.

That need for additional visibility and safety is what drove “chief flag waver” David Storper to create the Take Your Lane safety flag. At this point we’ve seen many home-brew set ups to the same effect, but the Take Your Lane flag includes some useful features so that you’ll actually want to use it…

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Designed to be attached to just about any bike, the flag is connected to the chain stay and seat stay of the non drive side with zip ties through an aluminum plate. The kit includes rubber pieces to protect the frame’s finish. To attach to bikes with disc brakes the plate is run on the outside of the stays, and the kit is meant to work with children’s bikes as well.

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One key feature to the flag is the ability to quickly adjust it to the vertical position so you can ride on bike paths or trails. The arm is spring loaded and has four positions from 0-90º.

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Also, the flag includes a break away feature in case someone actually hits the flag. In that case it will either pop out, or safely break off allowing you to hopefully ride to safety. When asked how drivers react to the flag, David told us that the reaction around his home in Washington, DC has been great. Cars give him a much wider berth since they don’t want to scratch their cars and he claims no one has deliberately targeted the flag with their car.

Completely made in the U.S., each flag weighs in at 13.6 oz (385g) and sells for $39.95.

takeyourlane.com

57 COMMENTS

  1. I saw a picture of someone using this on twitter and the hateful ignorant things that were said about the rider were horrifying. As JMG DC said, it really is a red cape.

  2. @Scott B – How did he use it on twitter? Did it keep all passing tweets to the 3ft distance? The hateful and ignorant comments wouldn’t find their mark if the other tw*tters respected the 3ft distance.

    Also – This sh*t is bonkers and is going to get someone injured or at a minimum involved in youtube road-rage video.

    Flys catching, honey, etc, blah. All the old adages you can shake a stick at something blah blah.

  3. I had a customer fashion one of these himself here in Houston, he would replace the flag at least every month due to wear and damage from drivers.

  4. Won’t the flag turn sideways when you ride?
    Even if it didn’t, drivers won’t read the message anyway.
    And like JMG DC said this is an invitation for trouble.

  5. Stupid beyond word.

    The best thing about bike commuting is being able to pass close and split cars.

    This is giving up your biggest advantage in addition to just being a deuche.

    Around here, I don’t know who would rip that thing off faster, a car or another cyclist…

  6. I give roadies all the space I can. Conversely when I do ride the road, I ride as far to side as I can and wish other cyclists would do the same. Take off those racing tires and put on something with some puncture protection….oh yeah, and single file please. I really do respect fellow cyclists, but some make it hard to do that. That flag, while well intentioned will be a bullseye more often than a deterrent, unfortunately.

  7. To Eric and MM’s point.
    I have a beer cap pointy side out on my left bar end with the intention of taking a ‘paint sample’ if I am ever unlucky enough to need it.

  8. Kris, You are putting us all in jeopardy by riding as far to the right as possible. You have a legal right to be on the road, exercise that right. While I ride to the right, I never ride all the way to the right. I leave myself enough room to have some semblance of an escape route for those times my spidey sense starts to tingle. Plus it allows you some flexibility to get around road obstacles. Furthermore, I’ll get into the center of a lane when approaching certain intersections when there is a stop sign or stoplight – to ‘guarantee I have a space at said sign or signal. This is to prevent cars from pushing you onto the sidewalk while you stop or wait for the light (always check behind before moving over). And except for very busy streets (i’m not a selfless ahole) I ride two abreast unless it’s posted otherwise. Again, it’s my right. The more of us that do it, the more commonplace and accepted it becomes. When you ride way over to the right you are telling drivers that’s where all cyclists ‘belong’, thus inviting them to cut close to those of us they feel aren’t riding far enough over. Make them go around you so they learn to go around me…

  9. I agree not the best Idea, I think @Vincent is a better idea, makes you a little bigger, and has a nice big reflector on it. Also agree with @Zorro, in City traffic you loose all your biking advantages.

  10. This should be called an incite flag. There is a saying my dad taught me as a child that has stuck with me for 4 decades now: You can be dead right.

  11. “Stupid beyond word.
    The best thing about bike commuting is being able to pass close and split cars.
    This is giving up your biggest advantage in addition to just being a d*.
    Around here, I don’t know who would rip that thing off faster, a car or another cyclist…”

    Agreed.

  12. Well intentioned, but bad idea. How is a cyclist supposed to pass another who is riding with this flag in a bike lane? It is going to expose the passing cyclist to more danger.

    The better way is to use a really bright taillight AND assert your position on the road instead of meekly riding in the gutter.

    +1 to what @scentofreason said.

  13. “When asked how drivers react to the flag, David told us that the reaction around his home in Washington, DC has been great.” I have a hard time believing that statement.

  14. I ran something like this for a while, just a flag zip tied to my rear rack. It worked well in traffic, but very poorly on bike paths, which is why I don’t run it anymore. The drivers who are incited against something like this are probably already upset at any cyclist who asserts their right to the road, so no real change.

  15. Here’s the issues with running something like this. As a motorist, I give cyclists plenty of room when I pass. But now not only am I going to have to give you three feet, but I need to also steer even further clear to avoid your flag. Suddenly your three feet is five, which is fine in some areas, but if you’re using a bike lane in an urban environment, your flag now has me in oncoming traffic.

    I get the concept, but the execution seems poor.

  16. Phew… seeing things like this allways makes me feel Lucky to be living in the Netherlands, where most motorist know how to deal with cyclists.
    I sincerely hope for you guys that cycling will finally catch on big time in the US!

    I do think this flag is a bad idea: Some motorists will be irritated and the cyclist will be far too wide to squeeze through the traffic holes that makes him/her speed-king of the city.

    3 foot is too much, anyway, imho. I’m perfectly comfortable with a city bus passing me at ~2 ft.

  17. @scentofreason
    I absolutely agree with you! In fact, I have done my own studies based on where I ride in relation to traffic/edge of the road/curb, and the closer to the curb I rode always resulted in faster passing speeds and closer passes. Drivers think, “he’s got plenty of room, nothing to worry about!” It’s amazing how the human mind works. Plus, fewer punctures is always a good thing…

  18. “I give roadies all the space I can. Conversely when I do ride the road, I ride as far to side as I can and wish other cyclists would do the same …oh yeah, and single file please. I really do respect fellow cyclists, but some make it hard to do that.”

    Agreed. although I will naturally take a full lane when necessary at traffic intersections. My philosophy is to never deliberately impede the progress of anyone else when I can safely avoid doing so, which I have learned in decades of cycling, is quite often.

    My local municipal code (Seattle, WA, USA) states that cyclists who do not keep pace with traffic have to move to the right to let people by. This seems reasonable. I have observed a subset of cyclists who fairly slowly ride down the center of the road, however, with a huge line of cars gathering behind them, when they could easily just move to the right as the municipal code demands and let them by. I know a guy in the cycling community who does this. At a local ‘cyclist’s pub’, he once had a lot to say about how this is a political statement about his ‘rights’ on the road. To me, this seems a bit much and turns cycling into something I’d rather not explore. I discreetly decline to ever ride with him and his little group, out busily blocking roadways and pissing people off.

  19. “I have observed a subset of cyclists who fairly slowly ride down the center of the road, however, with a huge line of cars gathering behind them, when they could easily just move to the right as the municipal code demands and let them by.”

    The amount of aerodynamic drag this flag would create isn’t going to speed them up any.

  20. As somebody else pointed out, a 3-foot flag will force cars to pass at 5 feet or more which might not be safe on narrow streets and is beyond what the 3-foot law demands. Looks like not much thinking went into this.

  21. This is probably illegal in more jurisdictions than it is legal. For example, in Washington State, side markers and other safety devices cannot extend more than 3″ from the body of the vehicle (RCW 46.44.010) and shall not pose risk to pedestrians (RCW 46.44.101).

    Additionally, as these would be considered to be part of the bicycle, and the driver cannot ascertain whether hitting it would endanger the cyclist, they must pass at a safe distance of >3 feet above and beyond the normal width of the bicycle… in other words six feet wide of the bicycle. This probably pushes them into oncoming traffic even if the cyclist is riding as far right as is safe… in other words using this increases danger to overtaking traffic. Using one of these is a d* move in my opinion.

  22. Everyone should chill out.

    It appears as if this forces traffic to simply obey the law. There is no circumstance when it is legal for a car to drive within 3 ft (4ft in PA) of a bicyclist. So if people obeyed the law, the flag would not be affecting traffic more than a bicyclist without a flag.

    But we all know that people don’t obey the law. I choose to believe that it is because drivers don’t see bicyclists or that they don’t perceive what a safe passage may be. That is why it’s necessary to demonstrate to cars (by flag or light) what ample space for passage is.

    Finally, the article states that the flag is adjustable = you don’t have to make it extend 3ft out when on bike trails, around pedestrians, or on a “tight” street.

    Until there is a legitimate bicycle trail infrastructure in the US, people are going to be innovative in finding a way to safely co-existing with cars and trucks… We should welcome people’s ideas to minimize car-bicycle crashes, a small mistake by a driver can be deadly to a bicyclist.

  23. Best comments in this article by beezus and AlanM. I’d be pissed off too if I had to go wide around another cyclist in traffic and get pushed way out into the road. Also, cars must pass you with some safe distance, and so your 3′ flag becomes 5′ or 6′ and pushes cars probably across the centerline. This is just a terrible idea that will only leave drivers hating cyclists even more than they already do.

  24. Share the road goes both ways. I have seen cyclist that are just as belligerent as angry drivers. Stuff like this creates more problems than it solves.

  25. I recently installed one on both the right and left sides of my bike for use off road to keep those belligerent mountain bikers from trying to pass while riding on single track.

  26. this is a TERRIBLE idea.

    I garruntee this will be used by some slow putz wearing every reflective neon accessory possible.

    And when us normal cycling commuters inevitably catch up and have to pass, this dweeb has a giant flag blocking the passing area, forcing us into traffic.

    Sure, maybe cars avoid running into it so they don’t scratch their car. I’m going to ride by, rip it off, and throw it in the bushes.

  27. So many vitriolic comments. I’ve been using a homemade version of this for three months now, I commute year round and up to 7K miles/year. I also run cameras front and back. Most cars have been giving me more space, one who didn’t paid a $140 fine and got 2 points on his license for an improper pass. I like the idea, obviously, and it’s better used with a video evidence gathering system.
    Once more of the general driving population realize they will face consequences for endangering us, things might change in our favor.

  28. I have long wondered why more cyclists don’t use something like this. Every time I read about a bicyclist killed or seriously injured by a motorist, I seethe. But the comments re: other cyclists ability to pass safely are well-taken. Seems to argue for a shorter device, or maybe one that swings forward easily. I note many negative comments by the macho faction. Fine–it’s your choice and your life. But ride-and-let-ride. Allow those with different risk tolerances to use reasonable safety measures. This one may be over the top, but it seems to me there is a reasonable middle ground.

  29. A carbide scribe tip or carbide trekking pole tip on the end would be a great opportunity to provide free pin-striping to eager motorists seeking such a valuable service.

  30. I use two flags all the time on my bicycle. 99% of all drivers give me lots of room now. Once in a while people will hit my flags. When I rode across Washington State,. I had three flags. Two on my bike and one on my trailer. People gave me lots of room, including cops.
    I have ridden from Seattle to Key West like this. These flags work real well. Rarely do people come close to me any more.

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