PBE15: Take Your Lane Makes the 3 Foot Rule Come to Life with Adjustable Safety Flag

take your lane 3 foot rule flag commuter bicycle bikeDSC07901

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…

take your lane 3 foot rule flag commuter bicycle bikeDSC07903

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.

take your lane 3 foot rule flag commuter bicycle bikeDSC07905 take your lane 3 foot rule flag commuter bicycle bikeDSC07904

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.

take your lane 3 foot rule flag commuter bicycle bikeDSC07900

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

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JMG DC
JMG DC
6 years ago

Yikes. That thing would be like a red cape to a bull. It’s just inviting trouble.

Smitty
Smitty
6 years ago

The first lifted pickup truck comes by and clips it off as he speeds away yelling MURICA

satisFACTORYrider
satisFACTORYrider
6 years ago

^i bet he would think twice if it was the Stars and Stripes motif

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
6 years ago

It would be nice if someone made a high tech device that sprayed paint on a car that comes within three feet

Rob
Rob
6 years ago

I think a few people would take umbrage at this:

https://twitter.com/StevilKinevil/status/663779696211984384

Brian S
Brian S
6 years ago

Saw something to effect using a ski pole attached to a triple bike in NZ once. Great idea. Really forced us to pass wide.

Scott B
6 years ago

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.

Eric Hansen
Eric Hansen
6 years ago

I’d change the pop-off functionality to spring loaded, and put carbide bits on the tip.

MM
MM
6 years ago

Sheet metal screws on the end, just inside the 3′ limit, of course.

fap master flex
fap master flex
6 years ago

@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.

Pablo Diablo
Pablo Diablo
6 years ago

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.

Rixter
Rixter
6 years ago

Do they make an aero version?

anonymous
anonymous
6 years ago

@Rixter
My thoughts exactly.

Jason
Jason
6 years ago

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.

Zorro
Zorro
6 years ago

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…

Kris
Kris
6 years ago

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.

gringo
gringo
6 years ago

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.

anonymous
anonymous
6 years ago

Only the most extreme psychopaths are going to go out of their way to scratch their car just to ruin your flag.

scentofreason
scentofreason
6 years ago

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…

Vincent
6 years ago

I’m in europe and i have a much shorter plastic version of this.
http://www.decathlon.fr/ecarteur-de-danger-id_8176064.html
I like it because cars do indeed pass farther.
Once i got some €**$ù*$ù who closed on me on purpose.

Verge
Verge
6 years ago

This is the without doubt the dumbest bike product I’ve ever seen in my entire life.

Doctor Pud
Doctor Pud
6 years ago

Take Your Aim! …sadly. 🙁

anonymous
anonymous
6 years ago

Can it double as a kickstand when it’s down?
Will the recumbent trikes hang with you when it’s up?

Dockboy
Dockboy
6 years ago

With those triangles, it sure looks like the flag is telling drivers to cut close and “take their lane.”

Erik
Erik
6 years ago

If only everyone on the saturday morning group ride had one of these.

RobertW
RobertW
6 years ago

I’m not supposed to post negative comments, but how can I not? This thing will get you run over. On purpose.

Darren
Darren
6 years ago

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.

Ryan
Ryan
6 years ago

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.

CC
CC
6 years ago

“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.

gm
gm
6 years ago

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.

AlanM
AlanM
6 years ago

“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.

beezus
beezus
6 years ago

I would have a hard time not cursing out a fellow cyclist using this as I pass. Thanks for forcing me into traffic, #@!&er.

Gef
Gef
6 years ago

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.

AlanM
AlanM
6 years ago

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.

notthatbrad
notthatbrad
6 years ago

Awful. Just, awful.

notthatbrad
notthatbrad
6 years ago

Now that I think of it, I saw a version this on kook_of_the_day yesterday!! https://instagram.com/p/91I0LyMkQg/?taken-by=kook_of_the_day

NotAMachinist
NotAMachinist
6 years ago

@satisFACTORYrider

Great idea replacing the 3-foot flag with the Stars and Stripes!

LarsV
LarsV
6 years ago

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.

ThinksTooMuch
ThinksTooMuch
6 years ago

@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…

Heffe
Heffe
6 years ago

“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.

MDekker
MDekker
6 years ago
Dave
Dave
6 years ago

“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.

Mountain Dew Drinking Flatbiller
Mountain Dew Drinking Flatbiller
6 years ago

100% perfect solution: mountain bike instead. Deer and bobcats don’t give a F!

wheelz
wheelz
6 years ago

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.

Heffe
Heffe
6 years ago

@MDekker The Safety Wing seems reasonable, a vastly better idea.

Matthew
Matthew
6 years ago

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.

John
John
6 years ago

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.

Allan
Allan
6 years ago

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.

Alex
Alex
6 years ago

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.