1. First Come, First Served
Faster drivers must yield to slower and stopped traffic ahead. All vehicle operators must travel no faster than is safe and will allow them to stop within their sight distance. This legal principle is known as assured clear distance ahead. As a bicyclist, you have a right to use the roadway, and other drivers are legally required to respect your right of way, but you must act visibly and predictably to allow them to do so.
Each driver who is already on the road is entitled to the space their vehicle occupies, plus reasonable clearance behind and to each side, and reasonable stopping distance in front of them. Drivers must yield to other drivers already on the road in front of them, which requires them to limit their speed and be prepared to slow or stop for other traffic ahead.
§ 20-141. Speed restrictions. (a) No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway or in a public vehicular area at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions then existing. … (m) The fact that the speed of a vehicle is lower than the foregoing limits shall not relieve the operator of a vehicle from the duty to decrease speed as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person, vehicle or other conveyance on or entering the highway, and to avoid injury to any person or property.
§ 20-140. Reckless driving. (b) Any person who drives any vehicle upon a highway or any public vehicular area without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property shall be guilty of reckless driving.
Most drivers have no difficulty limiting their speed and seeing and slowing in time to avoid hitting vehicles traveling slowly ahead on the roadway. Impaired driving, reckless driving, distracted driving and bicycling at night without an adequate rear light or reflector are the primary contributing factors in car-bike collisions where motorists fail to slow in time to avoid rear-ending slower bicyclists. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to improve the reliability with which drivers see and yield to you. Always use front and rear lights when cycling at night, and be sure to take advantage of the conspicuous lane positioning techniques described later in this guide.