(And riding right of the fog stripe)
A question/comment/complaint I frequently hear from the Motoring Public is... "Why do you bike riders have to straddle the stripe for your precious bike lane, rather than riding over on the far right?"
That's a valid question, I s'pose.
I don't try to ride on top of the stripe, but when there's a stripe I ride just barely to the right of it, close to the motor lane.
Here's why, roughly in order of significance.
1) VISIBILITY I have this theory. I'm much less likely to get hit by a motorist who sees me, than by a motorist who does NOT see me, all other things being equal. And I believe that a cyclist is more visible and less likely to blend in with the background, when he's kinda out there in traffic.
2) DEBRIS AND OBSTACLES The closer you get to the gutter-pan, the more junk you'll typically encounter. It gets blown over there by motor traffic that blasts by. Where it joins with dirt, goatheads, etc., that encroach from the side of the road. Pay attention; I think you'll agree.
3) "PROTECT THE STRIPE" I believe in this area, the maintenance people typically repaint the stripes twice a year. Even with that fairly ambitious schedule, it's amazing how quickly those stripes are eroded to an invisible state, but the motor-yokels who fancy themselves as Dale Junior and drift over it at every bend in the road. (At least I'm acknowledging the stripe!)
4) SLIPSTREAMING (Speaking of Dale Junior!) When a large vehicle passes me in the same direction as I'm traveling, I get a little "push" from all that air they're pushing along with their $4 gas. Sweeeet!