I live in Washington State and here the law states cyclists have the choice to ride on the sidewalks, bicycle lane, or on the road with other traffic. I usually just ride to school and back, which is only about a mile away. There are no bicycle lanes the entire way, so I usually resort to the sidewalk because I'm nervous about being so close to other cars.
I've been rethinking riding on the sidewalk as the other day I got cut off by a lady pulling out of a driveway and was forced to turn into the driveway to avoid a crash. Also, after school there's a ton of people that walk and clog up the sidewalks.
My question is, I want to get on the road but am confused about where to be. How do you ride on a road that doesn't have a bicycle lane?
I do know one thing - I DO NOT want to be on the far right side, by the curb, as that is almost worse. Do I just pretend I'm a car and do everything like them? How do I change lanes, etc.?
I'll mention a few more details that might be helpful. I'm just under 18, in case that matters. The route I take to get there is pretty quiet until the last half, where there are several schools on the same street so, naturally, it's one huge school zone. Cars cannot exceed 20MPH, and I easily ride at that pace (there aren't any steep hills). I have a set of head lights, brake lights, and even turn signals on my ride that are plenty visible.