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      CommentAuthormarkphilips
    • CommentTimeSep 12th 2012 edited
     
    Post and discuss bicycling laws here. I found this to be helpful --> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_law_in_California.
    I posted the article below in segments for easy reference and is by no means complete according to Wikipedia.
    •  
      CommentAuthormarkphilips
    • CommentTimeSep 12th 2012 edited
     
    Bicycle law in California
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    This article relies on references to primary sources or sources affiliated with the subject. (August 2012)
    This article may contain original research. (August 2012)

    Bicycle law in all U.S. states is determined by the law in each state. In California, the California Vehicle Code is the set of traffic laws that governs the behavior of vehicle drivers in the state. CVC 21200 establishes that a bicyclist "has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this division" ("this division" is Division 11, the "Rules of the Road"), but there are some sections of the code that address bicyclists specifically.

    This article identifies and describes the sections of the California vehicle code that are especially relevant to bicyclists, explaining the relevancy as appropriate.
    Contents

    1 Bicycle-relevant divisions
    2 Bicyclists must follow rules of the road for drivers of vehicles, but not rules for drivers of motor vehicles
    2.1 CVC 21200 to 21212
    2.2 Bicycles, like all other vehicles, must be on the right half of the road
    2.2.1 CVC 21650
    2.3 Racing and drafting bicycles is legal
    2.3.1 CVC 21703
    2.3.2 CVC 23109
    3 Definition of "roadway" does not include shoulder
    3.1 CVC 530
    4 Cyclists required to keep right except under certain conditions
    4.1 CVC 21202 (a)
    4.2 Lane sharing is not required when lane is less than fourteen feet wide
    4.3 Lane sharing is not required whenever approaching any place where right turns can be made.
    4.4 Bicycling single-file is not required
    4.5 Bicyclists are never required to ride in door zones
    4.5.1 CVC 22517
    4.6 Turning Off for Five or More Following Vehicles
    4.6.1 CVC 21656
    5 Bicyclists required to use bike lane on roadway except under certain conditions
    5.1 CVC 21208
    5.2 Bicyclists are never required to use off-roadway bike lanes or paths
    6 Yield and signal before moving left or right
    6.1 CVC 22107
    7 Turning motorists are required to drive in bike lanes
    7.1 CVC 21717
    8 Motorists allowed to drive 200 feet in bike lane before turning
    8.1 CVC 21209
    9 Bicyclists are allowed, but never required, to ride in the shoulder
    9.1 CVC 21650.1
    10 City and county regulation of bicycling
    10.1 CVC 21
    10.2 CVC 21100
    10.3 Sidewalk cycling may be banned
    10.4 Riding in groups (assemblages) may be regulated or prohibited
    11 See also
    12 References
    13 External links
    •  
      CommentAuthormarkphilips
    • CommentTimeSep 12th 2012 edited
     
    Bicycle-relevant divisions

    The Vehicle Code is divided into eighteen whole-numbered divisions, and also has about a dozen "decimal divisions" (like 16.7). The divisions relevant to the operator of a bicycle are:

    Division 11 - Rules of the Road - Per CVC 21200 bicyclists are subject to abiding by the rules that apply to drivers of vehicles in this division of the vehicle code. Specific sections particularly relevant to bicyclists are covered in detail below.
    Use on Freeways
    Helmets
    Division 16.7 - Registration and Licensing of Bicycles
    Division 16 fine limitation

    Bicyclists must follow rules of the road for drivers of vehicles, but not rules for drivers of motor vehicles
    CVC 21200 to 21212


    Laws Applicable to Bicycle Use: Peace Officer Exemption 21200. (a) Every person riding a bicycle upon a highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this division... except those provisions which by their very nature can have no application. [1]

    CVC 21200 states that bicyclists (who are not police officers) riding on roadways have all the rights and responsibilities applicable to the driver of a vehicle by Division 11 of the California Vehicle Code, which are the Rules of the Road. Bicycling legal expert Alan Wachtel points out that a close reading of CVC 21200 reveals that provisions which apply specifically to drivers of specific types of vehicles (most notably drivers of motor vehicles) do not apply to bicyclists; only provisions which apply to general "drivers of vehicles" also apply to bicyclists.[2] See CVC 21703 below for an example that clarifies this distinction.

    Bicycles, like all other vehicles, must be on the right half of the road
    CVC 21650


    Right Side of Roadway

    21650. Upon all highways, a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway ... [3]

    CVC 21650 requires all vehicles (not just motor vehicles) to be driven "upon the right half of the roadway". Because of CVC 21200, this section applies to bicyclists - so bicyclists must ride on the right half of the roadway (not on the edge of the left half opposing traffic the way pedestrians are required).
    Racing and drafting bicycles is legal
    CVC 21703

    Following Too Closely 21703. The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, ...[4]

    CVC 23109

    Speed Contests 23109. (a) A person shall not engage in a motor vehicle speed contest on a highway.
    ... [5]

    The only rules prohibiting drivers from "following another vehicle too closely" (tailgating) and racing are CVC 21703 and CVC 23109 respectively, but they apply explicitly only to drivers of motor vehicles. Since bicyclists have the same responsibilities as drivers of vehicles per CVC 21200, but not as drivers of motor vehicles,[6] it is perfectly legal for bicyclists to draft and race on open public roads in California.[7]
    •  
      CommentAuthormarkphilips
    • CommentTimeSep 12th 2012 edited
     
    Definition of "roadway" does not include shoulder
    CVC 530


    Roadway

    530. A "roadway" is that portion of a highway improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel. [8]

    This section of the vehicle code, which defines "roadway", is relevant to bicyclists because the definition excludes shoulders (since shoulders are not "improved, designed or ordinarily used for vehicular travel"; vehicular travel on shoulders is prohibited), and bicyclists are required by CVC 21202 to only ride far right in the "roadway". This means bicyclists are never required to ride in the shoulder.

    Cyclists required to keep right except under certain conditions
    CVC 21202 (a)


    Operation on Roadway

    21202. A. Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:

    When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
    When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
    When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge, subject to the provisions of Section 21656. For purposes of this section, a "substandard width lane" is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.
    When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.

    ... [9]

    Section 21202 (a) addresses the roadway position that a bicyclist moving slower than other traffic should use in the rare situations when none of the exceptions listed apply. These conditions are rare primarily because of the narrow lane provision, since most roads are not wide enough to meet the 14' minimum width requirement for side-by-side lane sharing recommended by AASHTO and specified in the laws of states like Texas that give a specific minimum width in this law[10].

    But even in the rare situations where the lane is at least 14' wide and none of the other exceptions apply, the shall ride as close as practicable to the right wording is commonly misunderstood, even by law enforcement officers, to mean that a bicyclist must travel as far as possible to the right-hand side of the road. Indeed the CVC synopsis carried by patrolmen in most of the Police Divisions of Los Angeles, California (where it is obtained from the uniform shop in Long Beach) actually carries incorrect wording, substituting possible for practicable. In fact, the phrase means the bicyclist is required to ride only "as far to the right as is safe".[11] This wording allows for some degree of subjectivity on the part of the cyclist.[12]

    The combination of the actual legal meaning of the practicable wording in 21202(a), including the implied provisos, with the explicit proviso that it only applies when the bicyclist is moving slower than other same direction traffic and the exceptions listed in 21202(a)(1), (2), (3) and (4), provide ample justification for bicyclists to take the lane in some urban, suburban and rural traffic cycling situations, as recommended by the safe vehicular cycling practices taught in the Effective Cycling program.
    •  
      CommentAuthormarkphilips
    • CommentTimeSep 12th 2012 edited
     
    continued from above
    Simply put, whenever a bicyclist in any of the following situations:

    there is no faster same-direction traffic on the road at that time
    bicyclist is traveling as fast as, or faster than, other traffic
    bicyclist is passing others
    bicyclist is preparing to turn left
    bicyclist is avoiding hazardous conditions near the edge of the road
    the lane is too narrow to be safely shared side-by-side with other vehicles, or
    bicyclist is merely approaching a place where right turns are authorized (including any driveway, mall entrance or alley, as well any cross street)

    there is no legal obligation to "ride as close as practicable to the right", as long as the cyclist safely merges left without violating anyone's right of way.
    Lane sharing is not required when lane is less than fourteen feet wide

    In general a lane must be at least fourteen feet wide for it to be considered wide enough to be safely shared side-by-side with other vehicles (per 21202(a)(3)). Since outside lanes are often more narrow than fourteen feet, this exception alone often alleviates a bicyclist from having to ride "as close as practicable to the right" in a lane sharing position.[13]
    Lane sharing is not required whenever approaching any place where right turns can be made.

    Whenever a bicyclist is "approaching a place where a right turn is authorized", 21202 (a) (4) alleviates the bicyclist from having to ride "as close as practicable to the right", no matter how slow he or she is traveling. Considering moving at 15 mph through a residential neighborhood is encountering a driveway every 3–6 seconds (assuming lots 50–100 feet in length, and each lot has a driveway), such a bicyclist is arguably constantly "approaching a place where a right turn is authorized". Similar situations are frequently encountered in business districts. So this reason too often suffices alone in alleviating bicyclists from having to ride "as close as practicable to the right".

    But even when traveling along a long block with a wide outside lane and without any driveway or alley junctions, as soon as the cyclist is within 100–200 feet of the end of the block, the cyclist is "approaching a place where a right turn is authorized" and he or she is no longer obligated to ride "as close as practicable to the right". There are important safety reasons to take advantage of this legal opportunity to safely merge left well out into the vehicular traffic lane.[14]
    Bicycling single-file is not required

    There is no requirement in the California Vehicle Code for riding single-file. However, since CVC 21202(a) requires a cyclist who is riding slower than other traffic when none of the exceptions apply to "ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway", under those conditions single-file riding is arguably implied. Enforcement of CVC 21202(a) is not consistent, however.[15] Side-by-side riding may also be regulated by local ordinance, as in this example from the City of Torrance:


    SECTION 62.1.3 - RIDING IN A GROUP.

    Persons operating bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two (2) abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.[16]

    Some argue these local ordinances are contravention of California CVC 21 Uniformity of Code[17].

    If one cyclist is riding in the shoulder, and another is riding in an adjacent position "as close as practicable to the right" in the roadway, neither is in violation of CVC 21202.
    •  
      CommentAuthormarkphilips
    • CommentTimeSep 12th 2012 edited
     
    Bicyclists are never required to ride in door zones
    CVC 22517


    Opening and Closing Doors

    22517. No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of such traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open upon the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers. Amended Ch. 162, Stats. 1963. Effective September 20, 1963. [18]

    CVC 22517 clearly makes it the responsibility of anyone opening a vehicle door to make sure it is reasonably safe before opening the door. However, the potential of someone failing to do that is always there, and so traffic cycling experts agree door zones are hazards that are to be avoided, and that riding at least four feet from parked cars is a good practice. Because of the hazard always present in door zones, bicyclists are never required by CVC 21202 or any other law to ride so far right that they could be hit by, or forced to swerve into the adjacent lane, potentially in front of overtaking traffic, by a suddenly opened door of a vehicle.
    Turning Off for Five or More Following Vehicles
    CVC 21656

    Turning Out of Slow-Moving Vehicles

    21656. On a two-lane highway where passing is unsafe because of traffic in the opposite direction or other conditions, a slow-moving vehicle, including a passenger vehicle, behind which five or more vehicles are formed in line, shall turn off the roadway at the nearest place designated as a turnout by signs erected by the authority having jurisdiction over the highway, or wherever sufficient area for a safe turnout exists, in order to permit the vehicles following it to proceed. As used in this section a slow-moving vehicle is one which is proceeding at a rate of speed less than the normal flow of traffic at the particular time and place.[19]

    With five or more vehicles following in a line, but only on a two-lane highway, bicyclists, like all drivers, are to turn off the road whenever there is sufficient room to safely do so.
    •  
      CommentAuthormarkphilips
    • CommentTimeSep 12th 2012 edited
     
    Bicyclists required to use bike lane on roadway except under certain conditions
    CVC 21208


    Permitted Movements from Bicycle Lanes

    21208.
    (a) Whenever a bicycle lane has been established on a roadway pursuant to Section 21207, any person operating a bicycle upon the roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride within the bicycle lane, except that the person may move out of the lane under any of the following situations:

    (1) When overtaking and passing another bicycle, vehicle, or pedestrian within the lane or about to enter the lane if the overtaking and passing cannot be done safely within the lane.

    (2) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

    (3) When reasonably necessary to leave the bicycle lane to avoid debris or other hazardous conditions.

    (4) When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.

    (b) No person operating a bicycle shall leave a bicycle lane until the movement can be made with reasonable safety and then only after giving an appropriate signal in the manner provided in Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 22100) in the event that any vehicle may be affected by the movement. Amended Sec. 5, Ch. 674, Stats. 1996. Effective January 1, 1997. [20]

    On roads that have bike lanes, CVC 21208 generally restricts bicyclists to ride in the bike lane, except that it has virtually all of the same exceptions as does CVC 21202. That is, whenever any one of the following conditions apply, there is no legal restriction on the cyclist to ride in the bike lane:

    no faster same-direction traffic on the road at that time
    traveling as fast as, or faster than, other traffic
    passing others
    preparing to turn left
    avoiding debris or other hazardous conditions in the bike lane, or
    approaching a place where right turns are authorized (including driveways, mall entrances and alleys as well cross streets)

    Just as for CVC 21202, since at least one of these "exception" conditions often applies in urban and suburban riding (bike lanes are rarely present in rural areas), practically speaking, the legal requirement to ride in bike lanes rarely applies.
    •  
      CommentAuthormarkphilips
    • CommentTimeSep 12th 2012 edited
     
    Bicyclists are never required to use off-roadway bike lanes or paths

    Since CVC 21208 applies only "whenever a bicycle lane has been established on a roadway", there is never a legal compulsion for a bicyclist to ride not in the roadway, but in a bike lane or path that is not on the roadway, or is physically separated from the roadway in any way (like a sidepath).[21]
    Yield and signal before moving left or right
    CVC 22107

    Turning Movements and Required Signals

    22107. No person shall turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left upon a roadway until such movement can be made with reasonable safety and then only after the giving of an appropriate signal in the manner provided in this chapter in the event any other vehicle may be affected by the movement.[22]

    Though not specific to bicyclists, because bicyclists are subject to the same rules as drivers of vehicles, CVC 22107 requires bicyclists to signal and verify the movement can be made with reasonable safety before moving from a direct course, such as when a movement left is required to avoid a hazard up ahead.
    Turning motorists are required to drive in bike lanes
    CVC 21717

    Turning Across Bicycle Lane

    21717. Whenever it is necessary for the driver of a motor vehicle to cross a bicycle lane that is adjacent to his lane of travel to make a turn, the driver shall drive the motor vehicle into the bicycle lane prior to making the turn and shall make the turn pursuant to Section 22100. Added Ch. 751, Stats. 1976. Effective January 1, 1977.[23]

    Motorists allowed to drive 200 feet in bike lane before turning
    CVC 21209

    Motor Vehicles and Motorized Bicycles in Bicycle Lanes

    21209. (a) No person shall drive a motor vehicle in a bicycle lane established on a roadway pursuant to Section 21207 except as follows:
    ...
    (2) To enter or leave the roadway. (3) To prepare for a turn within a distance of 200 feet from the intersection.
    ...[24]

    Not only are motor vehicle drivers in California allowed by CVC 21209 to drive in bicycle lanes when within 200 feet of an intersection, they are required by CVC 21717 to drive in the adjacent bike lane prior to turning. The purpose of this rule is to reduce conflicts at intersections between turning motorists and bicyclists going straight.

    This rule, combined with provision 21208(a)(4) which allows bicyclists to leave bike lanes when approaching "a place where a right turn is authorized", encourages smooth conflict-free transitions at intersections by requiring slowing right turning motorists to move right, while bicyclists going straight merge left out of the bike lane, which is the behavior prescribed for avoiding "right hooks".[25]
    •  
      CommentAuthormarkphilips
    • CommentTimeSep 12th 2012 edited
     
    Bicyclists are allowed, but never required, to ride in the shoulder
    CVC 21650.1


    Bicycle Operated on Roadway or Highway Shoulder

    21650.1. A bicycle operated on a roadway, or the shoulder of a highway, shall be operated in the same direction as vehicles are required to be driven upon the roadway. Added Ch. 58, Stats. 1988. Effective January 1, 1989.[26]

    21650(g) clarifies that bicyclists, unlike drivers of vehicles, are generally not prohibited from riding in shoulders, and 21650.1 clearly states that bicyclists ridden in shoulders must ride in the same direction as vehicles in the adjacent lane. However, no section of the vehicle code requires bicyclists to ever ride in the shoulder.[27] CVC 21202, even when none of the provisos and exceptions apply, merely requires cyclists to ride "as close as practicable to the right ... edge of the roadway", and roadway, per CVC 530, clearly does not include the shoulder.
    City and county regulation of bicycling
    CVC 21

    Uniformity of Code

    21. Except as otherwise expressly provided, the provisions of this code are applicable and uniform throughout the State and in all counties and municipalities therein, and no local authority shall enact or enforce any ordinance on the matters covered by this code unless expressly authorized herein.[28]

    CVC 21100

    Rules and Regulations: Subject Matter 21100. Local authorities may adopt rules and regulations by ordinance or resolution regarding the following matters:
    ... (h) Operation of bicycles, and, as specified in Section 21114.5, electric carts by physically disabled persons, or persons 50 years of age or older, on the public sidewalks.
    ...[29]

    While not referencing bicyclists specifically, Section 21 is critical to California bicyclists because it prohibits local authorities from enacting or enforcing laws that contradict statewide rules.[30]

    Sidewalk cycling may be banned

    CVC 21100 lists the matters on which "Local authorities may adopt rules and regulations by ordinance or resolution". 21100(h) specifically permits regulation of riding on the sidewalk:

    "Local authorities may adopt rules and regulations by ordinance or resolution regarding the following matters:

    ...
    (h) Operation of bicycles ... on the public sidewalks."

    Under this provision, many California cities have banned sidewalk bicycling in business districts.
    Riding in groups (assemblages) may be regulated or prohibited

    Under CVC 21100(a) local authorities may adopt ordinances for the purpose of "Regulating or prohibiting processions or assemblages on the highways."[31]
    See also

    A useful section in Transportation of Los Angeles for anyone using a bicycle for travel in Los Angeles.
    Vehicular cycling
  1.  
    References

    ^ California Department of Motor Vehicles, CVC 21200, Laws Applicable to Bicycle Use: Peace Officer Exemption
    ^ Alan Wachtel, Bicyclists Must Obey Traffic Laws, Bicycles and the Law: The Case of California
    ^ California Department of Motor Vehicles, CVC 21650, Right Side of Roadway
    ^ California Department of Motor Vehicles, CVC 21703, Following Too Closely
    ^ California Department of Motor Vehicles, CVC 23109, Speed Contests
    ^ provisions that apply only to certain types of drivers do not automatically apply to bicyclists. Wachtel, Alan. "Bicycles and the Law: The Case of California". Retrieved 2009-05-25.[dead link]
    ^ Forester, John. Bicycle Transportation (second ed.). pp. 322. "The following too closely rule was written to apply only to drivers of motor vehicles because only motor vehicles had the ability to cause substantial injury and damage to the drivers and vehicles ahead of them. The racing rules were not applied to cyclists because the [sic?] were intended to control the great dangers to the public of motor vehicles driven at unlawful speeds and in unlawful manners. ... In fact, in many ways motorists are more restricted than cyclists because of the public danger of their vehicles when improperly controlled. They promoted [defining bicyclists as vehicles] as putting cyclists under the racing rules and prohibiting pace lining."
    ^ California Department of Motor Vehicles, CVC 530, Roadway
    ^ California Department of Motor Vehicles, CVC 21202, Operation on Roadway
    ^ Bluejay, Michael. "Official text of Texas Bicycle Laws". Bicycle Austin. Retrieved 18 January 2012. "a person operating a bicycle on a roadway ... shall ride.. right ... unless... (4) the person is operating a bicycle in an outside lane that is: (A) less than 14 feet in width and does not have a designated bicycle lane adjacent to that lane"
    ^ Mionske, Bob (2008-06-03). "Legally Speaking with Bob Mionske - From Tombstone to Dodge". Retrieved 2009-05-28. "If you think of the law as saying you must ride as close to the right as is safe, rather than as close to the right as possible, you’ll be right on the money."
    ^ A common mistake made by law-enforcement officers (and others) is to interpret the requirement to ride "as close as practicable to the right" to mean "as close as possible." ... it means you are required to ride as close as can reasonably be accomplished under the circumstances to the right. ... the statute allows for some degree of subjectivity on the rider's part. Mionske, Bob (2007). Bicycling & The Law. Boulder, Colorado: VeloPress. pp. 57–58.
    ^ AASHTO’s 1999 Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities states (p. 17): "In general, 4.2 m (14 feet) of usable lane width is the recommended width for shared use in a wide curb lane...."Pein, Wayne (December 2003). "How wide should a lane be?". Retrieved 2009-05-25.
    ^ an experienced bicyclist would generally move away from the edge of the road when approaching an intersection, in order to avoid the danger of being trapped and struck by overtaking right-turning vehiclesWachtel, Alan. "Bicycles and the Law: The Case of California". Retrieved 2009-05-26.[dead link]


  2.  
    ^ Bernardi, Rick. "Non-Existent Laws, And The Cops Who Enforce Them". BicycleLaw.com.
    ^ "TORRANCE MUNICIPAL CODE". City of Torrance Code of Ordinances, Article 1, Section 62.1.3.
    ^ California Department of Motor Vehicles, CVC 21, Uniformity of Code
    ^ California Department of Motor Vehicles, CVC 22517, Opening and Closing Doors
    ^ California Department of Motor Vehicles, CVC 21656, Turning Out of Slow-Moving Vehicles
    ^ California Department of Motor Vehicles, CVC 21208, Permitted Movements from Bicycle Lanes
    ^ Bicyclists, even slow ones, are never required to ride on the shoulder (or on sidewalks or bike paths) rather than on the roadway Wachtel, Alan. "Bicycles and the Law: The Case of California". Retrieved 2009-05-26.[dead link]
    ^ California Department of Motor Vehicles, CVC 22107, Turning Movements and Required Signals
    ^ California Department of Motor Vehicles, CVC 21717, Turning Across Bicycle Lane
    ^ California Department of Motor Vehicles, CVC 21209, Motor Vehicles and Motorized Bicycles in Bicycle Lanes
    ^ Ride to the left. Taking up the whole lane makes it harder for drivers to pass you to cut you off or turn into you. Don't feel bad about taking the lane: if motorists didn't threaten your life by turning in front of or into you or passing you too closely, then you wouldn't have to., Michael Bluejay, bicyclesafe.com, The Right Hook
    ^ California Department of Motor Vehicles, CVC 21650.1, Bicycle Operated on Roadway or Highway Shoulder
    ^ Many motorists do not know that legally, bicyclists on conventional roadways are never required to use a separated path, or even a shoulder."Bicycles and the Law: The Case of California". May 1995. Retrieved 2009-05-25.[dead link]
    ^ California Department of Motor Vehicles, CVC 21, Uniformity of Code
    ^ California Department of Motor Vehicles, CVC 21100, Rules and Regulations: Subject Matter
    ^ Alan Wachtel, The State Preempts Local Regulation of Bicycle Traffic, Bicycles and the Law: The Case of California
    ^ California Department of Motor Vehicles, CVC 21100, Rules and Regulations: Subject Matter

    External links

    Bicycles and the Law: The Case of California, Alan Wachtel. Detailed discussion of California laws and safety considerations as they apply to bicyclists.

    The California Vehicle Code is available online through the Department of Motor Vehicles as either a webpage (html) or a pdf.

    The Table of Contents for Article 4 of Chapter 1 ("Obedience to and Effect of Traffic Laws") of Division 11 of the California Vehicle Code which is entitled Operation of Bicycles.
    •  
      CommentAuthorbilld
    • CommentTimeSep 12th 2012
     
    markphilips:I posted the article below in segments for easy reference and is by no means complete according to Wikipedia.
    Indeed it is not complete but it's a great start.
    •  
      CommentAuthorsvelocity
    • CommentTimeSep 12th 2012
     
    I wish we could have a condensed booklet that we can pack in our saddlebags for easy reference. hmmm...
    •  
      CommentAuthorKathy
    • CommentTimeSep 12th 2012 edited
     
    There is one - you can buy the California version of 'Street Smarts' by John Allen which has a condensed version of the bike-relevant laws in the front few pages... http://bikemaps.com/bss.htm
    The Coalition had several hundred copies a few years ago but I think they have all been given away. Maybe time for another order?
  3.  
    Maybe creating an "app" for use with smart phones would do the trick. Just have a web page somewhere with all the proper links to relevant sections of all vehicle codes. This could work across state lines with each state's code being accessible. A section of FAQ's for quick reference to situations that commonly arise and a more detailed set of links for digging deeper into the minutia of the code. Maybe a good project for the National Bicycling Coalition to fund and supervise.

    Just sayin',

    OKB
    •  
      CommentAuthorsvelocity
    • CommentTimeSep 12th 2012
     
    Kathy:There is one - you can buy the California version of 'Street Smarts' by John Allen which has a condensed version of the bike-relevant laws in the front few pages... http://bikemaps.com/bss.htm
    The Coalition had several hundred copies a few years ago but I think they have all been given away. Maybe time for another order?
    That's a start but I just want the laws not the rest of the stuff. Plus its a 5 3/8" x 8 1/4" book. That's too bulky to always carry around. I want it always with me on my bike so I can reference the laws right in front of an officer if something happens to me or I witness something happening to another cyclist. For that reason, either a mini booklet (that I can shove into my saddle bag with my tube, tire levers, etc.) or I like OKB's suggestion with loading the laws up on a smart phone app. I almost always carry my phone when I ride...
    •  
      CommentAuthorKathy
    • CommentTimeSep 13th 2012
     
    Love the phone app idea!
    • CommentAuthorJSnook
    • CommentTimeSep 13th 2012
     
    There's a good website run by Bob Mionske called Bicycle Law or something like that. He's also written a book, used to write a column on Velonews, and currently has a column in Bicycling Magazine I think. He's a former pro and has a law practice in Portland.
  4.  
    JSnook:There's a good website run by Bob Mionske called Bicycle Law or something like that. He's also written a book, used to write a column on Velonews, and currently has a column in Bicycling Magazine I think. He's a former pro and has a law practice in Portland.


    Bob Mionske has a Road Rules video series on the Road ID website. Although the focus is on recreational road / training rides, it applies to all bicyclists.
    •  
      CommentAuthorbikingbill
    • CommentTimeSep 13th 2012
     
    There are phone apps that let you load in PDF's. I think that may even be possible with Kindle (the device and app).
    • CommentAuthorSerge2
    • CommentTimeSep 24th 2012
     
    <blockquote><cite> billd:</cite><blockquote><cite> markphilips:</cite>I posted the article below in segments for easy reference and is by no means complete according to Wikipedia.</blockquote>Indeed it is not complete but it's a great start.</blockquote> I see equipment regulations are missing from <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_law_in_California">the Wikipedia article</a>. What else?
    •  
      CommentAuthorbilld
    • CommentTimeSep 24th 2012 edited
     
    Check out the talk tab. The list is long.
    • CommentAuthorSerge2
    • CommentTimeDec 18th 2012
     
    This is how someone fought (and won) a ticket for violating 21208 (not riding in a bike lane while in a group ride that wasn't really a bike lane):
    [[_linker_]]
    •  
      CommentAuthorbilld
    • CommentTimeDec 18th 2012 edited
     
    billd:Check out the talk tab. The list is long.
    On November 19, somebody archived all of the old talk, including the long list of todo items.

    In fact, most of the information in the article was removed in November.
    •  
      CommentAuthorbilld
    • CommentTimeDec 18th 2012
     
    Serge2:This is how someone fought (and won) a ticket for violating 21208 (not riding in a bike lane while in a group ride that wasn't really a bike lane):

    http://www.djconnel.com/cycling/traffic_ticket_Mar2008/notes.pdf


    The bike lane information in HDM 1003.2 has been removed for 2012. Bike lane design is entirely in the MUTCD, and it has less information about widths. For example, there is no mention of needing three feet to the left of the gutter joint in the MUTCD.
    • CommentAuthorSerge2
    • CommentTimeJan 2nd 2013
     
    Unfortunately, we have to know the law pretty well because motorists often do not. Even law enforcement officers. For example, if a motorist causes you to swerve and crash, and there there is no contact between you and the motor vehicle, it's still the motorist's fault. Be prepared. Even police may not know this! <blockquote>Police officers told them, incorrectly, that it was “not legally an accident because there was no collision between bike and car.” </blockquote> Nuts!
    [[_linker_]]
    • CommentAuthorSerge2
    • CommentTimeApr 2nd 2013
     
    <a href="http://www.cabobike.org/articles/bicycles-and-the-law/">Bicycles and the Law: The Case of California (1995)</a> (by Alan Wachtel) Excerpt on single-file/two-abreast riding: <blockquote><strong>C. Riding Single File or Two or More Abreast</strong> Nothing in California law explicitly requires bicyclists to ride single file or prevents them from riding two or more abreast, as bicyclists often do for social reasons.[79] Nonetheless, some police officers believe that the slow bicycle rule does so implicitly, because the bicyclist on the left is not riding “as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.” This opinion is also expressed in a 1975 Attorney General’s letter of advice to the Statewide Bicycle Committee, without further elaboration.[80] This interpretation lacks reason, common sense, and harmony.[81] In the strictest sense, the bicyclist on the left cannot ride farther to the right, because of the presence of the bicyclist on the right. In an analogous situation, on a road that carries three lanes of traffic in the same direction, it would surely be considered proper for two slower motor vehicles to travel abreast in the two right-hand lanes, leaving the left-hand lane open for faster traffic to pass. Riding two abreast is expressly permitted by both the slow bicycle rule and the bike-lane rule when one bicyclist is passing another, even if both are slower than other traffic. Finally, no law currently prevents a car and a bicycle, regardless of speed, from traveling abreast in a single lane wide enough to allow it.[82] It is therefore illogical to single out two bicycles side by side. If the slow bicycle rule is to be applied to the case of two cyclists side by side, it must meet the tests described under “What Constitutes a Violation?” supra. Clearly the rule cannot apply unless both cyclists are traveling slower than other traffic; if not, they may ride two or more abreast. Nor does the slow bicycle rule apply in a narrow lane, so riding two or more abreast is lawful there. The slow bicycle rule should apply only when faster traffic is unable to overtake and pass.[83] If traffic can pass by changing lanes, or if it could not pass even if the bicyclists were riding single file, there should be no violation. If bicyclists ride two or more abreast, but revert to single file to allow following traffic to overtake, again there should be no violation. Regardless of how the slow bicycle rule is interpreted, bicyclists may lawfully ride two or more abreast on the shoulder, because the shoulder is not part of the roadway, and therefore not subject to the slow bicycle rule.[84] Likewise, bicyclists may ride abreast, one on the roadway and one or more on the shoulder, provided that the one on the roadway observes the slow bicycle rule, if applicable.[85] Finally, bicyclists may ride two or more abreast in a bike lane; the special bike-lane rule, if applicable, requires at most that they ride within the bike lane, without specifying any particular position in it.</blockquote>
    • CommentAuthorSerge2
    • CommentTimeApr 5th 2013
     
    •  
      CommentAuthorbilld
    • CommentTimeApr 6th 2013
     
    On Friday, Paul Bash was found NOT GUILTY in a Vista traffic court of violating CVC 22400 which he was cited for while riding in Oceanside on Harbor Drive near the Monterey Fish House.

    He was represented by lawyer Richard Duquette with support from LCI Howard La Grange as an expert witness as well as video from his own Contour camera taken during the incident. Additional advice was provided by John Forester and our own Serge before trial.

    We can win, but we need help from people who know what's going on. Don't fight these things alone.
    • CommentAuthorsd_mike
    • CommentTimeApr 7th 2013
     
    I was cited for violating CVC 21202(a) and LOST without any support or help from SDCBC, despite my asking for help. The lawyer I was pointed to never wanted to tell me a cost, most likely was more expensive than the ticket ended up costing. We can win, but only if WE ACTUALLY HELP SUPPORT OTHERS instead of leaving them to do it themselves.
    • CommentAuthorSerge2
    • CommentTimeApr 7th 2013
     
    I rarely hear of cases where cyclists are cited with 22400 ("driving so slowly as to impede traffic").

    In most states this law specifically applies to drivers of motor vehicles, and so not to bicyclists, but 22400 does not have that specification in it. CABO supports revision of 22400 accordingly.

    In this case the cyclist had helmet cam video demonstrating not only that he was not impeding anyone, but also providing a recording of the entire dialog with the officer.

    Another "win" for helmet cams...
    • CommentAuthorSerge2
    • CommentTimeApr 7th 2013
     
    <blockquote><cite> sd_mike:</cite>I was cited for violating CVC 21202(a) and LOST without any support or help from SDCBC, despite my asking for help. The lawyer I was pointed to never wanted to tell me a cost, most likely was more expensive than the ticket ended up costing. We can win, but only if WE ACTUALLY HELP SUPPORT OTHERS instead of leaving them to do it themselves.</blockquote>
    21202 creates an unjust situation. It, along with 21208, needs to be repealed. John Forester recently explained why on the CABO forum:

    <blockquote>
    ...
    How is bicycle traffic law tangled? First, there's a law that gives cyclists the rights and duties of drivers of vehicles, CVC 21200. Then there's a law whose first part takes away the right to operate with the rights of drivers, the first part of CVC 21202, which restricts cyclists to the edge of the roadway. Then there's the second part of that law that, supposedly and maybe, returns to cyclists some of those rights, under specified conditions, provided that the cyclist can demonstrate that the law actually does that. This is so complicated that people, including the DMV and the CHP, understand no more than that cyclists don't have the right to operate as drivers of vehicles.

    ...

    Therefore, we have a law that prohibits cyclists from obeying the standard rules of the road for drivers of vehicles, but which law is so dangerous that it has to have complicated subclauses that prevent it from having much legal effect. In short, whenever government attempts to prosecute a well-informed and financially capable cyclist, it is likely to have the prosecution dismissed. In short, enforcement of this self-contradicting law is left to the ill-informed cyclists, the uncaringly prejudiced motorists, and the unscrupulous police officers.

    The only way out of this legal mess is to repeal CVC 21202, and 21208 (the similar law for bike lanes) as well. </blockquote>
    • CommentAuthorSerge2
    • CommentTimeApr 7th 2013
     
    Mike, that was four years ago but if I recall correctly none of the exceptions in 21202 applied in your case, so I don't know how the Coalition could have helped other than suggesting a lawyer. If I'm mistaken, what was your defense?

    In any case, it's unfair and unjust, but I really think the only solution is remove the onerous anti-bike sections, 21202/21208, from the vehicle code.
    •  
      CommentAuthorbilld
    • CommentTimeMay 3rd 2013
     
    • CommentAuthorSerge2
    • CommentTimeMay 7th 2013
     
    This story is from Michigan, but the experience is similar to what has happened to many bicyclists in California, and San Diego. <a href="http://www.lmb.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=817%3Ariding-a-bike-is-not-a-crime&catid=162&Itemid=94">Riding a Bike is Not a Crime!</a> It's outrageous that we have to fight for our right to ride conspicuously and safely in the roadway, but that's the reality, sadly. For now. Know the laws. Know your rights. Know what's safe. And ride accordingly. And be prepared to fight!
    • CommentAuthorSerge2
    • CommentTimeMay 7th 2013
     
    Proposed bicycle related changes to the UVC (which influences the actual state vehicle codes).
    [[_linker_]]
    Comments are due to ncutcd@aol.com by May 31, 2013.
    • CommentAuthorSerge2
    • CommentTimeMay 9th 2013
     
    This is a story about police harassment of a lawful bicyclist in Portland Maine, but it's a touching story involving a disabled female cyclist on a trike.
    [[_linker_]]
    EXCERPT: <blockquote>Next thing I know, there’s a car pulled up beside me and the driver had slowed down to my speed. I look over… It’s a police car. His lights are flashing, including the red light on top. If his siren was going, I didn’t hear it. (I don’t hear anything.) But I saw that the passenger window was open and the cop driving the car was looking at me and yelling. I pulled over and stopped. The patrolman stopped his car in the middle of the travel lane, lights still flashing of course. He got out, ran around the his car, stood in front of me and started shouting at me again. I explained that I’m deaf and couldn’t understand what he was saying. He was still agitated. I remained calm on the outside, but inside I was shaking. Probably because his holster and gun were in front of my nose…. Through pointing and gestures, he made it clear that I was supposed to be riding IN the shoulder lane, and that no part of my 36”-wide trike should be in the travel lane. I said no, that was not correct and that I had a legal right to use the roadway. Thanks to CyclingSavvy, which I'll tell you more about in a minute, I knew what I was talking about. But he wasn’t buying. He continued to insist and I continued to refute.</blockquote> ...
    • CommentAuthorSerge2
    • CommentTimeMay 9th 2013
     
    And here's a positive story about police-bicyclist interaction in San Diego... About six years ago, I was riding on La Jolla Blvd southbound approaching the intersection with Nautilus with my daughter in tow on a Burley Piccolo half-bike trailer. Here:
    [[_linker_]]
    The lane is very narrow, and since we were approaching an intersection, I was controlling the lane by riding in the middle of it (it's not a safe place to pass us). As we neared the intersection the driver behind us just laid on the horn. He passed us in the intersection, visibly yelling and gesticulating with his arms. An older guy. His wife (presumably) was looking straight ahead. I just shook my head in disbelief. The next car to pass us, right behind him, was an SDPD black & white. I couldn't believe that either! I just looked at him, he looked at me, and flicked on his lights. I slowed to watch what happened. He pulled over the old geezer in front of Su Casa. By the time I got there, I could hear the officer explaining how I had a right to be in the road and he had to be patient. Don't know if he got ticketed but at least he got pulled over and lectured.
    • CommentAuthorVeloCafé
    • CommentTimeMay 16th 2013
     
    •  
      CommentAuthorbilld
    • CommentTimeMay 16th 2013
     
    Dumb article.
    • CommentAuthorbootfail
    • CommentTimeMay 20th 2013
     
    Hey everyone, I've been reading the forum for quite a while, but this is my first post. I really enjoy and appreciate the great info on this forum.

    The reason I post here today is that this morning on my commute, a driver passed me honking and gesturing to move right. I was controlling the lane on a downhill turn. At the stop sign not too far down, the driver stepped out of his car and aggressively argued that I needed to move over. I'm certain I will encounter him again in my neighborhood, and I wondering if I can do/report anything about this? Thanks in advance for any advice.
    •  
      CommentAuthorHans
    • CommentTimeMay 20th 2013
     
    bootfail:...I wondering if I can do/report anything about this? Thanks in advance for any advice.
    Knowledge is power. I would suggest apologizing for impeding him, as it wasn't your intent. Educate him on the law, then report the problem to your local law enforcement agency and BikeSD.org. Advocacy groups need to know about these things, and they are in contact with both police and politicians on a regular basis.
    Most car drivers haven't been on a bicycle since they learned to drive(bicycle laws aren't part of the curriculum). Possibly out of fear that they think all drivers think like them, or due to society not providing them with a route in which they can feel safe. Older cities were converted to accept cars, newer cities are now in the process of converting to accept bicycles. Cooler heads will prevail...
    Welcome to the forums, and thanks for chiming in. See you on the road!
    • CommentAuthorsd_mike
    • CommentTimeMay 20th 2013 edited
     
    I would suggest calling the police. No one should "get out of their car and direct you" unless they are the police. I would additionally make sure THEY know you will report them to the police. That sort of behavior should not be tolerated as they are basically trying to intimidate you with either their vehicle or themselves.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSmorg
    • CommentTimeMay 20th 2013
     
    Seconding Hans' suggestions (hope you got his license plate & car description). It's best to be cool and non-confrontational in situation like that, I think, at least as much as possible and especially if you think you'll cross path with that driver again.

    I was riding up Rancho California Rd toward Temecula with a friend a few weeks ago when a driver rolled down his window to yell at us to scoot further to the right as he passed. My mostly hot-blooded Italian friend was tired and hot by the time we got there and wouldn't take any yelling laying down so she started yelling back. To my horror, the driver stopped the car, put it on reverse to come back to us and they had a rather heated shouting match in the middle of the road... and all that time in between repeated attempt to pull my friend away from the scene I couldn't help thinking about how there was nobody around, no houses immediately nearby and this angry dude in his two tons car and us vulnerable on skinny bicycles. He could just run us over with that car and disappear and would probably get away with it and what the heck were we going to do? :oP Best try to win over initially irritated drivers than to help them escalate. :o)

    You can even play it as appreciating the guy for being concerned for your safety (even if he was really just annoyed to be slowed by bicycle) before telling him it's both safer and lawful for you to be in the middle of the lane in certain situations. ;o) Good luck!
    • CommentAuthorShady John
    • CommentTimeMay 20th 2013
     
    Many years ago my wife and I and a couple others were riding mountain bikes on a dirt road outside of Julian (don't remember where exactly). A guy in an old Willy's jeep drove up from behind us and started driving right next to us. I looked at him and told him "you can go on past, we'll move over." He said "I just like watching you guys ride." He had a rifle in the passenger seat next to him. He drove parallel to us for maybe a half mile, and we just pedaled along. He then drove ahead of us and slowly disappeared around the next curve. Never saw him again, but that was freaky. My initial inclination when he pulled up next to us was to be angry and confrontational. Glad that I didn't follow my inclination in that instance.
    • CommentAuthorVeloCafé
    • CommentTimeMay 21st 2013
     
    bootfail: I'm certain I will encounter him again in my neighborhood, and I wondering if I can do/report anything about this? Thanks in advance for any advice.

    You should file a report with the SDPD and email talk@bikesd.org.
    • CommentAuthorbootfail
    • CommentTimeMay 21st 2013
     
    Thank you for the advice, very appreciated. I have sent a report to bikesd.org and will see about the SDPD after work.
    • CommentAuthorJSnook
    • CommentTimeMay 22nd 2013 edited
     
    bootfail:I'm certain I will encounter him again in my neighborhood, and I wondering if I can do/report anything about this? Thanks in advance for any advice.


    If you and the motorist are neighbors then I'd recommend getting to know him off the road first. Then, next time he starts getting all Mad Max with you on the road you can say "hey so-and-so - how's your morning going?"

    And if it is your neighbor I wouldn't file a police report unless you want it to become a long-term grudge.
    • CommentAuthorbootfail
    • CommentTimeMay 22nd 2013
     
    Just an update, SDPD said no crime no report, they reassured me cyclists' road rights, and if it happens again to call in to have officers respond on scene.Though the officer I spoke with was very courteous.
    Thanks again.
    • CommentAuthorsd_mike
    • CommentTimeMay 22nd 2013
     
    Another thought, albeit late. Always ask for an incident number. Should you have another problem, even if it wasn't taken as report, you can show a history of problems using those.