Ride to the right ticket appealed

Appeal won! A small but significant step toward re-training Sheriff and traffic enforcement personnel in general where and when bicycling may legally occur – “in the way” when warranted. We should provide a loud Thank you to Ron Lacy for making the significant effort to bring this about.

Now it’s important for us to help anyone bicycling to Ride Right; but not too far to the right. And if cited while doing it right, to consult with SDCBC locally or CABO Statewide, to determine when to fight back. Please spread this information to your club, friends, family, etc.

Here’s what just occurred.

This morning, July 18th, I sat through several traffic court appeal hearings at SD Superior Court under Superior Court Judge Kelly Williams. I was there to observe and provide moral support to Ron Lacy for his appeal of a CVC 21202 citation he had been given by SD Sheriff Officer Garcia. Ron had been cited on southbound Pacific Coast Highway south of Swamis for not riding as far to the right per CVC 21202. Officer Garcia claimed that Ron riding slightly to the right of the center of the number 2 (outside) lane was illegally positioned and that this was further established as illegal since another bicyclist road next to and by Ron on his right – that bicyclist thereby being as far right as required. At that trial expert (LCI trained) witness testimony was provided by SDCBC’s Board member Serge Issakov – Serge is also active as an Area Director for CABO. Trial Commissioner/Pro Temp Judge Codaz found Ron guilty. Ron paid his fine and decided to appeal that court’s decision – he didn’t think that he’d been treated fairly, that there was evidently bias against him as a bicyclist, and that the commissioner and Sheriff were not applying the law accurately.

Today Superior Court Judge Wells decided in favor of Ron’s appeal, reversing the decision of the Commissioner. The judge stated that the testimony of Ron and the expert witness about the exceptions to the “… ride as far to the right as practicable” law, CVC 21202 (copied in full below) were not rebutted at the original trail, that riding “in the door zone” can be considered a potential hazard that it is appropriate to avoid by riding further out into a lane. Ron and you won another step toward proving our roadway use rights!

It may be that Judge Wells was more likely to be amenable to considering Ron’s lane positioning as reasonable since, as she stated, she and her husband ride bicycles (“my husband is an avid bicyclist”) and are aware of the lane positioning issues. We’d do well to encourage more traffic enforcement personnel to become bicyclists, familiar with traffic laws and best practices; cops, sheriffs, commissioners, judges, attorneys.

Some notes of the appeal hearing:
1. There was no evidence presented at the original trial that the exceptions in 21202 did not apply; there was no rebuttal to Ron and the expert witnesses assertion that the exceptions were applicable.
2. The opposing attorney tried to bring up that Ron was not riding single-file when the other bicyclist was next to him; the judge state that there is no CVC against two-abreast riding… that single-file riding is not required.
3. The opposing attorney mentioned that Ron was impeding other traffic – a fact disputed by Ron’s testimony (and Ron was not cited for CVC 22400)
4. The opposing attorney was asked by Judge Wells if she was a bike rider; the attorney said she rode a bike but not much in traffic.
5. The judge would not accept that there was any evidence at the original trail establishing that there was bias shown by the Commissioner or the Sheriff Officer (maybe the reversal of the verdict will send a message to Garcia and Codaz).
5. Judge Wells suggested that bicycling advocates might pursue legislative changes and more Bike Lanes to help make roadway positioning rules more clear.

I recommend that we all make all our bicycling associates to ride lawfully but is cited inappropriately, to contact SDCBC or CABO to discuss options; fighting bad tickets is one way to turn around the bias against our roadway rights.

CVC 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:
(1) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.

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

(3) 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.

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

(b) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway of a highway, which highway carries traffic in one direction only and has two or more marked traffic lanes, may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of that roadway as practicable.

Amended Sec. 4, Ch. 674, Stats. 1996. Effective January 1, 1997.

Jim Baross
​CABO President
SDCBC Spokesperson
LCI #185​
San Diego, CA

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About Jim Baross

I bicycled across the USA from East to West in 1976 leading groups of bicyclists for the “Bikecentennial ’76 “event and again in 2007 riding this time from West to East with my two sons. I was first certified as an Effective Cycling Instructor in 1986 by the League of American Bicyclist and have been an active League Cycling Instructor for the League since then. In 2002 I gained acceptance as a Cycling Instructor Trainer and since then have conducted 11 training seminars for certification of League Cycling Instructors held in San Diego, San Jose, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Sacramento, Morgan Hill, Fairfax, and Palo Alto. I completed the San Diego Police Bicycle Skills Menu Course in 2003 and I have been an expert witness for bicycling crash incidents. I presently serve on several bicycling advisory committees and advocacy organizations. Chair - Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Working Group for the San Diego regional association of governments since 1995 Vice Chair - California Bicycle Advisory Committee for the State Dept of Transportation, a member since 1992 President - California Association of Bicycling Organizations Board member - California Bicycle Coalition California State Ambassador – League of American Bicyclists Co-Chair California Strategic Highway Safety Plan, Challenge Area 13, Improving Bicycling Safety Conferences, seminars and similar events at which I have attended and presented bicycling safety information and training include the following: Speaker/Presenter, Calif. Office of Traffic Safety, Summit “What to do about all these bicycles in Traffic”, 2009 ProWalk-ProBike Conference, Seattle WA., 2008 Attendee/Speaker, League of American Bicyclists, Bike Education Conference, Wisconsin and New York City, 2002 & 2007 Velo Mondial, Amsterdam. 2000 Speaker/Presenter, Calif. Office of Traffic Safety’s Summit “A Vision for Roads to Traffic Safety”, 2000 Speaker Autovation conference, San Diego 2005 Chair, California Strategic Highway Safety Plan, #13 - Improve Bicycling Safety Presenter, California Strategic Highway Safety Plan Summit, 2008 Anaheim Attendee, League of American Bicyclists, National Bike Summit, Washington, DC, 2006 & 2008 Presenter, Walk/Bike California Conferences, Oakland 2003, Ventura 2005, Davis 2007 Speaker, Making the Connection International Trails and Greenways Conference Presenter, Safety N Kids, Conference, “Children Learn Best by Good Examples From Those They Trust”, 2006 Speaker, ITE Conference 2006 Dana Point, Calif., “Engineering for Bicycling, From a Bicyclists Point of View” Exhibitor/Speaker, Lifesavers, National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities, 2004 References familiar with my bicycling background and experience include: Kathy Keehan, Exec Director San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, Ph: 858-487-6063, Email: execdir@sdcbc.org Stephan Vance, Chair Calif. Bicycle Coalition and SANDAG Senior Planner, Ph: 619-595-5324, Email: sva@sandag.org Ken McGuire, Chief Bicycle Facilities Unit, California Dept of Transportation, Ph: 916-653-2750, Email: ken_mcguire@dot.ca.gov Preston Tyree, Director of Education, League of American Bicyclists, 1612 K St., NW, #800, Washington, DC 20006, Ph: 202-822-1333 x 227, Email: Preston@bikeleague.org