Category Archives: Legal/Legislative

Report on 1/6/2010 Statewide Bicycling Task Force organizational meeting

On January 6, a bicycling task force was formed during a meeting in State Senator Kehoe’s Sacramento office. That meeting was successful and we now have a working task force in place, thanks to the team of bicycling advocates: representing the League of American Bicyclists, the California Association of Bicycling Organizations and the California Bicycle Coalition: CABO President and CBC Board member Jim Baross, CABO lobbyist James Lombardo, CABO Legislative Liaison Alan Wachtel, and CABO Transportation Engineering Liaison Bob Shanteau.

Below is a report on that meeting, but first a little background on how the meeting came about: Continue reading

Signal Timing Issues

AB1581, which became law in 2008, requires all new or replaced traffic signals to respond to the presence of bicyclists. In addition, a requirement to develop signal timing guidance was also a part of AB1581. Both are incorporated in Policy Directive 09-06 from Caltrans.

The video clip below is of a cyclist making a left turn from a residential collector onto a six lane arterial. Although it’s a bit difficult to see in the video due to the wide angle lens, the cyclist’s position when the light turns green for traffic on the arterial is in the middle of the number two lane.  The cyclist reaches the bike lane on the other side at about 12 seconds after receiving the green.

Problems with Bike Lanes Striped Solid to the Intersection

Some of our friends in other states, as well as some local advocates have asked me about why bike lanes shouldn’t be striped solid at intersections. Here’s a picture of just such a facility in Florida, care of our friends at

Bike Lane Striped Solid at Intersection in Florida

Bike Lane Striped Solid at Intersection in Florida

Here’s a slide that gives a visual representation of the problems created by this bike lane treatment (and even a wide lane under Far To Right law guidance):

Incompatible-Destination-Lanes-Draft-600x450 Problems with Incompatible Destination Lanes

And here’s a detailed explanation in terms of Engineering and Planning and the Legal/Operational issues that result: Continue reading

Bike Lanes and Motorist Right Turns

Here’s an interesting article discussing how motorists should legally and safely make right turns in the presence of a bike lane (with no separate right turn only lane):

California law requires motorists to merge into a bike lane before turning right.  This is consistent with destination positioning traffic principles (right turning traffic turns from the rightmost part of the roadway) and thereby minimizes the chance of a “right hook” crash, where a right turning motorist turns across the path of a cyclist proceeding straight.

A few years ago, Oregon was dealing with conflicting laws – one that required motorists to make right turns from the edge of the roadway, and yet another required them to stay out of bike lanes.  The police proposed a California-style law which would require motorists to merge into the bike lane before turning.  That did not gain traction, and so the net result in Oregon is that motorists are required to turn across bike lanes when turning right.

Oregon has been moving in the direction of installing “bike boxes” to address the right hook problem.  Here is an animation that shows they don’t work as intended in all situations:

As the Mercury News article illustrates, there is often confusion among motorists and cyclists about the California law regarding motorist right turns and bike lanes.  In my (Brian’s) view, part of the confusion is that motorists are being asked to occupy two lanes at once (the bike lane and part of the travel lane) – which runs counter to the concept we’ve all learned about only being in one lane at a time. But what other solution is there when bike lanes are striped to the right of lanes where motorists may turn right? Since there seems to be little desire to drop the bike lane stripe before intersections (even though the design standards allow it), the California law appears to be the best way to address the potential conflicts.

See also this post:

Bicyclists Getting Ticketed for legal riding!

W/in the last month (July and August 2009) or so we have started hearing about more instances of police citing bicyclists for doing what we think the law allows. No, not for rolling stops or other scofflaw behaviors; I mean for “taking a lane” or “riding two-abreast” in situations where the law allows such behaviors, based on our 100+ years of bicycling experiences through the  League of American Bicyclists. For instance, we’ve had two 21202 citations that were upheld by the courts in San Diego; that is two that I know about and that I have determined were not reflective of illegal action by the bicyclists. There’s also Chris Z.’s case in Pasadena; he was cited, found guilty and his ($4,000) appeal was denied. Chris is an League Cycling Instructor. Continue reading

Must Bicyclists Stop?

The so-called “California Stop”/rolling stop is commonly done by motorists and bicyclists. It can often be safely accomplished, though the behavior is illegal because under California law a full stop is required. When challenged about the extent to which I ride a bicycle legally – especially related to stop signs – I disclose that I ride/drive my bicycles in the same manner that I drive my cars. This usually gets a nervous laugh response because the motorists in the audience, although irate about the behavior of “all those bicyclists” realize that they have rolled through stops too. Continue reading

Letter to Towing Company

On Friday, October 31, at approximately 3:30 PM, I was bicycling northbound on [street name removed].  Approaching the railroad tracks, the bike lane disappears and the outside lane narrows to a width that is unsafe to share side by side with a motor vehicle.  I checked for traffic to the rear and then merged to the center of the outside lane.  This is a defensive bicycling maneuver (supported by traffic law) to discourage motorists from passing too close within a narrow lane.  After my merge, I noticed in my mirror that one of your drivers was approaching from behind in the outside lane.  He saw me, safely changed lanes well in advance, and left plenty of passing clearance.  However, the driver honked his horn as he passed in apparent ignorance or disapproval of my right to use the road. Continue reading

Looking for Alleged CVC 21202 Violations

CABO was informed that a cyclist was cited for violating CVC 21202.  He felt that he was unfairly cited, fought the citation in traffic court and lost.  We can’t reveal specifics of the case because the cyclist is currently preparing an appeal.

The text of CVC 21202 is available here: A discussion regarding the applicability of this law is here:

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.

If the cyclist’s appeal is successful, justification is needed in order to get the decision published.  We need examples where other cyclists may have been unfairly cited – or even if stopped, delayed or harassed in any way by a law enforcement officer – for allegedly violating CVC 21202.  Please post here and/or contact us at cabobike -at- cabobike -dot- org as appropriate.

State Route 241: The Case for Bicyclist Access

In recent years in Orange County, new travel corridors have been provided in the form of toll roads through locations where no other paved roads previously existed. These provide shortcuts for motorists, but currently bicyclists must take the long way around to get from Point “A” to Point “B” in many cases.

State Route 241 in Orange County, California, provides the only direct access between the new Portola Springs community in Irvine and the residential/commercial areas of Foothill Ranch. The direct route via SR241 is 1.6 miles and is prohibited to bicyclists, while the shortest legal alternate route for bicyclists is 8.4 miles. This four minute video, created by League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructor, Brian DeSousa, makes the case for allowing bicyclist access to this section of SR241.

The video is also available directly on YouTube here: – for those who can’t access YouTube, the video is the second from the top in the following page: