Tuesday, March 19, 2013

California Bike Safety

Metro press release on its new bike safety campaign; cyclists have legal right to take a full lane     (click here for full press release)





FROM THE PRESS RELEASE: (good summary)
Bicyclists:
  • Are entitled to share the road with motor vehicles.
  • Have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle and motorcycle drivers.
  • Must obey all traffic signals and stop signs.
  • Are lawfully permitted to ride on certain sections of roadway in rural areas where there is no alternate route.
  • Must ride in the same direction as other traffic, not against it.
  • Shall ride as near to the right curb or edge of the roadway as practical– not on the sidewalk.
  • Are legally allowed to ride in the center of the lane when moving at the same speed as other traffic.
  • May move left to pass a parked or moving vehicle, bicycle, animal, or avoid debris or other hazards.
  • May choose to ride near the left curb or edge of a one-way street.
  • Should ride single file on a busy or narrow street.
  • Must make left and right turns in the same way drivers do, using the same turn lanes. If the bicyclist is traveling straight ahead, he or she should use a through traffic lane rather than ride next to the curb and block traffic making right turns.
  • Must signal all their intentions to motorists and bicyclists near them.
  • Must wear a helmet if under the age of 18.
  • Should carry identification.
  • Shall not operate a bicycle on a roadway unless the bicycle is equipped with:
    • A brake which will enable the operator to make one braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement.

The California Vehicle Code Section 21200 stipulates that bicycle riders may use any lane in the street since they have the same rights and must follow the same laws as car drivers. Bicyclists may need the full lane to safely navigate specific road and traffic conditions. In addition, the state vehicle code sets out several situations in which bicyclists are specifically permitted to leave their usual position on the far right of the street:
  • To avoid obstacles and unsafe conditions (including the door zone along parallel-parked vehicles)
  • To pass another bicyclist, car or bus
  • To prepare for a left turn
  • To avoid an area where right turns are made
  • When traveling as fast or faster than other traffic at that time and place
  • When the lane is too narrow to share with a vehicle

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