Tag Archive for CVC 21202

Morning Links: LA sheriff’s agree PCH cyclists belong in the lane; women could race in 2015 Pro Challenge

Don’t tell Seth Davidson.

But he’s rapidly turning into one of Southern California leading bike advocates.

After meeting with the police chief of Santa Paula on Friday, along with the LACBC’s Eric Bruins, in the aftermath of the recent anti-bike You Tube fiasco, the author of Cycling in the South Bay followed up with Sunday’s Sheriff’s Department ride-along on PCH.

Along with members of Big Orange Cycling, Davidson organized a demonstration of why large groups of cyclists belong in the traffic lane, riding abreast, rather than hugging the curb or weaving in and out of the lane while riding single-file.

In a result that should surprise no one, with the possible exception of most motorists and many law enforcement personnel, the deputies agreed that riding abreast in the lane was far safer than the other alternatives, and posed fewer problems for the drivers around them.

Which means that riders on PCH can expect fewer unfair and unfounded tickets for violating the requirement in CVC 21202 to ride as far to the right as practicable, which doesn’t apply on non-sharable lanes.

And the deputies agreed that the right lane of PCH is too narrow for a bike to safely share with a motor vehicle. Especially once the new three-foot passing law goes into effect in September.

As he points out, this is less a victory than a step in the right direction.

But it’s a damn big step.

And we all owe Seth, and the other riders involved, a round of thanks for fighting for our rights and helping them take it.

Thanks to Al Williams for the heads-up.


Now that Kazakhstan-based Astana rider Vincenzo Nibali has won it, the Central Asian country wants to host the Tour de France. After a fan lost his helmet cam while filming stage three of the Tour, Europcar rider Kevin Reza films himself finishing the stage, then returns it to the owner. A team founded by Jock Boyer, the first American TdF rider, hopes to be the first all-African team to compete in the race. Jens Voigt looks back on the last of his 17 Tours.

And following the successful Le Course women’s race at the Tour de France, the USA Pro Challenge may consider letting women race next year.



A Freedom of Information request confirms an LAPD officer had no basis to claim bike lanes would delay emergency response times on North Figueroa, despite what he said during a sham hearing put on Councilmember Gil Cedillo.

CicLAvia is working on a route through several cities in southeast LA County for spring of 2016.

A new urban cycling bike shop is opening in Santa Monica, with a pre-grand opening happy hour on Wednesday.

Two Long Beach riding groups will meet Wednesday to discuss how to get more women riding in the city.



The Palm Springs area could get its own bike share program.

Mountain View is looking for a new Mobility Coordinator. I’ll take the job if I can do it from here.



A six-year old Portland girl makes her own sign criticizing the thief who stole her father’s bike.

My already bike-friendly Colorado hometown is getting buffered bike lanes.

Red Kite Prayer remembers mountain bike framebuilder Tom Teesdale, who died of a heart attack during Iowa’s RAGBRAI.

A question I’ve often asked myself — should you speak up when you see someone riding in a risky manner?

New York’s Citi Bike is cheaper than other transportation options, and faster than most.



Moving story of yet another bicycling visitor to this county whose life was cut short by an American driver; this time a young Toronto man run down outside Memphis.

The son of a fallen cyclist asks London’s mayor to stop promoting bicycling in an unsafe city.

A new Indian concept bike could fit in a backpack, and be reassembled in just 10 minutes.

Could a single bad decision ruin Tokyo cycling forever?



A Boston-area cop begs to differ when a rider claims he can’t be arrested for refusing to give his name after running a red light. And a nice story, as LA Sheriff’s transit deputies and support staff buy a new bike for disabled Reseda man after his is stolen from the Chatsworth Orange Line Station. Nice work, guys.


Evil on trial: will CVC 21202 be the key to the trial?

It’s probably the most misunderstood traffic law on the books.

Ask just about any driver, and they’ll tell you that bicyclists are required to ride as closely as possible to the right side of the road. Even motorists who ride bikes are often convinced that we have to hew to the curb — if not the sidewalk.

They’ll also tell you that cyclists are required to ride single file.

It’s not true.

Section 21202 of the California Vehicle Code only requires cyclists to ride as closely to the curb as practicable — and then only when riding at less than the normal speed of traffic.

These days, many cyclists understand the first part, even if motorists don’t. They know the law doesn’t require them to ride through potholes and broken glass on the far right. Or confine themselves to the door zone, where they’re at risk from every inattentive driver who flings open a door or pulls out of a parking space without looking.

They know they’re allowed to ride far enough from the curb as necessary in order to ride in a safe and prudent manner — with the knowledge that the exact distance can vary from one road to another, at various times and under different road and traffic conditions.

But even cyclists are often unaware of the second part of that sentence.

The simple fact is, if you can keep up with traffic, you are legally allowed to ride anywhere you want on the road, as long as you follow the lane markings and ride with the flow of traffic.

If congestion causes traffic to slow down to 15 mph, you have every right to move over and take the full lane, until speeds increase to where you can no longer keep up.

Or when the speed limit holds traffic down to 20 or 25 mph, you’re free to take the full right lane — or the left, for that matter — if you have the skill to keep up. And nothing requires that you ride on the shoulder if you’re bombing down a mountain pass at highway speeds.

As long as you can keep up, you have the legal right to ride wherever you feel most comfortable.

It’s not just the law in California, either; section 11-1205 of the Uniform Vehicle Code says almost exactly the same thing. And to the best of my knowledge, it’s the law in every state of the U.S.

There is also no restriction about riding side-by-side in this state.

Section 11-1206 of the UVC says that cyclists may not ride more than two abreast, as long as they stay within a single lane and don’t impede the “normal and reasonable movement of traffic.” And I challenge you to find a single line in the California Vehicle Code which prohibits it.

And that brings us to this recent exchange of comments in last week’s discussion of the Mandeville Canyon case.

Dave Lewis noted that when riding down Mandeville, he often found himself riding at or above the posted 30 mph speed limit, without pedaling — which meant that he could take the full lane without violating CVC21202. And asked if anyone had raised that issue in court.

According to DJwheels, the cycling community’s eyes and ears in the courtroom, the speed of various cyclists on the road has been brought up several times during the trial.

The latest article from VeloNews says that data from their GPS units shows Watson was riding at 29.2 mph just prior to the incident, and Stoehr was traveling at 28.1 mph. Which means they were entitled to full use of the lane, and the Good Doctor would have had to have been traveling at significantly over the speed limit for the incident to have occurred the way both sides have described it.

The same article also notes that testimony from Patrick Early, who had an earlier, similar encounter with Dr. Thompson, estimated that the car approached him from behind at 40 – 50 mph.

Nothing in California law gives speeding vehicles priority over cyclists, or anyone else, using the road in a safe and legal manner. And as previously noted, riding two abreast is not prohibited by any statute in this state.

Which means that the cyclists were well within their rights, and this incident could not have occurred if Thompson hadn’t already — and evidently, repeatedly — broken the law.

As an attorney as well as a cyclist, DJwheels said he hopes the prosecution will ask for a simplified version of CVC 21202 to be included in the jury instructions so they can consider it during deliberations.

Meanwhile, a comment from another attorney, Jim Gallo, says it looks like the D.A. is doing all the right things in this case.

We’ll soon find out.

The prosecution rested its case on Friday; the defense begins today.

Read VeloNews coverage of the trial here, here and here. L.A. Times coverage here and here. DJwheels comments on the trial in L.A. Streetsblog coverage here.


Debate over the proposed new L.A. bike plan goes on; Enci Box explains why non-cyclists should care, and Joe Linton covers the first meeting on the bike plan. Twenty-eight percent of L.A. commuters rely on something other than driving alone. Slower traffic should stay to the right, even on a bike path. The Interior Department says no to a Yosemite start in next year’s Tour of California. A D.C. writer takes U.S.A. Today to task for a badly misguided rant about two-wheeled trouble makers — including a misapplication of the Mandeville case. More riders are commuting to work; even New York magazine editors and people in Colorado ski areas. A Baltimore councilwoman suggests moving the bike lane out of the door zone. A Massachusetts writer observes that 79% of local cyclists obey the law. Finally, evidently California as a problem with elderly scofflaw cyclists, as an 82-year old Lompoc man was seriously injured, and an 80-year old Placentia man was killed — both after supposedly running red lights. I’d certainly like to know if there were any witnesses other than the drivers who hit them.

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