First up, a local newspaper manages to get it wrong. And brings out the ire of the Facebook cycling community.
The Atwater Village News posted a photo on its Facebook page, showing four bike riders taking the lane on a two-lane ramp, labeling them “Lane Hogs.” Then cites CVC 21202(a), which says that cyclists are required to ride as close to the right as practicable when traveling below the speed of traffic.
If only they’d read a little further, they would have seen the many exceptions contained in sections 1 through 4, particularly the one that says that the law doesn’t apply on substandard width lanes. And defines substandard width as any lane too narrow for a bike and motor vehicle to safely share while traveling side by side.
Kind of like the one shown in the picture.
So for any journalists, police officers, motorists, online commenters or anyone else who’s still unclear on the concept, let’s get it straight.
Bicycles aren’t in the way of traffic, they are traffic as defined by law, with a legal right to the road.
Bikes are required to right as far to the right as practicable whenever traveling below the normal speed of traffic. Which does not mean as far to the right as possible, but only as far as is safe under the current circumstances, allowing riders to position themselves further to the left to avoid gravel and glass, potholes and swinging car doors.
However, cyclists aren’t required to ride to the right if they’re traveling at the speed of traffic — which means the legal speed limit, or less if traffic is moving slower than that. Or if the lane is too narrow to safely share, which is defined as a safe distance from the curb, plus the width of the bike and any motor vehicle, along with a three-foot passing distance.
By that standard, most right lanes in the LA area are substandard.
There is also nothing in California law that requires cyclists to ride single file. Not one word. Bike riders can travel two, three or more abreast, as long as they remain within a single lane, and that lane is too narrow to share with a motor vehicle. Doing so improves safety by making the riders more visible while forcing motorists to change lanes to pass.
And the law requiring slower traffic to pull over to allow faster traffic to pass only applies when there are five or more vehicles stuck behind and unable to go around. Which means it doesn’t apply on any road with two or more lanes in the same direction, where a driver could simply change lanes to pass.
Let’s catch up on some of the upcoming events.
Pasadena Complete Streets holds their monthly meeting on Monday, February 2nd at Day One, across from Pasadena City Hall.
Speaking of the Bicycle Advisory Committee, the next meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 3rd at Hollywood City Hall; BAC meetings are always open to the public.
Helen’s is also hosting a 2015 Cannondale demo and group ride on Saturday, February 7th on Mulholland Drive; another will be held in Westwood, with a ride up world famous Nichols Canyon on the following day, Sunday the 8th.
Also on the 8th, Stan’s Bike Shop is the kickoff point for a fun ride celebrating the birthday of GoBici president Jorge Rodriguez. But aren’t most bike rides fun?
The Eastside Bike Club brings back their Friendship Love Ride on Saturday, February 14th.
The Sakura Ride will be held at Lake Balboa on March 14th to honor the fourth anniversary of the disastrous March, 2011 East Japan earthquake and tsunami.
And LA’s favorite fundraising ride, the annual LA River Ride, is set for Sunday, June 28th to benefit the LACBC.
A few other quick notes:
We’ll soon find out if it’s really true that you should use a car if you want to get away with murder. Notorious — as the LA Times calls him — rap mogul Suge Knight is charged with deliberately running down two men with his truck following an argument on a movie set, killing one.
An LA cyclist who lost his leg in a collision with a big rig truck is awarded a whopping $33.8 million settlement.
KPCC is once again auctioning off a chance to ride with political reporter and triathlete Sharon McNary, with your choice of beach cruise or coastal bike tour. I had a chance to join in on last year’s beach cruise until my diabetes knocked me on my ass, dammit.
Two cyclists came to the aid of an unconscious woman being raped on the campus of Stanford University; the riders caught the suspect, a member of the university swim team, as he tried to run away. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.
Portland officials use magnetic sweepers to pick up the tacks someone is spilling on a popular bike route.
In an extreme case of driveway rage, a Nevada man boils over when his neighbor’s son uses his driveway as a turning point for the kid’s bike. And shoves his pistol down the neighbor’s throat to make his point.
Maybe the cop can’t read. A New York cyclist fights a ticket he got for riding on a bike path; the officer wrote him up for disobeying a sign — right next to one saying bikes were allowed there.
A Florida man fights a ticket for riding in the traffic lane, and wins.
Finally, even elected officials can’t catch a break when they ride, as a Toronto city councillor — yes, that’s how they spell it up there — sees the case against the driver who hit her dismissed because the police forgot to give the driver a ticket.