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Old 08-08-07, 06:57 AM   #1
btoon
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Bicycle Laws and Regulations by State

If anyone has specific bicycle laws and regulations as they apply in your state please post them here; I would be very interested to see how they vary by state and region. I will start with Maryland:

In Maryland, the bicycle is classified as a vehicle with all of the same requirements and restrictions as a motor vehicle, except the following:
Bicycles are prohibited on:

Roads where the posted speed limits are greater than 50 mph (riding on the shoulder of the roadway is permitted)
Expressways or other roadways where bicycles are prohibited
The travel lanes of roads where there exists a smooth shoulder or bicycle lane (except to make left turns or to avoid debris in the shoulder space)
On all public roads, where bicycling is allowed, the operator must:
Wear a bicycle helmet (if they are under 16 years old)
Obey all traffic signs, signals and other traffic devises
Ride in the same direction as motor vehicles, as near to the right side of the roadway as possible
Use standard arm signals to alert other drivers of lane changes and turns
Stop for school buses when they are loading or unloading children
Yield to pedestrians
Refrain from wearing a headset that covers both ears
Legally, the bicycle must be equipped with:
Front and rear lamps and reflectors if the bicycle is used on a public road at any time when there is insufficient light or inclement weather
A bell or horn (sirens and whistles are not acceptable)
Brake
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Old 08-08-07, 07:01 AM   #2
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Glad I don't live in Maryland.
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Old 08-08-07, 07:15 AM   #3
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That's old. A bell is no longer required.
The document you are looking for is called The Maryland Vehicle Law Pertaining to Bicycles with definitions. You can order for free as many as you like from the dmv. I hand them out to irritated drivers. Handing them a state book of the code creates one of two situations. They either get the deer in the headlights look when someone realizes they are wrong or they act like the law doesn't apply to them. Either way, it makes me feel good for doing it.
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Old 08-08-07, 07:26 AM   #4
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Just read over the regulations, your right, no more bell. Here is a link to the document so you can print them off if you like:

http://sha.md.gov/exploremd/bicyclis...bike_laws1.pdf

Thanks for the heads up!
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Old 08-08-07, 09:00 AM   #5
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After further review, it looks like a bell or "other device" is still required.

21-1207 Lamps and other equipment on bicycles and motor scooters.
(b) Bell – A person may not operate a bicycle or a motor scooter unless it is equipped with a bell or other device capable of giving a signal audible for a distance of at least 100 feet.

I wonder of a person yelling consitutes an "other device capable of giving a signal audible for a distance of at least 100 feet"
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Old 08-08-07, 10:01 AM   #6
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http://www.bicycledriving.com/trafficlaw.htm
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Old 08-08-07, 11:22 AM   #7
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This is the best site for MD Laws: http://michie.lexisnexis.com/marylan...main-h.htm&cp=
Rules | Transportation | TITLE 21 | SUBTITLE 12
Bells are no longer required (but bikes may be equipped with one.) Thanks to Jon Cardin, One Less Car and others.
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Old 08-08-07, 11:24 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by maddyfish View Post
Glad I don't live in Maryland.
FWIW I am entertaining the idea of moving to Portland.
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Old 08-08-07, 02:51 PM   #9
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Minnesota

Not a complete list, but a cut of the most interesting ones (that may vary across states). I left out the "no ape hangers" law

Our 3 foot law

(3) the operator of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle or individual proceeding in the
same direction on the roadway shall leave a safe distance, but in no case less than three feet
clearance, when passing the bicycle or individual and shall maintain clearance until safely past
the overtaken bicycle or individual.


Our Bikes are vehicles law


Subdivision 1. Traffic laws apply. Every person operating a bicycle shall have all of the
rights and duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle by this chapter, except in respect to
those provisions in this chapter relating expressly to bicycles and in respect to those provisions of
this chapter which by their nature cannot reasonably be applied to bicycles.

Our Ride to the Right law

Subd. 4. Riding on roadway or shoulder. (a) Every person operating a bicycle upon a
roadway 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 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 fixed or moving objects,
vehicles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or narrow width lanes, that make it unsafe to
continue along the right-hand curb or edge.
(b) If a bicycle is traveling on a shoulder of a roadway, the bicycle shall travel in the same
direction as adjacent vehicular traffic.
(c) Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway or shoulder shall not ride more than two abreast
and shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic and, on a laned roadway,
shall ride within a single lane.

Our sidewalk riding law

(f) A person lawfully operating a bicycle on a sidewalk, or across a roadway or shoulder
on a crosswalk, shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same
circumstances.

Our Impeding Traffic law – notice it explicitly says motor vehicles

169.15 IMPEDING TRAFFIC.
No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal
and reasonable movement of traffic

Our Cars stay out of the bike lane law

(d) Whenever a bicycle lane has been established on a roadway, any person operating a
motor vehicle on such roadway shall not drive in the bicycle lane except to park where parking is permitted, to enter or leave the highway, or to prepare for a turn as provided in section 169.19,
subdivision 1 .

Our Passing on the right law – I think its unclear if we can pass a line of cars to the front of a stoplight legally.

Subd. 4. Passing on the right. The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass upon the right
of another vehicle only upon the following conditions:
(1) when the vehicle overtaken is making or about to make a left turn;
(2) upon a street or highway with unobstructed pavement not occupied by parked vehicles of sufficient width for two or more lines of moving vehicles in each direction;

Our Slow moving vehicle must keep right law – same language that’s explicitly stated for bikes is repeated for all slow moving vehicles.

Subd. 10. Slow-moving vehicle. Upon all roadways any vehicle proceeding at less than the
normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway, or when a specific lane is designated and posted for a specific type of traffic.
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Old 08-08-07, 05:47 PM   #10
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Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 85, section 11B, may be read here.

I'll do the old copy-and-paste-dance for the most important parts:

Section 11B. Every person operating a bicycle upon a way, as defined in section one of chapter ninety, shall have the right to use all public ways in the commonwealth except limited access or express state highways where signs specifically prohibiting bicycles have been posted, and shall be subject to the traffic laws and regulations of the commonwealth and the special regulations contained in this section, except that: (1) the bicycle operator may keep to the right when passing a motor vehicle which is moving in the travel lane of the way, (2) the bicycle operator shall signal by either hand his intention to stop or turn, and (3) bicycles may be ridden on sidewalks outside business districts when necessary in the interest of safety, unless otherwise directed by local ordinance. A person operating a bicycle on the sidewalk shall yield the right of way to pedestrians and give an audible signal before overtaking and passing any pedestrian.

(3) The operator shall give an audible warning whenever necessary to insure safe operation of the bicycle; provided, however, the use of a siren or whistle is prohibited.

(6) The operator shall not carry any package, bundle or article except in or on a basket, rack, trailer or other device designed for such purposes. The operator shall keep at least one hand upon the handlebars at all times.

(7) Every bicycle operated upon a way shall be equipped with a braking system to enable the operator to bring the bicycle traveling at a speed of fifteen miles per hour to a smooth, safe stop within thirty feet on a dry, clean, hard, level surface.

(8) During the period from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise, the operator shall display to the front of his bicycle a lamp emitting a white light visible from a distance of at least five hundred feet, and to the rear of said bicycle either a lamp emitting a red light, or a red reflector visible for not less than six hundred feet when directly in front of lawful lower beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle. A generator powered lamp which emits light only when the bicycle is moving shall meet the requirements of this clause.

Section 11C deals with violations, notices, and fines.

Section 11A deals with cities and towns having the right under law to require bikes to be registered. Boston requires this of messengers. I know of no other city or town in the state that requires registration. It is "encouraged" by police departments as a means to combat theft.


I should point out that there is nothing new about these laws. They have been on the books for decades.

A bill to strengthen existing law is once again making its way the legislative process. It is Senate bill number 1414. It may be read here.
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Old 08-08-07, 07:20 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by trackhub View Post
Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 85, section 11B, may be read here.

I'll do the old copy-and-paste-dance for the most important parts:

Section 11B. Every person operating a bicycle upon a way, as defined in section one of chapter ninety, shall have the right to use all public ways in the commonwealth except limited access or express state highways where signs specifically prohibiting bicycles have been posted, and shall be subject to the traffic laws and regulations of the commonwealth and the special regulations contained in this section, except that: (1) the bicycle operator may keep to the right when passing a motor vehicle which is moving in the travel lane of the way, (2) the bicycle operator shall signal by either hand his intention to stop or turn, and (3) bicycles may be ridden on sidewalks outside business districts when necessary in the interest of safety, unless otherwise directed by local ordinance. A person operating a bicycle on the sidewalk shall yield the right of way to pedestrians and give an audible signal before overtaking and passing any pedestrian.

(3) The operator shall give an audible warning whenever necessary to insure safe operation of the bicycle; provided, however, the use of a siren or whistle is prohibited.

(6) The operator shall not carry any package, bundle or article except in or on a basket, rack, trailer or other device designed for such purposes. The operator shall keep at least one hand upon the handlebars at all times.

(7) Every bicycle operated upon a way shall be equipped with a braking system to enable the operator to bring the bicycle traveling at a speed of fifteen miles per hour to a smooth, safe stop within thirty feet on a dry, clean, hard, level surface.

(8) During the period from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise, the operator shall display to the front of his bicycle a lamp emitting a white light visible from a distance of at least five hundred feet, and to the rear of said bicycle either a lamp emitting a red light, or a red reflector visible for not less than six hundred feet when directly in front of lawful lower beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle. A generator powered lamp which emits light only when the bicycle is moving shall meet the requirements of this clause.

Section 11C deals with violations, notices, and fines.

Section 11A deals with cities and towns having the right under law to require bikes to be registered. Boston requires this of messengers. I know of no other city or town in the state that requires registration. It is "encouraged" by police departments as a means to combat theft.


I should point out that there is nothing new about these laws. They have been on the books for decades.

A bill to strengthen existing law is once again making its way the legislative process. It is Senate bill number 1414. It may be read here.
Beat me too it, but you omitted a bunch, especially specific riding requirements and bicycle set up. Perhaps it would be easier to link directly to the Mass General Laws.

Chapter 85, Section 11A. Bicycles; registration: http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/85-11a.htm

Chapter 85, Section 11B. Bicycles; operation and equipment; regulations; federal product safety standards, effect; races; violations; penalties.: http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/85-11b.htm

Chapter 85, Section 11C. Bicycle law violations; non-criminal disposition.: http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/85-11c.htm

Chapter 85, Section 11D. Bicycle sale and rental businesses; posting of helmet requirement signs.: http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/85-11d.htm

See also Chapter 90E which deals with Multiuse Bikeways.: http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/gl-90e-toc.htm

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Old 08-08-07, 11:07 PM   #12
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South Carolina defines a bicycle as a play vehicle

http://www.massbike.org/resources/sclaw.htm

Article 27. Bicyclists and Users of Play Vehicles; Rights and Duties Thereof

SECTION 56-5-3410. Applicability of regulations to bicycles.

These regulations applicable to bicycles shall apply whenever a bicycle is operated upon any highway or upon any path set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles, subject to those exceptions stated herein.

SECTION 56-5-3420. Rights and duties of bicyclists generally.

Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this chapter, except as to special regulations in this article and except as to those provisions of this chapter which by their nature can have no application.

SECTION 56-5-3430. Riding on roadways and bicycle paths.

Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.

Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.

Whenever a usable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a roadway, bicycle riders shall use such path and shall not use the roadway.

SECTION 56-5-3440. Manner of riding bicycles; number of persons which may be carried.

A person propelling a bicycle shall not ride other than upon or astride a permanent and regular seat attached thereto. No bicycle shall be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed and equipped.

SECTION 56-5-3450. Clinging to vehicles prohibited.

No person riding upon any bicycle, coaster, roller skates, sled or toy vehicle shall attach it or them or himself to any vehicle upon a roadway.

SECTION 56-5-3460. Carrying articles.

No person operating a bicycle shall carry any package, bundle or article which prevents the rider from keeping at least one hand upon the handle bars.

SECTION 56-5-3470. Lamps and reflectors on bicycle.

Every bicycle when in use at nighttime shall be equipped with a lamp on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least five hundred feet to the front and with a red reflector on the rear which shall be visible from all distances from fifty feet to three hundred feet to the rear when directly in front of the lawful upper beams of head lamps on a motor vehicle. A lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of five hundred feet to the rear may be used in addition to the red reflector.

SECTION 56-5-3480. Bell or like device on bicycle.

No person shall operate a bicycle unless it is equipped with a bell or other device capable of giving a signal audible for a distance of at least one hundred feet, except that a bicycle shall not be equipped with nor shall any person use upon a bicycle any siren or whistle, except as provided in Section 56-5-3515.

SECTION 56-5-3490. Brake on bicycle.

Every bicycle shall be equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement.

SECTION 56-5-3500. Violation of article is a misdemeanor.

It is a misdemeanor for any person to do any act forbidden or fail to perform any act required in this article.

SECTION 56-5-3515. Authorized police patrol bicycles; operating as emergency vehicles.

(A) An authorized police patrol bicycle used as a part of a police bicycle patrol may exercise the privileges of an emergency vehicle provided in Section 56-5-760.

(B) An authorized police patrol bicycle may be equipped with a siren or the officer may utilize a whistle in the performance of his duties, or both.

(C) Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 56-5-760(C), an authorized police patrol bicycle acting as an emergency vehicle is entitled to the exemptions of an authorized emergency vehicle if it makes use of an audible signal meeting the requirements of Section 56-5-4970 or visual signals meeting the requirements of Section 56-5-4700.
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Old 08-09-07, 08:02 AM   #13
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I wrote a summary for Maine, here. It does not yet include some new provisions we just passed last month (yeah!), but those are summarized here.
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Old 08-09-07, 09:10 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btoon View Post
...

In Maryland, the bicycle is classified as a vehicle with all of the same requirements and restrictions as a motor vehicle, except the following:
Bicycles are prohibited on:

Roads where the posted speed limits are greater than 50 mph (riding on the shoulder of the roadway is permitted)
/* What happens when the shoulder is obstructed by construction, debris, or a disabled vehicle? */
Quote:
Originally Posted by btoon View Post
Expressways or other roadways where bicycles are prohibited
/* Is there a California-style exception provision where there is no reasonable alternate route? */
Quote:
Originally Posted by btoon View Post
The travel lanes of roads where there exists a smooth shoulder or bicycle lane (except to make left turns or to avoid debris in the shoulder space)
On all public roads, where bicycling is allowed, the operator must:
Wear a bicycle helmet (if they are under 16 years old)
Obey all traffic signs, signals and other traffic devises
Ride in the same direction as motor vehicles, as near to the right side of the roadway as possible
/* "Possible," if correct, is a most unfortunate and inappropriate choice of wording. California has always stipulated "practicable," which makes sense to me, although admittedly not to everyone. */
Quote:
Originally Posted by btoon View Post
Use standard arm signals to alert other drivers of lane changes and turns
/* Outstretched right arm approved for right turns? */
Quote:
Originally Posted by btoon View Post
Stop for school buses when they are loading or unloading children
Yield to pedestrians
Refrain from wearing a headset that covers both ears
Legally, the bicycle must be equipped with:
Front and rear lamps and reflectors if the bicycle is used on a public road at any time when there is insufficient light or inclement weather
A bell or horn (sirens and whistles are not acceptable)
/* Seems redundant with my voice, which is much handier and easier to use. */ Brake[/QUOTE]
Overall, it's pretty similar to California, except as noted above.
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Old 08-09-07, 11:44 PM   #15
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http://www.bicycledriving.com/trafficlaw.htm
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Old 08-10-07, 12:18 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John E View Post
/* What happens when the shoulder is obstructed by construction, debris, or a disabled vehicle? */
Don't know, but most shoulders are wide enough you can pass a disabled vehicle on the shoulder (~5 feet of space.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by John E View Post
/* Is there a California-style exception provision where there is no reasonable alternate route? */
No. Edit: But we do have a law that no existing bike route can be severed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by John E View Post
/* "Possible," if correct, is a most unfortunate and inappropriate choice of wording. California has always stipulated "practicable," which makes sense to me, although admittedly not to everyone. */
The quoted text is seriously out of date. Our law now reads
Quote:
Riding to right side of roadway.- Each person operating a bicycle or a motor scooter at a speed less than the speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing on a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable and safe, except when: ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by John E View Post
/* Outstretched right arm approved for right turns? */
Yes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by John E View Post
/* Seems redundant with my voice, which is much handier and easier to use. */ Brake
Bells are now optional, and the brake wording has changed to
Quote:
a braking system capable of stopping from a speed of 10 miles per hour within 15 feet on dry, level, clean pavement
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Old 08-10-07, 12:26 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by littlewaywelt View Post
The document you are looking for is called The Maryland Vehicle Law Pertaining to Bicycles with definitions.
Just to note that booklet does not contain the definition of "Shoulder" and since we have a mandatory use law I find that omission quite grievous.
Quote:
§ 21-101. Definitions.
(v) Shoulder.- "Shoulder" means that portion of a highway contiguous with the roadway for the accommodation of stopped vehicles, for emergency use, and for the lateral support of the base and surface courses of the roadway.
i.e. A shoulder has to be wide enough to park a car on.
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Old 08-10-07, 02:05 AM   #18
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Here are Ohio's laws.

One nice addition last year (thanks to the Ohio Bike Federation) was:

Quote:
Originally Posted by § 4511.07(A)(8)
. . . .no [local bicycle] regulation shall be fundamentally inconsistent with the uniform rules of the road prescribed by this chapter and that no such regulation shall prohibit the use of bicycles on any public street or highway except as provided in section 4511.051 of the Revised Code
It was designed to stop local governments from kicking us off the road or imposing their own wacky requirements.
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Old 08-10-07, 04:00 AM   #19
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Just to note that booklet does not contain the definition of "Shoulder" and since we have a mandatory use law I find that omission quite grievous.

i.e. A shoulder has to be wide enough to park a car on.
You are assuming that "accomodate" means "wide enough to park a car on".

What is the defn of "accomodate"? Would half on the paved shoulder (normal useage defn, not necessarily the Md legalise defn) and half in the traffic lane count as "accomodate". Ditto re half on paved shoulder & half on grassy area next to the pavement.

btw, I didn't notice anything in that defn that requires a shoulder to be "paved". Common useage (in many, if not all, places) often refers to the grassy area beside the roadway, but not in the ditch, as "shoulder". In fact, most, if not all, states sometimes use that defn when they post warning signs about "low" or "soft" shoulders. Invariably, these signs refer to the area to the right (assume a typical two-lane road so that we can ignore the left) of the pavement, i.e., the grassy flattish area, since the paved part of the shoulder is almost always the same material as the paved lane & would consitute a danger if the paved shoulder were not the same height as the paved lane.

As usual, it seems to me that the beaurocrats / lawyers have not thought the issues through before pontificating. But that is how beaurocrats and lawyers ensure their future income and activists ensure they have a future issue to aggitate about; that is, make the problem worse so that additional intervention / interpretation / lawsuits are required.

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Did you know that if you refer to your fertile female dog with the appropriate technical five-letter descriptive term, that word will be "blanked" out? So when you see "aggitate", think of the appropriate technical term for a fertile female dog.

Last edited by skiffrun; 08-10-07 at 04:05 AM. Reason: see text below the line
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Old 08-10-07, 09:38 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by skiffrun View Post
btw, I didn't notice anything in that defn that requires a shoulder to be "paved".
Quote:
contiguous with the roadway
means whatever the roadway is the shoulder has to be and the emergency parking has to be acomidated on. (This is made clearer a special rulling.)
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