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  1. #1
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    US highways and bicycles

    Hello,
    I recently had an encounter on a US highway, US169 in Olathe, KS with a local sheriff’s deputy. I was riding on the right hand side of the right lane on a 4 lane road with no shoulder. The road had been 4 lane divided with a 10 ft shoulder, then turned into a 4 lane with no shoulder . The deputy instructed me to leave the highway as I couldn’t legally ride on the traveled portion of any US highway only on the shoulder. This seems improbable to me, but I followed his instructions anyway not wanting to have further problems with him. The deputy further implied this was a federal regulation. I haven’t been able to find any federal regulations at all concerning bicycle use on highways. There weren’t any signs excluding bicycles from this road. Any information you could shed on this would be helpful as I am sure to encounter this again.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member David13's Avatar
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    This cop may or may not know the law. He may be talking about the Interstate, which I believe does have a no bicycle and no motor scooter and no motorcycle under a certain cc law.
    But US highway? I can't find it. Try FHWA and CFR. Or, FHWA has an ask the librarian or ask a question feature, send an email, they may respond with the answer. Please post if you get it.
    dc

  3. #3
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    time to head down to the cop shop and ask some questions, did you get the deputy's badge number?

    Print out the Kansas state laws relevant to cycling and have them in your seatbag to hand over to the NEXT clueless deputy.

    (minnesota LCI, are you reading this? the cops need the edumacation....)
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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    Senior Member joeprim's Avatar
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    I've even seen some rural Interstates where it is leagle to ride. On the other hand in Md. there is one section of rt 301 where it is encouraged and another section where it is illegal - I can't see any difference in the roads. I would go to the OD and ask them if you can't find it.

    Joe

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    My old commute was along a highway..
    As I recall, you may ride on US Highways, but NOT on Freeways, UNLESS there are no alternate routes, in which case you can't be forbidden your right to travel.
    Current stable: Sun Atlas X-type (mine), Trek Navigator 3 (wife), two Sun Revolution cruisers (wife, daughter)

  6. #6
    www.chipsea.blogspot.com ChipSeal's Avatar
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    Kansas vehicle code


    8-1403. "Arterial street" defined. "Arterial street" means any U.S. or state numbered route, controlled access highway or other major radial or circumferential street or highway designated by local authorities within their respective jurisdictions as part of a major arterial system of streets or highways.

    8-1405. "Bicycle" defined. "Bicycle" means every device propelled by human power upon which any person may ride, having two (2) tandem wheels, either of which is more than fourteen (14) inches in diameter.

    8-1416. "Driver" defined. "Driver" means every person who drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle.

    8-1424. "Highway" defined. "Highway" means the entire width between the boundary lines of every way publicly maintained when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel.

    8-1459. "Roadway" defined. "Roadway" means that portion of a highway improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the berm or shoulder. In the event a highway includes two (2) or more separate roadways the term "roadway" as used herein shall refer to any such roadway separately but not to all such roadways collectively.

    8-1473. "Street" defined. "Street" means the entire width between the boundary lines of every way publicly maintained when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular traffic.

    8-1477. "Traffic" defined. "Traffic" means pedestrians, ridden or herded animals, vehicles and other conveyances either singly or together while using any highway for purposes of travel.

    8-1485. "Vehicle" defined. "Vehicle" means every device in, upon or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, except electric personal assistive mobility devices or devices moved by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.

    8-1587. Traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles.

    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 act, except as otherwise provided and except as to those provisions of this act which by their nature can have no application.

    8-1590. Riding on bicycles or mopeds; riding on roadways and bicycle paths.

    (a) Every person operating a bicycle or a moped upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, except under any of the following situations when:

    (1) Overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction;

    (2) preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway; or

    (3) reasonably necessary to avoid conditions including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, parked or moving bicycles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards or narrow width lanes that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand edge of the roadway.

    (b) Any person operating a bicycle or a moped upon a one-way highway with two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near to the left side of the roadway as practicable.

    (c) 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.

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

    (e) For purposes of this section, "narrow width lane" means a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side-by-side within the lane.
    There is no state law in Kansas that I could find prohibiting bicycles from traveling on a state roadway. In fact, I could find no law that allowed a bicycle to use the shoulder of a roadway.

    8-1514(b) 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.

    8-1517. Same; when passing on the right permitted.
    (a) The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass upon the right of another vehicle only under the following conditions:
    (1) When the vehicle overtaken is making or about to make a left turn; or
    (2) Upon a roadway with unobstructed pavement of sufficient width for two (2) or more lines of vehicles moving lawfully in the direction being traveled by the overtaking vehicle.
    (b) The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass another vehicle upon the right only under conditions permitting such movement in safety. Such movement shall not be made by driving off the roadway.
    Limited access highways and interstate highways would of course have prohibition signs at their entrances.

    According to section 8-1547 published above, a cyclist has the right to travel in the right lane of any roadway that a car does that is not a limited access highway.

    The policeman who accosted you was enforcing imaginary laws.
    Vehicular cycling techniques have not been tried and found difficult. They have been presumed difficult and not tried.

  7. #7
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    Tell the nice officer to take a look at the Kansas Department of Transportation's site regarding bicycles:
    http://www.ksdot.org/burRail/bike/biking/KsBicyGuid.asp

    Looks like freeways are off-limits in KS, and you have to stop 15 feet from railroad crossings (not clear if that means only if train is there).

    They also publish a map that shows traffic flow and shoulder widths when > 3 feet, but I didn't see mention that you had to ride on the shoulder.

  8. #8
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    Be careful with kansas cops! They seem to make up their own laws, with complete disregard for the real ones!

    The funniest thing - is that a LOT of the judges go right along with them - even if you can quote chapter and verse.......

    No Kidding!

  9. #9
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    In addition to ChipSeal's post, there is NO federal law prohibiting cyclist from interstate freeways. That is left up to each individual state that the freeway is located in. There are several states that allow cycling on certain freeways.

    Print a copy of the laws and carry them with you. If you can copy and print out ChipSeal's post in the colors he highlighted, that would be even better.

  10. #10
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David13 View Post
    This cop may or may not know the law. He may be talking about the Interstate, which I believe does have a no bicycle and no motor scooter and no motorcycle under a certain cc law.
    But US highway? I can't find it. Try FHWA and CFR. Or, FHWA has an ask the librarian or ask a question feature, send an email, they may respond with the answer. Please post if you get it.
    dc
    Even the Interstates do not have a no bike clause... They are available to cyclists in various places all over the west, where no other roads exist.

  11. #11
    Blasted Weeds Tude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    In addition to ChipSeal's post, there is NO federal law prohibiting cyclist from interstate freeways. That is left up to each individual state that the freeway is located in. There are several states that allow cycling on certain freeways.

    Print a copy of the laws and carry them with you. If you can copy and print out ChipSeal's post in the colors he highlighted, that would be even better.
    Yeah - our interstates have the old - No Horses or bicycle signs at the entrances where they don't want you. Kinda sucks too because one involves a large bridge over a portion of a lake - and it would sure be nice to use it versus traveling many miles around to get to the other side technically.

    NYS info. Oh and I can't herd any cattle or take a pushcart (and sell hotdogs to people caught in traffic jams)

    Section 1229-a. Restricted highways.

    No person, unless otherwise directed by a police officer, shall:

    * * *

    (b) Occupy any space of a state expressway, highway or state interstate route highway, including the entrances thereto and exits therefrom, with: an animal-drawn vehicle; herded animals; a pushcart; a bicycle; except in the performance of public works or official duties, or on paths or parts of such highway provided for such uses.

  12. #12
    Senior Member The Octopus's Avatar
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    I've ridden on U.S. 36 in Kansas from the CO border to Philipsburg and back. No problems from the law. Sorry that you ran into an officer who either didn't know the law or who didn't care to know the law.

    And yeah, several western States permit cycling on limited access highways under certain circumstances. I've personally ridden parts of I-5 in Oregon. Not the most fun road to ride, but sometimes it's the only road there is (which is understood by the lawmakers, and that's why riding on it is permissible).
    Last edited by The Octopus; 04-23-09 at 01:00 PM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JusticeZero View Post
    My old commute was along a highway..As I recall, you may ride on US Highways, but NOT on Freeways
    That may be true in some places, but ultimately the laws about where you can and can't ride tend to be state, city or county laws -- they vary greatly from place to place.
    UNLESS there are no alternate routes, in which case you can't be forbidden your right to travel.
    This too probably varies from place to place, unless it comes from a precedent set in a high level federal court. Though hopefully most courts would find similarly ...

  14. #14
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    On the upper lefthand corner of the map, the Redmond Cycling Club runs the annual "cannonball" ride http://www.redmondcyclingclub.org/Ca...annonball.html from Seattle to Spokane; 275 miles, all but 17 along the shoulder of I-90. One day, 9,200 feet of climbing, and a few long descents. Basically, all of the bike-legal miles on I-90 except for maybe some east of Spokane.

  15. #15
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    The deputy was wrong. Call or go down to the sheriff's office and lodge a complaint. Give the time and location and they should be able to figure out who the deputy is.

    Make this correction before he stops you again and writes you a ticket that you will either have to pay or fight.
    Last edited by CommuterRun; 04-24-09 at 02:32 AM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    I'm looking at the road on Google Maps.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...8,0.44632&z=12

    Are you talking about the lower portion, which is State Rd. 7, or the upper portion which is Interstate 35?
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/sets/72157639939606343/

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterRun View Post
    The deputy was wrong. Call or go down to the sheriff's office and lodge a complaint. Give the time and location and they should be able to figure out who the deputy is.

    Make this correction before he stops you again and writes you a ticket that you will either have to pay or fight.
    Or, if you can't go, send a registered letter, with cc to your state's bicycle advocacy group and the local paper. Cite the appropriate laws.

    If you have a friendly lawyer who'd be willing to put the letter on his letterhead, it would be even better. (If you do the bulk of the research and drafting yourself, he might not charge you all that much.)

  18. #18
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    It was State hiway 7 and US 169 not on the interstate

    Thanks
    Allen

  19. #19
    Senior Member Eclectus's Avatar
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    Write a letter to the Kansas DOT chief or office of counsel, explain the situation specifying the stretch of US/State hwy, not controlled access freeway, no signage indicating bicycles prohibited, and ask for clarification of the law. As you know Kansas has a lot of Mennonites, and where I live, they drive horse-drawn wagons at 4 mph on some U.S. highways. And I've seen 20-foot-wide combines doing 15 mph too.

    Anyway, get the official confirmation of legality, and take or email a note to sheriff, with attachment, explain what happened, and ask that he inform deputies of cyclists' right to use U.S. highways, except freeways that have no-bicycle signs at onramps.

    I didn't know that cyclists in Kansas can ride up to two abreast, which I think is very sensible. (I'm from California where it's verbotten. )

    I'm going to start riding this way with my spouse. She's skittish about street/road riding, now I can "shield" her by riding on her left.

    It does conflict with the ride-as-far-right-as-practicable law, so I'd probably revert to single file on two-lane roads when cars approach from behind.

    I ride right of the fog line if a 3+ feet-wide paved and debris-free shoulder is present, as a courtesy to drivers, but if it's 2-feet wide or less, I'm not going to risk my elbow getting clipped by somebody's mirror, and if it's got junk I'm not going to risk flats just to be nice, so I take the lane.

  20. #20
    Senior Member SlimAgainSoon's Avatar
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    And how crowded can the roads be in Olathe, Kansas?

    Maybe O-ville needs more crime, to keep the deputies busy.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Eclectus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimAgainSoon View Post
    And how crowded can the roads be in Olathe, Kansas?

    Maybe O-ville needs more crime, to keep the deputies busy.
    It's so crime free the sheriff is holding a contest to increase revenue: Free dinner at Applebee's for the deputy who invents the best law to get more tickets issued.

  22. #22
    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeprim View Post
    On the other hand in Md. there is one section of rt 301 where it is encouraged and another section where it is illegal
    Big difference. US 301 from the split near Bowie at US 50 to over the Bay Bridge is a 100 percent controlled highway and is actually secret I-595, it's just not marked. South of the US 50 interchange it is not a controlled access highway and has countless upon countless red lights and intersections. MD 450 is the original US 50 in that area.

    US 29 in most of Maryland is also illegal to bicycles even though it might still have a few red lights. There also some others like MD 10 and 100 that is illegal for bikes also.

    Maryland makes an excellent bicycle map if you ask Maryland DOT.

  23. #23
    Senior Member joeprim's Avatar
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    gpsblake

    Yes I have one of their bicycle maps. I understand the streach form rt50 to the Bay bridge, but from there to Deleware seems like just rural highway.

    Joe

  24. #24
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    According to Colorado Statutes, bicycles may be prohibited on roadways if there is an alternate route within ¼ mile of the roadway. CDOT has chosen to apply this statute to much of I-70 and I-25. The alternate routes can be other roadways or non-motorized paths. Of course, no recreation pathway is maintained during winter months and, therefore, is not a reasonable alternative for bicycle transportation. Here is the statute language:
    CRS 42-4-109 (11), it states: “Where suitable bike paths, horseback trails, or other trails have been established on the right-of-way or parallel to and within one-fourth mile of the right-of-way of heavily traveled streets and highways, the department of transportation may, subject to the provisions of section 43-2-135, CRS, by resolution or order entered in its minutes, and local authorities may, where suitable bike paths, horseback trails, or other trails have been established on the right-of-way or parallel to it within four hundred fifty feet of the right-of-way of heavily traveled streets, by ordinance, determine and designate, upon the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation, those heavily traveled streets and highways upon which shall be prohibited any bicycle, animal rider, animal-drawn conveyance, or other class or kind of non-motorized traffic which is found to be incompatible with the normal and safe movement of traffic, and, upon such a determination, the department of transportation or local authority shall erect appropriate official signs giving notice thereof; except that with respect to controlled access highways the provisions of section 42-4-101(3) shall apply.”
    Last month, I was riding my bicycle on the extreme right side of the freeway shoulder between Frisco and Copper Mountain. During at least six months of the year, the recreation path along Ten Mile Creek is closed due to deep snow cover and avalanche danger in Officers Gulch. The alternative state highway, without shoulder, is Highway 91 to Leadville, 25 miles over Freemont Pass, then Highway 24 to Fairplay, south on Highway 9 to Breckenridge, over Hoosier Pass, then 10 miles down the Blue River to Breckenridge. Therefore, the I-70 is the only reasonable means for me to commute from Copper Mountain to Frisco.
    During that evening, I was returning from work. A snowplow driver on his way to Vail Pass stopped on the shoulder at the 195 mile marker to block my progress and attempted to stop me. When I ignored his command to pull over, he yelled to me that I should not be on the freeway. Then, he blasted his air horn and shouted, “#### you!”
    I called his supervisor to discuss the issue. I told him that I have no alternative to commute for work other than traveling on the shoulder of the freeway. I provided him with my identity, telephone number, and location of work in case an officer wanted to write me a ticket. I explained that if I received a citation, I would challenge it with a motion for summary judgment, jury trial, and appeal as necessary. He told me that he did not believe it would go that far. I heard nothing subsequent.
    United States v. Guest, Supreme Court of the United States (1966):
    “The constitutional right to travel from one State to another, and necessarily to use the highways and other instrumentalities of interstate commerce in doing so, occupies a position fundamental to the concept of our Federal Union. It is a right that has been firmly established and repeatedly recognized.
    As a careful reading of my detailed investigation already indicates, I have already done research on the Colorado Statutes and found that it is perfectly legal to operate a bicycle on the federal interstate highway system where there is no reasonable alternative pathway maintained within a quarter mile of the freeway.
    Furthermore, it is more dangerous to travel on our recreation path in avalanche chutes than on the shoulder of the freeway. More people die in avalanches in Colorado than die on freeway shoulders. Also, I pedal on the freeway shoulder at the same speed as any semi-truck fitted with chains during the winter.

    As a former CDOT snowplow driver, I was instructed that a snowplow driver has no authority to stop and detain traffic, except when directly ordered by the Colorado State Patrol under emergency conditions. Furthermore, freeway maintenance staff were trained to ignore any slow-moving traffic as long as it was on the shoulder.

    The right of a bicyclist to use public roadways was established in Swift v. City of Topeka, Supreme Court of Kansas in 1890, long before motorized vehicles were established users of publicly-funded roads.

    In Trotwood v. Seltz, the Ohio Court of Appeals decided in 2000 that a bicyclist had the right to travel no more than 15 MPH in a traffic lane where the posted speed limit was 45 MPH. Merely traveling at a speed less than the posted maximum speed limit is not a basis for receiving a traffic citation. I come from an Amish area of the United States where horse and buggy commonly use traffic lanes. My use of the shoulder of the freeway is far less intrusive.


    Despite any statute passed by Congress or state legislature, bicycles cannot be prohibited from riding the shoulder of the interstate freeway system. Constitutional rights trump statutes. Congress defers to the states over matters of police powers. The Colorado State Constitution has been determined under common law to guarantee to every citizen the right of intrastate movement on the roads. Therefore, the prohibitions in the statute must be the least restrictive means to achieve safety. Forcing a bicyclist to ride a snow-covered path under avalanche chutes is more dangerous, and quite impractical, than allowing the bicyclist to ride on the shoulder of the freeway where there is no alternative route that is maintained in winter. The burden of safely negotiating around any slow-moving vehicle on a road, including a freeway, is on the vehicle overtaking the slower vehicle. The vehicle only needs to operate at a speed that is reasonable for that particular type of vehicle.

    Right to use roads and highways. Every citizen has an inalienable right to make use of the public highways of the state; every citizen has full freedom to travel from place to place in the enjoyment of life and liberty. People v. Nothaus, 147 Colo. 210, 363 P.2d 180 (1961).

    Every citizen has the right to go freely on the streets at any hour of the day or night, provided he is there for a legitimate purpose, such as any legitimate business or pleasure. Dominguez v. City & County of Denver, 147 Colo. 233, 363 P.2d 661 (1961).


    As a matter of judicial review, hopefully, a court on motion for summary judgment, would find that intrastate travel is a fundamental constitutional right. This would require that the state's restriction on bicycle transportation would need to have been established by a compelling interest: transportation safety. In that event, the statute must be narrowly tailored: bicycles are not allowed on the interstate freeway sections that are supported by a maintained alternative pathway within a quarter mile. Furthermore, the statute must be the least restrictive means of achieving transportation safety: the statute is least restrictive if it allows travel on the interstate freeway if a bicyclist occupies the safest corridor of the lanes, likely to be considered the right side of the right shoulder pavement. Therefore, any judge ought to dismiss a citation written against a bicyclist where the statute is excessively broad or, certainly, irrationally applied.

    Aside from state constitutional arguments, the wording of the statute actually opens three defenses that may be considered by a finder-of-fact in a matter of judicial dismissal or jury nullification. First, there is the mistake of fact defense based on the lack of any notice that bicycles are not allowed on the shoulder of a section of freeway if no sign specifically bars use in an area. Second, the bicyclist is legally justified to undertake a behavior that may otherwise be illegal under the circumstances that no safe alternative is provided by the state failure to maintain a bicycle route in winter. Similarly, a necessity defense may be possible based on the avoidance of hazards on the alternative route created by bears, elk, beavers, foxes, yellow-bellied marmots, mountain goats, deep snow, ice, avalanches, falling dead trees, and rolling boulders that all impede travel and routinely create hazards on the unmaintained recreation path adjacent to the freeway.

  25. #25
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    ^^^Hey noob cool it on the fonts, please! Bigger isn't always better.
    Last edited by Roody; 05-18-10 at 09:50 AM.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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