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Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

View Poll Results: Should there be seperate laws for bikes?
Yes, it would be practical and enlightened. 2 4.17%
No, you're on the road, you follow the same laws as everyone else. 40 83.33%
No, we tried that and those water fountains weren't cold enough 6 12.50%
Voters: 48. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-12-04, 09:03 PM   #1
2mtr
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specialized laws regarding bicycles

I'm wondering, how many of you out there believe bicycles should follow all the same laws as automobiles, and how many believe that there should be a different set of laws for bicyclists? It only makes sense (to me) for a vastly different type of transport to be under a different set of rules than cars. This is a system set up for the benefit of cars, not bikes, and to me it would be adventageous and fair to provide for a different class of vehicles, if only for a more convienent, practical and safe community. For example, allow for a rolling stop at stop signs and different start times at stop lights, as most bikes take longer to get going.
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Old 11-12-04, 10:45 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by 2mtr
I'm wondering, how many of you out there believe bicycles should follow all the same laws as automobiles, and how many believe that there should be a different set of laws for bicyclists? It only makes sense (to me) for a vastly different type of transport to be under a different set of rules than cars. This is a system set up for the benefit of cars, not bikes, and to me it would be adventageous and fair to provide for a different class of vehicles, if only for a more convienent, practical and safe community. For example, allow for a rolling stop at stop signs and different start times at stop lights, as most bikes take longer to get going.
I would leave the stop light rules the same. Many times when I do a very slow rolling stop at a stop sign, I notice that cars actually go through quicker than me, still. On the way home tonight, the radio said a truck had gone off a freeway, and two of four lanes were closed there. This was about 15 miles away, and traffic was already backed up that far. I got off the freeway and tried getting through on city streets, but evryone else was also doing that. The backup through three cities was about 7 miles or more. I was on the route I take home when commuting by bike, and realized how much quicker I'd have been had I ridden in today. I also wondered if the people that say to act just like a car when there's no bike lane, would have waited in line with the cars for about 2 hours, or ridden by on the right?
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Old 11-12-04, 11:05 PM   #3
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well since so few cyclists that I see really know the rules of the road who will follow them?
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Old 11-13-04, 06:38 AM   #4
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Title 56 Article 27 of the South Carolina Code of Laws lays out the special laws for bicycles.

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.

The list of exceptions is quite short.
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Old 11-13-04, 10:27 AM   #5
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To quote John Forester, 'Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles.'

The US uniform vehicle code, and thus the laws of most states, conform with the qute DieselDan posted. Elsewhere in the code you will find where a bicycle is defined as a vehicle, with the above law only reinforcing that definition. The sooner everyone understands this, both drivers & cyclists alike, the better for all.

Special laws, such as the bicycle inferiority clause found in most states' law, only cause confusion and promote discrimination.

Here is the inferiority clause from South Carolina:
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.

This is the equivalent to telling cage drivers that they cannot use the interstate when a service road is present. Bah.

But I am glad to see that most of the respondants to the poll are enlightened riders. After all, I am a League Cycling Instructor with the League of American Bicyclists and teach & live vehicular cycling.
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Old 11-13-04, 10:43 AM   #6
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There already are specific traffic laws applicable only to cyclists. Depending on the state or city, some of these grant additional privleges, some additional restrictions.

It seems that what you basically want is exemption from traffic laws.
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Old 11-13-04, 01:27 PM   #7
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There is case law in SC about bike paths. If other users are allowed on "bike" paths, they cease to be "bike" paths and are considered "leisure" paths.
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Old 11-13-04, 01:28 PM   #8
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I got the reference to different water fountians.
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Old 11-13-04, 01:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DieselDan
I got the reference to different water fountians.
Not the water fountains, it is the lunch counters I hate!
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Old 11-13-04, 05:21 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by DnvrFox
Not the water fountains, it is the lunch counters I hate!
The water fountians were more insidious as some of those were in public places like parks, schools, governmnet buildings, where as lunch counters are private-owned busniesses. (That doesn't make it better)
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Old 11-13-04, 06:38 PM   #11
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I can go anywhere I want on my bike, provided I have the stamina, and that destination is served by a public road. The last thing I want is anyone taking that freedom away from me.

My bike is not a toy. I use it to go to work, to volunteer, to church, shop, almost everything I also use my car to do.
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Old 11-13-04, 07:24 PM   #12
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In Minnesota some laws are the same for all vehicles and some laws are different for the various types of vehicles such as farm vehicles, construction vehicles, cars, motorcycles, motorized bicycles, bicycles, and several categories of trucks. It is confusing. If you have a small motorized bike sometimes you are like a bike and sometimes you are like a motorcycle. It would be nice to have an unambiguous matrix of laws and vehicles so we knew what to do.
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Old 11-13-04, 08:09 PM   #13
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I'll admit I run my share of red lights and rarely come to a complete stop at stop signs, but it would be too confusing to have different laws for cyclists. Most motorists can't even handle what's on their plate at present, we don't need to add to the confusion. Basically the only thing I want when I'm out there is an understanding that I have the right to take the whole lane (In Texas you are allowed to take the lane if the is no bike lane and the road lane is less than 14 ft. wide).

"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. "
--Do these "usable paths" include sidewalks? That SC law is messed up either way.
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Old 11-14-04, 10:26 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DieselDan
I got the reference to different water fountians.
D'oh!

Got that one right past me, you did.
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Old 11-14-04, 03:40 PM   #15
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same roads, same laws. Of course since we are technically a slow-moving vehicle, uf the law was exact, we would have to use that stupid triangle....fortunately a few exceptions are made for sake of practicality.
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Old 11-14-04, 07:09 PM   #16
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While many advocates of cycling believe wholeheartedly in building separate facilities for cyclists, the real incentive for building them is for the convenience of motorists.

The entire focus of transportation planning is speeding up traffic on the roads and eliminating congestion. Since eliminating congestion can't be done by reducing the number of cars on the road, the next best thing (?) is to build more roads, widen existing roads, and remove obstacles to rapidly-moving traffic.

In the minds of transportation planners, bicycles are obstacles to rapidly-moving traffic that need to be removed.
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Old 11-14-04, 08:59 PM   #17
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I stopped and talked to a California Highway Patrol Officer last month about enforcing infractions committed by cyclists. He was quite relaxed and talkative saying that he would never ticket a cyclist for running a stop sign or other minor infaction for which he would ticket a driver of a motor vehicle. He was also clear that he was not speaking for any other officers.

He was also adamant about the danger on the roads. He said that if he rode a bicycle he would have flashers all over his bike and his person in every direction.

I said I would rather die in a bicycle accident than of a heart attack or stroke because I was not physically active.
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Old 11-15-04, 12:41 PM   #18
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http://humantransport.org/bicycledriving
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Old 11-15-04, 01:27 PM   #19
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Separate laws for bicycles set an extremely dangerous precedent. Right now, if a motorist claims that "roads are for cars," we can cite the vehicle code, which supports the "same rights, same rules, same roads" mantra. I do not want to weaken this!

Consider, for example, the misguided Wyoming legislator who wanted to require bicyclists to ride on the LEFT side of the road in rural areas, for "safety" reasons. Fortunately, Missoula-based cycling advocates quickly got his bill permanently tabled, but we have to be vigilant.
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Old 11-15-04, 01:36 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dchiefransom
Many times when I do a very slow rolling stop at a stop sign, I notice that cars actually go through quicker than me,
(snip)
I also wondered if the people that say to act just like a car when there's no bike lane, would have waited in line with the cars for about 2 hours, or ridden by on the right?

I do not want different rules for cyclists for the various reasonse already stated. I know it is officially illegal to roll through a stop sign. I do what most motorists do, if it's a 4-way and traffic is backed up on each side we all come to an (almost) complete stop and take our turn. If there is no crossing traffic, I roll through slowly. I could officially get a ticket, but I think most officers have better things to do.

Passing motorists in the right while traffic is backed up is obviously illegal. I think most cyclists would break the law in this case.
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Old 11-16-04, 01:35 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Alphie
I do not want different rules for cyclists for the various reasonse already stated. I know it is officially illegal to roll through a stop sign. I do what most motorists do, if it's a 4-way and traffic is backed up on each side we all come to an (almost) complete stop and take our turn. If there is no crossing traffic, I roll through slowly. I could officially get a ticket, but I think most officers have better things to do.

Passing motorists in the right while traffic is backed up is obviously illegal. I think most cyclists would break the law in this case.
I feel like passing backup cars on the right is the pay back you get for having to ride on the right the rest of the time. In Massachusetts, I don't believe it is illegal either, simply my motor vechicle code. You are allowed to pass on the right here, so if you are in your legal spot on the rode and go by parked cars but are on the right you should be legal. Also in Massachusetts cars would do the same if they can fit. Lanes are where you make them here.
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Old 11-16-04, 12:40 PM   #22
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No, we don't need legal changes that will let motorized subhumans kvetch about our presence on the road even more. To keep what respect we have, we've got to be as law abiding as can be, keep our road behavior cleaner than the Pope's putz!
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Old 12-20-04, 10:46 PM   #23
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At an empty intersection when on a bicycle, I'll roll through a stop. When vehicles are present, cops or otherwise, I'll stop. I know that if I am observed rolling through by law enforcement, I subject myself to a ticket which I would accept without argument.

Generally, I will get in line with cars at a signaled intersection rather than roll up on the right. However, if there is a dedicated right turn lane and my intent is go straight through the intersection, I will use the right turn lane and position myself to the left side of it.

While technically illegal, I do these maneuvers with great care.

I am definitely NOT in favor of seperate laws for bikes. I do favor education campaigns to tell motorists that they should expect the same actions from bikes as they would from a car, including signaling. My belief is that a significant number of us, whether drivers or cyclists, would do less well on a driving test today than we did when acquiring our license.
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Old 12-21-04, 12:13 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2mtr
It only makes sense (to me) for a vastly different type of transport to be under a different set of rules than cars. This is a system set up for the benefit of cars, not bikes, and to me it would be adventageous and fair to provide for a different class of vehicles, if only for a more convienent, practical and safe community. For example, allow for a rolling stop at stop signs and different start times at stop lights, as most bikes take longer to get going.
This is a terrific expression of what many cyclists seem to believe. But there are several problems with it.

1) Allowing for rolling stops and different start times is hardly addressing the "problem" of cyclists needing a different set of rules than cars. At most, I think you're calling for cyclists and motorists to adhere to the same rules for the most part, with a few exceptions here and there.

2) Bikes are not a "vastly different type of transport", especially when compared to motorcycles rather than cars, and surely you're not calling for a different set of rules for motorcycles than for cars. The main difference between motorcycles and bicycles is amount of power. The same rules of the road apply equally effectively to all vehicles, regardless of power.

3) The most important principle in safe traffic cycling is to be visible and predictable. Calling for a different set of rules for cyclists works against us in terms of establishing our SAME right to the roadways that motorists have, the asserting of which is required in order for us to be able to ride in accordance with being visible and predictable (hence safe). If we claim the exclusive right to run stop signs and get head starts at red lights what chance do we have to claim the right to slow down motorists when we're trying to merge left across four lanes of busy traffic?

I continue to strongly recommend to anyone who wants to learn more to pick up a copy of Effective Cycling by John Forester, and study it.
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Old 12-21-04, 12:50 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
In the minds of transportation planners, bicycles are obstacles to rapidly-moving traffic that need to be removed.
And when they plan boulevards 4 to 6 lanes wide with 50 mph normal speed use and no curb space, then we pretty much ARE an obstacle to rapid movement. I know we are traffic, but try to tell transportation planners that they also need a horse drawn carrige lane, and watch 'em freak out.

This is what we are fighting... city access that is designed for only cars... if we can get to city planners and get them to see the advantages of bikes and pedestrians as "clean vehicles," then I think we have a chance.
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