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  1. #1
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    NJ cyclist, NJ Supreme Court really screwed you

    The NJ Supreme court has screwed cyclist with their use of bicycle not being vehicles to declare that cyclist are not inteded users of the road and thus effectively have no right to safe roadways.

    http://lawlibrary.rutgers.edu/collec...74-10.opn.html

    Nevertheless, inherent dangers confront bicyclists who travel on roadways that are not faced by operators of motor vehicles. A tree branch, a stone, and even a pothole or depression might destabilize a bicycle that a car would harmlessly pass over. Public entities do not have the ability or resources to remove all dangers peculiar to bicycles. Roadways cannot possibly be made or maintained completely risk-free for bicyclists.
    Roadways generally are intended for and used by operators of vehicles.

    A “vehicle” is defined as “every device in, upon or by which a person or property is or may be transported upon a highway, excepting devices moved by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks or motorized bicycles.”
    By the Motor Vehicle Code’s plain terms, roadways generally are built and maintained for cars, trucks, and motorcycles -- not bicycles. Even the Pothole Primer -- relied on by plaintiff -- defines a pothole as a “pavement defect” that will “cause significant noticeable impact on vehicle tires and vehicle handling”.

    A public entity’s designation of a portion of the roadway as a bicycle lane would alter the generally intended use of that part of the road and would require the public entity to maintain it in a reasonably safe manner for those purposes.

    Roadways generally are intended for and used by operators of vehicles. That is a point addressed by the Illinois Supreme Court in Boub v. Twp. Of Wayne, 702 N.E.2d 535 (Ill. 1998). For purposes of the Illinois Tort Immunity Act, it held that although bicycle riders are permissive users of roadways, those riders should not “be considered intended users".
    Illinois and now NJ are the only two states that have thus far screwed cyclist in this manner by declaring that cyclist are not intended users of the road OR shoulder and thus cannot effectively file suit for injuries from road OR shoulder defects. The only real exception is if the cyclist was able to prove that someone intentionally caused the defect with the intent of injuring the cyclist.


    The NJ Supreme court even equates cyclist to kids playing tag football in a parking lot.
    Justice Stein’s concurrence in Garrison is helpful in regard to the application of this Comment to the facts before us. In Garrison, a boy, just shy of his seventeenth birthday, was injured while playing night touch football on property owned by Middletown Township -- a parking lot that had an uneven surface, a declivity of one-and-one-half inches.
    Last edited by CB HI; 03-13-12 at 08:04 PM. Reason: Messed up OP when trying to copy court quote

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    They are vehicles... That was about a pothole / depression incident...

    Basically that case was saying that when that woman was riding on the SHOULDER (NOT part of the roadway and NOT a designated bike lane) and hit that whatever and fell and died, her husband had no recourse to sue the county, because of it..

    Sucked bad too! So basically, if you're not far right on the roadway and something happens, you can't sue because, basically they said the roadway shoulders of NJ are not "bike compatible" nor are they maintained in such a way as to allow riding on them... (Although they are "car compatible", because cars have "better tires"... --- I'm paraphrasing a bit, but that's the gist of it!) Oh and the shoulder is only to be used for emergency parking and the like..

    Here is the statute about bicycles actually being vehicles...

    39:4-14.1 Rights, duties of bicycle riders on roadways, exemptions.


    16. a. 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 chapter four of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes and all supplements thereto except as to those provisions thereof which by their nature can have no application.
    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.
    Last edited by Sangesf; 03-13-12 at 12:37 AM.

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    ^^
    The NJ Supreme Court disagrees with you, read the court ruling.

    And with this ruling, under case law bicycles are not vehicles in NJ.

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    They are not vehicles COMPATABLE with the shoulder..


    Read it again.... You missed the part about... NJSA 39:4-14.1

    READ THAT DOCUMENT IN IT'S ENTIRETY....

    It had NOTHING to do with the status of a bicycle being a vehicle.. It was about the status of a bicycle to be ridden on the shoulder of a road and NOT the roadway..


    P.S. Read my post again, I edited it while you were typing up your post..
    I gave you the NJ statute about bicycles being vehicles.. They even mention that in that document you linked.. Trust me, read it entirely AGAIN!



    You read that document wrong... Here is the quote you posted with emphasis on what I'm talking about...

    Bicyclists do not have special privileges on a roadway’’s shoulder. Indeed, a bicycle rider is directed to ride on the furthest right hand side of the roadway, not on the roadway’’s shoulder. The Motor Vehicle Code does not designate the roadway’’s shoulder as a bicycle lane.
    Last edited by Sangesf; 03-13-12 at 12:29 AM.

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    NJ Supreme court made their position quite clear:
    A “vehicle” is defined as “every device in, upon or by which a person or property is or may be transported upon a highway, excepting devices moved by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks or motorized bicycles.”

    By the Motor Vehicle Code’s plain terms, roadways generally are built and maintained for cars, trucks, and motorcycles -- not bicycles.
    They went way past just talking about a pot hole on a shoulder.

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    Yes... But you're not getting it...

    Yes, the statutory definition of a vehicle excluded a bicycle...

    BUT when a "Driver" of a bicycle is ON THE ROADWAY... (Meaning NOT the shoulder - the shoulder is NOT PART of the roadway)..

    First part....
    Bicyclists do not have special privileges (WHEN) on a roadway’’s shoulder.
    Meaning they don't have the "privileges" of a vehicle when ON THE SHOULDER..


    But when they ARE on the ROADWAY (Remember the shoulder is NOT the roadway), they DO get special privileges.. Here it is again as plainly as I can..
    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 chapter four of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes

    Do you see the difference? When riding on the shoulder, a bicycle is NOT a vehicle, BUT on the ROADWAY they ARE!

    It's a matter of law... Basically the county got away with "depraved indifference", because of a legal loophole..

    Law is funny that way... Unfortunately... ;(
    Last edited by Sangesf; 03-13-12 at 01:08 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sangesf View Post
    Yes... But you're not getting it...

    Yes, the statutory definition of a vehicle excluded a bicycle...

    BUT when a "Driver" of a bicycle is ON THE ROADWAY... (Meaning NOT the shoulder - the shoulder is NOT PART of the roadway)..

    Every person riding a bicycleupon 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 chapter four of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes

    Do you see the difference? When riding on the shoulder, a bicycle is NOT a vehicle, BUT on the ROADWAY they ARE!

    It's a matter of law... Basically the county got away with "depraved indifference", because of a legal loophole..

    Law is funny that way... Unfortunately... ;(
    By your upside down analysis, if a bicycle is a vehicle on the roadway but not on the shoulder, then a car is a vehicle on the roadway but not on the shoulder, just like a bicycle. Get it, you are wrong, the court made that quite clear that they do not consider a bicycle a vehicle ever. That point is driven home with their citation to: Illinois Supreme Court in Boub v. Twp. Of Wayne, 702 N.E.2d 535 (Ill. 1998).

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    Lol.. You're still not getting it....
    What you're saying WOULD be true, IF a car wasn't considered a vehicle by definition originally, but it is..
    A car is not to be ridden on a shoulder either AND IS a VEHICLE by definition.. It ISN'T defined as NOT being a vehicle at ANY time..

    It even said the shoulder is for emergency usage..

    A bicyclist is given the "privilege" of being a "vehicle" when on the roadway, but is NOT given the privilege of being one anywhere else.

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    So you are not capable of reading the simple definition as stated by the NJ Supreme Court.
    A “vehicle” is defined as “every device in, upon or by which a person or property is or may be transported upon a highway, excepting devices moved by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks or motorized bicycles.”
    Enough of your attempts to turn this into a useless helmet style thread.

    Even your bicycle privilege of being a vehicle is BS.

  10. #10
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    Even your bicycle privilege of being a vehicle is BS.
    Maybe you'll understand it this way...

    Here is the "header" of the bicycle statute, concerning the "BS" as you call it..

    39:4-14.1 Rights, duties of bicycle riders on roadways, exemptions.
    That statute is an exemption of the statute you show of a bicycle not being a "vehicle".. It's the "exemption to the rule", do you not get that?

    It's NOT BS...

    AND

    It's NOT ME....

    IT'S THE LAW...

    You seem to think the law is "cut and dry".. It's not..

    Everything I stated is correct.. You can't take one definition and use it in EVERY situation and EVERY OTHER statute.... Especially if there is an exemption somewhere else-(hint)

    The law does not allow it... Again... The LAW does not allow it.

    Even your Illinois comment adds to what I'm saying.. They are talking about vehicles and roadways...
    They are NOT talking about vehicles and the SHOULDER, in the Illinois reference (which again is NOT the "roadway").. They reference that because when on the roadway a bicycle is considered a vehicle, when on the shoulder it's not, BECAUSE it's EXCLUDED originally, in general terms.. And STAYS that way UNTIL it's INCLUDED (and that's ONLY WHEN IT'S ON THE ROADWAY)...

    ALL OF THAT STUFF IS IRRELEVANT TO THE CASE AND ONLY RELEVANT TO BICYCLES BEING VEHICLES... I'm just explaining the "mis-interpretation" of a bicycle not being considered a vehicle..

    ACTUALLY... HERE'S the point of the ENTIRE CASE..
    Because the bicycle was on the shoulder and not on the roadway, (and since the shoulder is not made to be ridden on at any time (remember again they said for "emergency use" only)) she shouldn't have been riding there in the first place as it's not for riding on...

    The husband couldn't sue the county, because the county is not responsible (legally) in a wrongful death case when an accident occurs when someone's riding on the shoulder (remember again, not allowed to RIDE on the shoulder) and hits a pothole (or whatever) and a death occurs.

    IF she was on the roadway and the same thing occurred, guess what would happen? That's right! The husband would have won his case.

    Do you see it yet?!?

    If not, you either...
    1.) Are so incredibly obtuse, you just don't understand.

    OR

    2.) Realized I am correct and just don't want to admit that you mis-read the case.

    Can someone else out there, help me and explain to the OP, what I'm TRYING to explain to him?

    My reading of the whole "vehicle" thing, brings up an interesting thought I just had...
    Since riding on the shoulder would not allow a bicycle the definition of a "vehicle" to be applied to it, can someone use that fact as a defense against "driving drunk" on a "vehicle"(bicycle)?
    Last edited by Sangesf; 03-13-12 at 02:32 AM.

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    The court clearly indicated that the only clear time the husband could have sued is if she was riding in a bike lane or bike path because there a cyclist is an intended user; but on a shoulder and a road, a cyclist is not an intended user. You really need to read the link more carefully without you believed bias or stop trolling.

  12. #12
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    EXACTLY!!!!!

    Believe it or not, you are actually agreeing with me..

    Let break it down a bit, shall we?

    First let's start with your original thought that a bicycle is not considered a "vehicle".
    (Specifically for NJ law)

    1.) When NOT on a roadway, a bicycle it NOT a vehicle.
    (This is not under contention).

    2.) When ON a roadway, a bicycle IS considered a vehicle and has ALL the RIGHTS (allowed to use the roadway AND any protection from law that any other vehicles have) and ALL the DUTIES (must follow traffic rules) of a VEHICLE..
    (I have proven this as I gave you the "Exemption to the Rule" statute).

    If you don't believe me ask anyone else.


    So the next thing is the actual case...
    (Which, by the way, has NOTHING to do with whether a bicycle is a "vehicle" or a "device" or whatever).

    1.) She was riding on the shoulder.
    (This is not in contention).
    WHILE riding ON the SHOULDER, she hit a pothole/depression and fell and a few days later she died.

    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    The court clearly indicated that the only clear time the husband could have sued is if she was riding in a bike lane or bike path because there a cyclist is an intended user; but on a shoulder and a road, a cyclist is not an intended user...
    CORRECT...
    1.) "Clear" because the county is responsible for the care of a bicycle lane and/or a bike path and because of that (the intended use for a bicyclist), he would have won the case.
    (This is not in contention either)

    2.) It would have been "UN-Clear", if she was riding ON the ROADWAY, had an "emergency" AND pulled over ONTO the SHOULDER (NOT part of the roadway) which IS for that "emergency" purpose AND THEN hit the pothole/impression.
    (This would have made the case, much more difficult to fight out in court... But it wasn't the case, so that's not important for this particular discussion.. ALSO, even though the roadway is not intended for bicycle use, bicycle use IS allowed.. As also shown in the "exemption to the rule" statute... Also see #3 below)

    3.) She was RIDING ON THE SHOULDER..
    (Which is NOT intended NOR ALLOWED to be "RIDDEN ON", AT ANY TIME, by ANY Vehicle, Device or anything else as it's ONLY intended use is for pulling over for "emergency reasons", which was NOT what she was doing.. (Reference from #2)


    A.) If she was on a bike path (intended for bicycles) and this happened, the case would have been won.
    (Not in contention)

    B.) If she was in a bicycle lane (also intended for bicycles), the case would have been won.
    (Also not in contention)

    (In BOTH A and B, Since the county is responsible for keeping a bike path (and bicycle lane) clear of dangers FOR bicycles (and this is part of the case as well), because bicycles are more "fragile" than most other devices or vehicles and need special care, just for that reason, they would have won the case)

    The county is ALSO responsible for keeping the roadway clear of dangers for BOTH..... Automobiles(by default) AND bicycles (because bicycles are allowed to use the roadway.)

    Now HERE'S where the case was lost...

    Since the shoulder is NOT part of the roadway (remember the county is responsible for "roadway clear of danger"), NOR is the shoulder for any other use BUT "emergencies", AND since the plantiff's wife was RIDING on the shoulder AND since the county is NOT responsible for keeping the shoulder clear of dangers that might effect bicycles (in this particular case, having more fragile tires/rims than a car) they are not responsible for her death.
    I bet you a million dollars the above paragraph was probably the county's lawyer's closing argument. Or at least, very close to it.

    Please, please, please, tell me you understand everything I just showed you..
    I spent over an hour typing this up as it is NOT a troll, but me TRYING to explain everything to you as specifically as possible!


    So, in recap...
    1.) Bicycles ridden on the road are considered "vehicles".
    And
    2.) No bicycles should be ridden on the shoulder of a highway.
    And
    3.) The unfortunate and untimely death of another bicyclist is really sad.

  13. #13
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    It looks like the NJ supreme court is dismissive of bicyclists, but the ruling was about riding on the shoulder of the road.

    shoulders are not maintained for bicycle travel. none of the roads have to be, but shoulders particularly so.


    Yeah, it would suck to be a bicyclist in NJ with stated court opinion that roads are not maintained for bikes and especially not the shoulders.

    This type of opinion echoes autocentricity all the way.

    I think Iowa has the same general opinion about bikes and public roads, unfortunately, and suspect several other states do as well. only bicycle routes and bicycle lanes are where bikes can expect bike friendly pavement,

    all other places, rider beware. limited recourse in the event of a crash from a pavement defect.

    RIP rider.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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    CB is correct -- or should I say, MORE correct, because both of you make correct points; you're just standing on different 'corners of the same square'.

    IANAL, but here is my take....

    Sangesf, your ONE glaring error is in the assumption that NJ law defines a bike as a 'vehicle' WHEN ON THE ROADWAY; it does NOT. It merely gives equal right/responsibility when ON the roadway. There is a distinction there. Not every state defines a bike as a vehicle, but every state DOES give equal road rights. "Rights/duties on the road" =/= "vehicle" in the law.

    CB's point, that NJSC 'screwed' cyclists, doesn't refer to the outcome of the lawsuit, but in the definition of bikes/cyclists and their status on the road.

    Given what I have heard/read about NJ riding and traffic issues, I can't say I blame that group for riding the shoulder; BUT, BY LAW, they DID AND DO have equal road rights, so the gov't has provided what they need to travel. Where they fall short (not a unique story, either) is ENFORCEMENT VS. vehicular aggression. Not addressed in the suit, nor would it have helped.

    A lot of regions in the country call those shoulders "breakdown lanes"; they are NOT engineered/built to the same standards as the actual roadway, nor are they subject to same. So, a group riding on the shoulder really DOESN'T have the same expectation of 'safe surface', sad to say; the lady was wearing a helmet, and died of head injuries anyway. Sorry, but "speed too fast for conditions".

    Even motivated by grief as it surely was, this lawsuit was properly dismissed. BUT, the NJSC stuck it to cyclists by making precedent for cyclists to be shoved off the road, IN OPPOSITION TO THEIR OWN STATE LAW.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    http://lawlibrary.rutgers.edu/collec...74-10.opn.html

    NJ cyclist do not belong on the shoulder, except when emergency parking. They are not even vehicle users and thus are not intended road users just like in Illinois. You cannot sue for dangerous road conditions unless you are riding in an exclusive bike lane, you have no road rights.

    According to the NJ Supreme Court, cyclist are no different than kids playing touch football in a parking lot.


    Bicycle "advocacy" apparently leads to difficulties in reading comprehension.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DX-MAN View Post
    ... BUT, the NJSC stuck it to cyclists by making precedent for cyclists to be shoved off the road, IN OPPOSITION TO THEIR OWN STATE LAW.
    how do you get that ? there's no mandatory shoulder law, and the opinion of the nj supreme court states in black and white bikes should be using the road, not the shoulders...
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    ^^
    The NJ Supreme Court disagrees with you, read the court ruling.

    And with this ruling, under case law bicycles are not vehicles in NJ.
    Incorrect.

    Bicycles were never vehicles in NJ. This is the case for many states. Including, amusingly, Hawaii!

    http://lis.njleg.state.nj.us/cgi-bin/om_isapi.dll?clientID=19142423&Depth=2&depth=2&expandheadings=on&headingswithhits=on&hitsperheading= on&infobase=statutes.nfo&record={E531**&softpage=Doc_Frame_PG42

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Law
    "Vehicle" means every device in, upon or by which a person or property is or may be transported upon a highway, excepting devices moved by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks or motorized bicycles.
    http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscur..._0286-0002.htm

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawaii Law
    "Vehicle" means every device in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, but excludes devices moved by human power or devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks and mopeds.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 03-13-12 at 09:04 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by from link
    By the Motor Vehicle Code’s plain terms, roadways generally are built and maintained for cars, trucks, and motorcycles -- not bicycles. Even the Pothole Primer -- relied on by plaintiff -- defines a pothole as a “pavement defect” that will “cause significant noticeable impact on vehicle tires and vehicle handling”
    It would be interesting to see the support for this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post

    Bicycles were never vehicles in NJ.
    So from I can gather is that bicycles in NJ are not consider vehicles but cyclists have the same rights as a driver of a vehicle.

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    I'm not really understanding how a bicycle can be a excepted from being a vehicle by definition, but then be 'exempted' back in to vehicle status in terms of rights and responsibilities. If you have all the rights and responsibilities, how does it make sense that a bike is not a vehicle in terms of the law?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
    So from I can gather is that bicycles in NJ are not vehicles but have the same rights as driver of vehicles.
    Close but not exactly.

    Bicyclists (while riding in the roadway) have the same right as drivers of vehicles. Many states have the same set up in their traffic laws.

    A bicycle, as an object, has no legal status.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 03-13-12 at 09:15 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    Incorrect.

    Bicycles were never vehicles in NJ. This is the case for many states. Including, amusingly, Hawaii!

    funny that a marginalized cyclist from hawaii would grouse about other states supreme court's ruling 'shoulders are not maintained for bike traffic, use the roads when biking'!
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sangesf View Post
    They are vehicles...
    No. Not in NJ.

    A bicycle (not being ridden on the roadway) is not a vehicle in the NJ traffic law.

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ law presumably
    16. a. 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 chapter four of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes and all supplements thereto except as to those provisions thereof which by their nature can have no application.
    This law says that a person riding a bicycle (a bicyclist) is legally equivalent to driver in a vehicle.

    There are two basic ways the state bicycle laws are written: 1) bicyclist as driver and 2) bicycle as vehicle.

    One reason a state might choose the first is if its traffic laws refer to requirements that don't apply to bicycles as applying to "vehicles". States that use the second likely refer to requirements of motor vehicles (which excludes bicycles). That is, basically, which flavor is used likely relates to what requires not modifying other laws.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 03-13-12 at 09:17 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Commodus View Post
    I'm not really understanding how a bicycle can be a excepted from being a vehicle by definition, but then be 'exempted' back in to vehicle status in terms of rights and responsibilities. If you have all the rights and responsibilities, how does it make sense that a bike is not a vehicle in terms of the law?
    bikes are exempt from much equipment, registration and insurance regulations relevant to other vehicles.

    Its much easier and cleaner, statutorily, to define bikes as not vehicles than change every single statute in vehicle code written to regulate vehicles to not include bikes...

    I think you need to look into British Columbia law a little bit closer, commodus.... not only are bikes prohibited from operating two abreast, but bicyclists are also regulated like Hawaii and New Jersey, with the rights and duties of drivers of vehicles, but clearly not vehicles under BC traffic code.

    Last edited by Bekologist; 03-13-12 at 09:18 AM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Commodus View Post
    I'm not really understanding how a bicycle can be a excepted from being a vehicle by definition, but then be 'exempted' back in to vehicle status in terms of rights and responsibilities. If you have all the rights and responsibilities, how does it make sense that a bike is not a vehicle in terms of the law?
    The distinction allows bicycles and vehicles to have different legal requirements (like being registered or having insurance) as objects separated from their actual use (under the control of operators).

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