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Old 03-21-08, 05:26 PM   #1
'nother
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Editorial: We've still got a long way to go

Sent to 'letters@mercurynews.com':

Recent publicity surrounding the deaths of cyclists Matt Peterson and Kristy Gough highlights bicycle safety issues, but more must be done.

Cyclists are granted rights to California roadways, specifically, "all the rights [...] applicable to the driver of a vehicle" (CVC 21200). Those familiar with the Code may point out CVC 21202, which appears to require bicycles to ride on the right edge. Frequently overlooked in the very same section are four vitally important exceptions granting cyclists the right to be somewhere other than the right edge at times, which may affect other vehicles on the road.

Please learn, understand, and respect cyclists' rights. It may require some patience, as well as using the brake pedal instead of the accelerator. But it could prevent a tragedy.



NOTE: it is very short and choppy because they require 125 words or less. I normally don't write this way!
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Old 03-21-08, 05:48 PM   #2
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There is some really good stuff we all should know in the CVC. Here is some of it;

21200. (a) Every person riding a bicycle upon a highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this division, including, but not limited to, provisions concerning driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs

21201. (a) No person shall operate a bicycle on a roadway unless it is equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make one braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement.

21202. (a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time 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 bicycle or 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, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge, subject to the provisions of Section 21656. For purposes of this section, a "substandard width lane" is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.
(4) When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.
(b) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway of a highway, which highway carries traffic in one direction only and has two or more marked traffic lanes, may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of that roadway as practicable.


21208. (a) Whenever a bicycle lane has been established on a roadway pursuant to Section 21207, any person operating a bicycle upon the roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride within the bicycle lane, except that the person may move out of the lane under any of the following situations:
(1) When overtaking and passing another bicycle, vehicle, or pedestrian within the lane or about to enter the lane if the overtaking and passing cannot be done safely within the lane.
(2) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
(3) When reasonably necessary to leave the bicycle lane to avoid debris or other hazardous conditions.
(4) When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.
(b) No person operating a bicycle shall leave a bicycle lane until the movement can be made with reasonable safety and then only after giving an appropriate signal in the manner provided in Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 22100) in the event that any vehicle may be affected by the movement.
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Old 03-21-08, 06:02 PM   #3
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I would also recommend: http://www.vcbike.org/bikelaw/bikelaw.htm , though I would exercise some caution if attempting to use this in an incident with the police (who, by the way, frequently do not always know or understand these particular sections of the vehicle code).

Incidentally, I felt compelled to write this after an extremely close call this afternoon. It has been quite some time that I've had any incident whatsoever but this was particularly frightening. I was traveling along at about 20-25 MPH, a driver from behind actually saw me but thought it would be okay to race ahead to execute his right turn — directly in front of me (complete with his mirror grazing my elbow). Had I not been able to apply my brakes and perform a quick evasive turn I would doubtless have ended up under his wheel.
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Old 03-21-08, 09:03 PM   #4
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You might get pissed off at me for saying this, but lately I've seen entirely too many cyclists running red lights and blowing through stop signs - through busy intersections no less !!! - and riding in big groups taking up the entire lane plus a good chunk of the opposite lane.

How on earth can we expect motorists to respect our rights on the road when there are so many dumbass cyclists out there who cannot be bothered to follow basic rules of the road in the first place?

Sorry for venting, but I saw two particularly egregious instances today of exceedingly moronic behavior by cyclists. I seriously wanted to pull over and slap them upside the head. Dip****s like that ruin it for the rest of us.

Yes, I agree, we still have a long way to go. Step one is to somehow impress upon those cyclists that they too are bound by the rules of the road as much as motor vehicles.

Last edited by jobob; 03-21-08 at 09:09 PM.
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Old 03-21-08, 09:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 'nother View Post
... execute his right turn — directly in front of me (complete with his mirror grazing my elbow). Had I not been able to apply my brakes and perform a quick evasive turn I would doubtless have ended up under his wheel.
I hope you got his license number and filed a report with CHP.

- SteveE

Last edited by SteveE; 03-21-08 at 10:20 PM.
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Old 03-21-08, 09:16 PM   #6
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This is one poorly written law:
Quote:
21201. (a) No person shall operate a bicycle on a roadway unless it is equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make one braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement.
Basically from practical perspective if you ride with only a front brake you are in violation of it. Since front wheels don't "skid", you go over handle bars. So basically the law says you must have rear brake, but all cyclists know (or should know) that most braking power comes from the front wheel.
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Old 03-21-08, 11:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jobob View Post
Sorry for venting, but I saw two particularly egregious instances today of exceedingly moronic behavior by cyclists. I seriously wanted to pull over and slap them upside the head. Dip****s like that ruin it for the rest of us.

Yes, I agree, we still have a long way to go. Step one is to somehow impress upon those cyclists that they too are bound by the rules of the road as much as motor vehicles.
I don't think anyone disagrees with this, but they are 2 separate issues, and one does not depend upon the other. That is to say, it is not necessary to wait for every cyclist to obey 100% of the laws 100% of the time, for drivers to learn and respect our rights. Many drivers do not even realize that we have a right to the road, which encourages behaviors that are dangerous to cyclists.
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Old 03-22-08, 12:01 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jobob View Post
You might get pissed off at me for saying this, but lately I've seen entirely too many cyclists running red lights and blowing through stop signs - through busy intersections no less !!! - and riding in big groups taking up the entire lane plus a good chunk of the opposite lane.

How on earth can we expect motorists to respect our rights on the road when there are so many dumbass cyclists out there who cannot be bothered to follow basic rules of the road in the first place?

Sorry for venting, but I saw two particularly egregious instances today of exceedingly moronic behavior by cyclists. I seriously wanted to pull over and slap them upside the head. Dip****s like that ruin it for the rest of us.

Yes, I agree, we still have a long way to go. Step one is to somehow impress upon those cyclists that they too are bound by the rules of the road as much as motor vehicles.

Yes... The old 2 wrongs and 1 right rule.

Concern yourself with those things you are responsible for. If we all do this, guess what happens ?
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Old 03-22-08, 12:07 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jobob View Post
You might get pissed off at me for saying this, but lately I've seen entirely too many cyclists running red lights and blowing through stop signs - through busy intersections no less !!! - and riding in big groups taking up the entire lane plus a good chunk of the opposite lane.

How on earth can we expect motorists to respect our rights on the road when there are so many dumbass cyclists out there who cannot be bothered to follow basic rules of the road in the first place?

Sorry for venting, but I saw two particularly egregious instances today of exceedingly moronic behavior by cyclists. I seriously wanted to pull over and slap them upside the head. Dip****s like that ruin it for the rest of us.

Yes, I agree, we still have a long way to go. Step one is to somehow impress upon those cyclists that they too are bound by the rules of the road as much as motor vehicles.
I agree that cyclists should obey traffic regulations, and I'm not trying to make any excuses. However, mistakes made by motorized vehicles can potentially end up with dead cyclists, but mistakes made by cyclists rarely end up with dead motorists. From bike-commuting myself, I don't believe most motorists understand that since they typically insist that a few seconds saved from cutting me off is worth potentially maiming me permanently.
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Old 03-23-08, 10:47 AM   #10
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Well, they printed it! With a few edits, but still substantially the same.

I don't know if anyone reads those anymore, but it's better than keeping quiet
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