It seems that the following are true:
Originally Posted by Paul L.
- WOLs are not vehicular.
- Lane-sharing on a laned roadway is not vehicular.
- "Same Road Same Rules" does not apply to bicyclists in a WOL.
WOLs result in very different treatment for bicyclists than for drivers of other vehicles. According to the vehicular cycling princple, "Cyclists fare best...," cyclists don't fare best if there's a WOL.
There are specific laws prohibiting lane-sharing. It is not permitted by the vehicular rules of the road (unless covered by special exceptions to the general rule). In all states with the sole exception of California, motorcyclists are prohibited from sharing a lane with any other vehicle except another motorcycle.
Bicyclists, on the other hand, are required to share a WOL in many states. Mandatory lane-sharing laws appear to apply only to bicyclists and not to drivers of any other kind of vehicle. Some states have laws that specifically grant motorcyclists full use of the lane but don't grant the same right to bicyclists.
Example of a mandatory lane-sharing law / California
21202. California Vehicle Code
(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:
(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.
A bicyclist is prohibited from taking the lane in WOL in many cases in states with laws like this, since a WOL is not substandard width. Apparently, a fair number of states have mandatory lane-sharing laws (for bicyclists only), although I've only checked a few states so far. Such a law is in the UVC. Of the states I checked, only North Carolina appeared not to have such a law.
Example of a law prohibiting lane-sharing (for motorcycles) 2005 OREGON VEHICLE CODE
814.240 Motorcycle or moped unlawful passing; penalty. (1) A motorcycle operator or moped operator commits the offense of motorcycle or moped unlawful passing in a lane with a vehicle if the operator does any of the following:
(a) Overtakes and passes in the same lane occupied by the vehicle the operator is overtaking, unless the vehicle being passed is a motorcycle or a moped...Note that the law says nothing about the width of the lane. Lane-sharing between a motorcycist and another vehicle (not a motorcycle) is ILLEGAL, regardless of the width of the lane.
According to the following article, every state except California has a law prohibiting lane-sharing (except of course, for bicycles, which are required to share lanes in many cases).
Lane Splitting – Is it Legal, Is it Safe? (7/1/2005). Quote: "From what I can tell, the only state in the US that allows lane splitting is California. Why is it legal in California you may ask? Because it’s not illegal! Texas seems to be tinkering with the idea and Washington had a bill that would make lane splitting legal in their state, however it got held up in legislature..."
Lane-sharing on a laned roadway is not vehicular.
WOLs threaten bicyclists' right to take the lane.