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Old 05-10-07, 11:25 PM   #1
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Is it legal to ride on a bike lane stripe?

Is it legal to ride on, or near, a bike lane stripe?

Here are some relevant CA laws, but I suspect other states have similar laws:

Laned Roadways

21658. Whenever any roadway has been divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic in one direction, the following rules apply:

(a) A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practical entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from the lane until such movement can be made with reasonable safety.
...

http://dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21658.htm

Also:

Permitted Movements from Bicycle Lanes

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, ...

http://dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21208.htm

So, it seems to me that if you're riding close enough to the stripe to be encroaching on the adjacent lane, and you're not in the process of changing lanes, that you're technically in violation of 21658(a) and/or 21208.

RELEVANCE
Okay, I'm not trying to suggest that bicyclists need to worry about getting ticketed for riding on or near a bike lane stripe. But it does seem to me that there could be a legal liability issue if a cyclist is sideswiped and the motorist could show that the cyclist was encroaching on the traffic lane. No?

I see this as a fairly important issue because it makes the two feet wide section of roadway - one foot to each side of the center of the bike lane stripe - technically illegal for a 2' wide cyclist to ride on with his tires, unless he's in the process of changing lanes for some legitimate reason. And that's a problem because typically the bike lane debris gets much worse the further you ride to the right of the stripe.
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Old 05-10-07, 11:39 PM   #2
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You think way too much about the silliest crap, and this is silly.
Does California not have a 3 feet passing law? Would that law not trump this one in the case of "overtaking motorist side swiped cyclist while cyclist was riding in bike lane"?
Of course there is a spin on this isn't there?
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Old 05-11-07, 03:54 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Helmet Head
And that's a problem because typically the bike lane debris gets much worse the further you ride to the right of the stripe.
Wouldn't that call up the "practical" and "practicable" phrases in bike laws?
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Old 05-11-07, 06:52 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Is it legal to ride on, or near, a bike lane stripe?
Before answering this question, inquiring minds need to know how many angels can dance on a bike lane stripe? What are the relevant CA laws?

When this pressing legal question is settled then we can all move on to worrying along with HH about his legal conundrum.
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Old 05-11-07, 08:32 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainCool
Wouldn't that call up the "practical" and "practicable" phrases in bike laws?
In many states, including CA, the "shall ride as far right as practicable" law only applies on roads without bike lanes.

On roads with bike lanes, what kicks in is "shall ride within the bike lane".
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Old 05-11-07, 08:48 AM   #6
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The real question is, how are these statutes enforced? Are there any instances of a bicyclist getting into a sideswipe accident with a car and catching the blame for riding "outside" the bike lane, even if the tires of the bicycles were inside?

My opinion is that this legal interpretation is all somewhat contrived. Unless some legal research is presented here, this is all speculation, and pretty much groundless as well. The interesting result is that if it is found that overhanging the bike lane line is not allowed, then it reinforces the interpretation that bike lanes are another traffic lane in the eyes of the law. This interpretation can then be used to sue for wider and more standardized bike lanes since these lanes are now part of the traveled way of the road. If a bicyclist is required to be fully within the lane, then a very good argument can be made that this lane then needs to meet standards for full useage, which means that there can be no more substandard width lanes anywhere, by law. Or that substandard bike lanes cannot be designated as bike lanes anymore.

The only time I find myself consistently overhanging a lane line is when the bike lane is less than 5' wide or has very bad pavement along it's length. I actually wouldn't mind for a court to interpret the law this way. It formalizes the bike lane, reinforces that it is a real travel lane, and forces that lane to be up to fair standards for bicycle travel. A city would be vulnerable to lawsuits from cyclists who make the case that a defined bike lane doesn't meet standards for bicycling and puts a valid road user in danger.

Interesting.

However, without HH doing some legal legwork for us, this thread is pure speculation.
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Old 05-11-07, 08:55 AM   #7
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The legality of it will not change my decision about riding on it or not. Or in or out of a bike lane etc.
Not even a little. Would it really matter to anyone? It's our safety we care about?

The rain however will. Painted lines can be slippery in the rain.


Quote:
Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
inquiring minds need to know how many angels can dance on a bike lane stripe?
Why are they so happy they want to dance?
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Old 05-11-07, 09:17 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by 2manybikes
Why are they so happy they want to dance?
Because they "Got the Feeling"! Unh!

Or maybe it's a more sedate California VCer "Notion."
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Old 05-11-07, 09:47 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
Because they "Got the Feeling"! Unh!

Or maybe it's a more sedate California VCer "Notion."

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Old 05-11-07, 09:50 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
The real question is, how are these statutes enforced? Are there any instances of a bicyclist getting into a sideswipe accident with a car and catching the blame for riding "outside" the bike lane, even if the tires of the bicycles were inside?

My opinion is that this legal interpretation is all somewhat contrived. Unless some legal research is presented here, this is all speculation, and pretty much groundless as well. The interesting result is that if it is found that overhanging the bike lane line is not allowed, then it reinforces the interpretation that bike lanes are another traffic lane in the eyes of the law. This interpretation can then be used to sue for wider and more standardized bike lanes since these lanes are now part of the traveled way of the road. If a bicyclist is required to be fully within the lane, then a very good argument can be made that this lane then needs to meet standards for full useage, which means that there can be no more substandard width lanes anywhere, by law. Or that substandard bike lanes cannot be designated as bike lanes anymore.

The only time I find myself consistently overhanging a lane line is when the bike lane is less than 5' wide or has very bad pavement along it's length. I actually wouldn't mind for a court to interpret the law this way. It formalizes the bike lane, reinforces that it is a real travel lane, and forces that lane to be up to fair standards for bicycle travel. A city would be vulnerable to lawsuits from cyclists who make the case that a defined bike lane doesn't meet standards for bicycling and puts a valid road user in danger.

Interesting.

However, without HH doing some legal legwork for us, this thread is pure speculation.
Dude, the OP poses a QUESTION. That's all. Everybody else gets to ask questions. Why can't I?
Your post - that's pure speculation. It's certainly not an answer.
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Old 05-11-07, 09:50 AM   #11
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Hey HH can you post a laymans definition of " practicable"
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Old 05-11-07, 09:58 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maddyfish
Hey HH can you post a laymans definition of "practicable"
The difference between practical and practicable is that practical refers to be able to do something once, while practicable means it's practical to do it that way repeatedly.

Example: While it may be practical to ride in a door zone in some instance, it's arguably not practicable to ride in door zones because sooner or later someone is likely to open a door right in front of you and cause you to crash.
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Old 05-11-07, 10:01 AM   #13
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Is it legal to ride on a bike lane stripe?
It's legal, but have you considered the moral question?
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Old 05-11-07, 10:05 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pj7
You think way too much about the silliest crap, and this is silly.
Does California not have a 3 feet passing law? Would that law not trump this one in the case of "overtaking motorist side swiped cyclist while cyclist was riding in bike lane"?
Of course there is a spin on this isn't there?
CA does not have a 3 foot passing law. And if I'm not mistaken, at least some of them do not apply on roads with bike lanes.

Edit: I wasn't dreaming. See post #18 (thanks Al).

C. Subsection B of this section does not apply to a bicyclist who is injured in a vehicular traffic lane when a designated bicycle lane or path is present and passable."

Last edited by Helmet Head; 05-11-07 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 05-11-07, 10:08 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Dude, the OP poses a QUESTION. That's all. Everybody else gets to ask questions. Why can't I?
Your post - that's pure speculation. It's certainly not an answer.
Of course you can pose a question. Just realize that all the responses, including mine, are pure speculation. My post is as good an answer as any you'll get here - and, of course, speculative. I suggest if you want a real answer, you sift through some actual legal precident from actual court cases, preferably with your local bicycle lawyer.

I'm not attacking you. Just pointing out that all you'll get here is speculation. No more, no less.
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Old 05-11-07, 10:10 AM   #16
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practicable

practical

Something is practicable if it is feasible as well as useable. Something is practical if it is useable; the word doesn't speak to feasibility. Riding in a bike lane might be a practical way of riding, but it might not be a practicable action if the bike lane is covered in rocks or scary gobblins.
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Old 05-11-07, 10:24 AM   #17
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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.
Quote:
21750. The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle or a bicycle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left at a safe distance without interfering with the safe operation of the overtaken vehicle or bicycle, subject to the limitations and exceptions hereinafter stated.
Quote:
21750. The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle or a bicycle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left at a safe distance without interfering with the safe operation of the overtaken vehicle or bicycle, subject to the limitations and exceptions hereinafter stated.
The limitations and exceptions stated afterwards are not limitations to the safe passing law, but rather limitations and exceptions to when the driver can pass.
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Old 05-11-07, 10:52 AM   #18
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I think this question/concern is particulary relevant in AZ.

The AZ 3ft passing law has civil pentalties if the cyclist is hit and severely injured or killed. However, if a bike lane or path is present and passable, these civil penalties do not apply if the cyclist is injured in 'vehicular lane.' Sec. C only says Sec. B does not apply, but the given exception in my opinion does weaken Sec. A - after all the law is saying that killing a cyclist outside a bike lane has a lesser penalty, this can be read that hitting one, passing closer than 3ft when cyclist is outside BL is less the motorists fault.

"28-735. Overtaking bicycles; civil penalties
A. When overtaking and passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction, a person driving a motor vehicle shall exercise due care by leaving a safe distance between the motor vehicle and the bicycle of not less than three feet until the motor vehicle is safely past the overtaken bicycle.

B. If a person violates this section and the violation results in a collision causing:
1. Serious physical injury as defined in section 13-105 to another person, the violator is subject to a civil penalty of up to five hundred dollars.
2. Death to another person, the violator is subject to a civil penalty of up to one thousand dollars.

C. Subsection B of this section does not apply to a bicyclist who is injured in a vehicular traffic lane when a designated bicycle lane or path is present and passable."


(It is also another good reason not to have any bike lane stripes approaching any intersection where a cyclist will destination position)

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Old 05-11-07, 11:04 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisebeam
"28-735. Overtaking bicycles; civil penalties
A. When overtaking and passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction, a person driving a motor vehicle shall exercise due care by leaving a safe distance between the motor vehicle and the bicycle of not less than three feet until the motor vehicle is safely past the overtaken bicycle.

B. If a person violates this section and the violation results in a collision causing:
1. Serious physical injury as defined in section 13-105 to another person, the violator is subject to a civil penalty of up to five hundred dollars.
2. Death to another person, the violator is subject to a civil penalty of up to one thousand dollars.

C. Subsection B of this section does not apply to a bicyclist who is injured in a vehicular traffic lane when a designated bicycle lane or path is present and passable."
So if some yahoo from Williams is driving fully within his lane in his Ford F-250 with oversized-for-towing rear-view mirrors, fully within his lane, mirror edge to mirror edge, and he clips with his right side mirror a cyclist's left shoulder that is encroaching into the vehicular traffic lane because the cyclist's tire is only a couple of inches to the right of the stripe, the driver is not in violation of 28-735.

Anyone else read it any differently?
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Old 05-11-07, 11:23 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
So if some yahoo from Williams is driving fully within his lane in his Ford F-250 with oversized-for-towing rear-view mirrors, fully within his lane, mirror edge to mirror edge, and he clips with his right side mirror a cyclist's left shoulder that is encroaching into the vehicular traffic lane because the cyclist's tire is only a couple of inches to the right of the stripe, the driver is not in violation of 28-735.

Anyone else read it any differently?
How is it interpreted by the justice system in Arizona?
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Old 05-11-07, 11:32 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dewaday
It's legal, but have you considered the moral question?
Oh the Humanity!

Best available evidence, that I just made up, indicates that riding on a bike lane stripe is immoral because it leads to global warming. Sez so right here. You got better evidence? Prove it!

Until anyone provides better evidence that I agree with, get offa the stinkin' bike lane stripe, all you incompetent lowlifes.
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Old 05-11-07, 11:33 AM   #22
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Quote:
So if some yahoo from Williams is driving fully within his lane in his Ford F-250 with oversized-for-towing rear-view mirrors, fully within his lane, mirror edge to mirror edge, and he clips with his right side mirror a cyclist's left shoulder that is encroaching into the vehicular traffic lane because the cyclist's tire is only a couple of inches to the right of the stripe, the driver is not in violation of 28-735.
That's how I read it. The 3 foot rule makes the driver automatically liable for fines (and facilitates civil litigation), under set circumstances. When those circumstances are not present, it is null, but other laws still apply.
The driver would not be in violation of 28-735

However, the driver would likely be in violation of 28-723
Quote:
The following rules govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction:
1. The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left of the vehicle at a safe distance and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle.
2. Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, the driver of an overtaken vehicle shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle on audible signal or blinking of head lamps at nighttime and shall not increase the speed of the overtaken vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.
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Old 05-11-07, 11:45 AM   #23
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EDIT: Sorry for the confusion, I mean this post in re: to the OP, and California law, not Arizona law.

Also, two of the times when you are not required to use the bike lane are:

Quote:
(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.
If you are riding on the line because of a door zone, any place where a car could turn right, debris, a substandard width BL that requires you to keep farther left to give yourself "bail out" space, in short, if you have a reasonable VC reason for exiting the bike lane, then you can surely ride on the stripe.

The only thing that this does not allow for is exiting the bike lane "just because" (like on a long stretch of intersectionless road, with a wide clean BL, no parked cars, and no traffic), but it's really moot because it is nowhere required in the general guidelines of vehicular cycling, to the best of my knowledge.

Last edited by zeytoun; 05-11-07 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 05-11-07, 11:51 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
How is it interpreted by the justice system in Arizona?
This is all I know:
http://azbikelaw.org/articles/ThreeFoot.html

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Old 05-11-07, 11:57 AM   #25
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So where does the bike lane officially begin- the right edge or left edge of the paint stripe?

Wouldn't that answer the question?
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