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:
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.
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, ...
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.
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.