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  1. #1
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    the statutory duty of cyclists to share two lane roads

    There is ample basis for a common understanding that SMV FRAP laws governing all vehicles are to facilitate overtaking by faster traffic. Long held as a road sharing standard that far predates statutory traffic codes, a duty to share the road by turning to operate to the right, as far to the right as practicable to the edge of the road, safely, has long been part and parcel of the social contract of public road use.

    There seems to be a mistaken perception among some bicycle drivers that under SMV laws a duty to facilitate overtaking would be obviated anytime they ride on a laned road, and that a cyclists' duty to facilitate overtaking would no longer a requirement on two laned roads.

    that is a curious interpretation of traffic laws that clearly are written and have been shown to clearly require facilitating overtaking. Suggestions a duty to facilitate overtaking is no longer a requirement on any laned roadway is simply not supportable.

    Indeed, it is on two lane roads that sharing the road and facilitating passing is at its most crucial, and form the basis of SMV-FRAP laws.

    There is also an position advanced by some bicycle drivers that statutes that use the wording 'right hand lane available for traffic' refers to a two lane road. This position is incorrect. Vehicles on two laned roadways are generally prohibited from operating to the left of the middle of the road. Arguing that 'right hand lane' would indicate the opposing lane is the left hand lane available for traffic is erroneous and unsupportable in standards of statutory construction.

    a law that in its wording has 'right hand lane available for traffic' most clearly does NOT indicate that a two lane road has a left hand and a right hand lane for traffic to travel side by side in the same direction.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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    While I agree that 'right hand lane available for traffic' clearly does not refer to a two lane road, I disagree with your statement that vehicles are generally prohibited from operating to the left of center on two lane roads. I agree that vehicles are often prohibited from crossing to the left of center, but using the word "generally" implies that such a condition exists on the majority of two-lane mileage, and that is not my experience.

    I am concerned that your strident tone here suggests that you consider a vehicle that is overtaking another to have the right of way. It seems as though you may even suggest that the slower vehicle must clear the way rather than that the faster vehicle must look for a safe place to pass. Hopefully I'm just reading in something that was not intended to be conveyed.

  3. #3
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    The other thread gets closed and ten minutes later, you are still at it with a new thread.
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    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    I am concerned that your strident tone here suggests that you consider a vehicle that is overtaking another to have the right of way. It seems as though you may even suggest that the slower vehicle must clear the way rather than that the faster vehicle must look for a safe place to pass. Hopefully I'm just reading in something that was not intended to be conveyed.
    And imagine when police and judges start reading it the same way.
    Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.

  5. #5
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    different topic, CBHI. that was about california bike advocacy gone sour, this is a related thread on how to share the road safely and the fundamental duties of cyclists that thread may have touched on.


    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    While I agree that 'right hand lane available for traffic' clearly does not refer to a two lane road, I disagree with your statement that vehicles are generally prohibited from operating to the left of center on two lane roads. I agree that vehicles are often prohibited from crossing to the left of center, but using the word "generally" implies that such a condition exists on the majority of two-lane mileage, and that is not my experience.

    I am concerned that your strident tone here suggests that you consider a vehicle that is overtaking another to have the right of way. It seems as though you may even suggest that the slower vehicle must clear the way rather than that the faster vehicle must look for a safe place to pass. Hopefully I'm just reading in something that was not intended to be conveyed.
    I may have sounded strident, but it's only because just as the discussion started into the fundaments of the laws being interpreted badly in California, it got closed down because the thread had generated interest from people that had a difference of opinion. Wierd. Anyhoo,

    Traffic laws in all states restrict operation of vehicles to the right of the center line except in making turns or passing so a statement that it is generally prohibited is correct.

    The vehicle ahead always has the right of way. however, sharing the road by operating safely to the right does not impinge on the right of way of the vehicle being passed. Operating as far to the right as practicable is not onerous.

    It is a long standing duty of all vehicles to share the road by operating safely to the right to share the road with faster traffic wishing to overtake.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 06-03-11 at 01:03 AM.
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    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Yet your OP sounds so close to the last post of yours in the other thread.

    why, in the world, do some cyclists believe they have no common or statutory duty to share a two lane road if safe to do so?

    operating as far to the right as practicable when a slowly driven vehicle is being passed on two lane roadways is when operating FRAP is most important - steve and the rest of these bicycle drivers will be unable to find a capable judge in the land who would agree with their far-flung assertions 'SMV-FRAP' laws remove cyclists duties to share two lane roadways.

    wow. the deceit being foisted about cyclists somehow being abrogated of the duty to share a two lane highway when safe by operating as far to the right as practicable.

    Amazing these 'bicycle drivers' can even believe themselves with such far-flung and unsupportable opinions on the rules of the road.

    Believing slowly driven vehicles don't have to share two lane highways by operating FRAP, because there is a center line on the road.

    wild and wacky stuff...
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  7. #7
    Bicikli Huszár sudo bike's Avatar
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    Just so we're clear about context and have the laws discussed on-hand, the original thread was discussing why repealing CA VC 21202, which is as follows:

    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.
    Amended Sec. 4, Ch. 674, Stats. 1996. Effective January 1, 1997.
    might be a good idea, since it would be replaced by the standard SMV law, which is as follows:

    21654. (a) Notwithstanding the prima facie speed limits, any vehicle proceeding upon a highway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at such time shall be driven in the right-hand lane for traffic or as close as practicable to the right-hand edge or curb, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

    (b) If a vehicle is being driven at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at such time, and is not being driven in the right-hand lane for traffic or as close as practicable to the right-hand edge or curb, it shall constitute prima facie evidence that the driver is operating the vehicle in violation of subdivision (a) of this section.

    (c) The Department of Transportation, with respect to state highways, and local authorities, with respect to highways under their jurisdiction, may place and maintain upon highways official signs directing slow-moving traffic to use the right-hand traffic lane except when overtaking and passing another vehicle or preparing for a left turn.
    Amended Ch. 545, Stats. 1974. Effective January 1, 1975.
    Personally, while I disagree with Bek's interpretation of the 21654, and I think that in theory it would be sufficient, what really makes 21202 important is that it specifies some common situations where taking the lane is necessary. While one could say it doesn't need to be specified, it's helpful to cyclists to have it spelled out, and it does so without limiting the situations which you can take the lane to just the ones listed. I think it's far easier to convince a cop/judge of the right to take a lane when it's not fit to share when the law spells that out as a reason, as opposed to being under the blanket opt-out of "when reasonable to avoid conditions".
    "The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind. I love the bicycle. I always have. I can think of no sincere, decent human being, male or female, young or old, saint or sinner, who can resist the bicycle."

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  8. #8
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sudo bike View Post
    Just so we're clear about context and have the laws discussed on-hand, the original thread was discussing why repealing CA VC 21202, which is as follows:



    might be a good idea, since it would be replaced by the standard SMV law, which is as follows:



    Personally, while I disagree with Bek's interpretation of the 21654, and I think that in theory it would be sufficient, what really makes 21202 important is that it specifies some common situations where taking the lane is necessary. While one could say it doesn't need to be specified, it's helpful to cyclists to have it spelled out, and it does so without limiting the situations which you can take the lane to just the ones listed. I think it's far easier to convince a cop/judge of the right to take a lane when it's not fit to share when the law spells that out as a reason, as opposed to being under the blanket opt-out of "when reasonable to avoid conditions".
    I tend to agree. 21202 offers both conditions and guidance, and while it can be misinterpreted, so too can 21654, and those with a bias against cyclists will interpret either law in a way to enforce that bias, regardless of the intent of the law itself.

  9. #9
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    Yet your OP sounds so close to the last post of yours in the other thread.
    yes, that's because in a discussion about an astroturf cycling organization in california, the topic of why they should be avoided is they want to constrain cyclists to a much more restrictive law, and there was some confusion in the other thread.

    some people have the completely far-fetched idea slow moving vehicles do not have to operate FRAP on two lane roads.

    Misleading about state laws and the common laws governing road use, and making claims cyclists have no statutory duty to share a two lane road under SMV-FRAP laws.

    THAT belief, CBHI, that cyclists or other slowly driven vehicles have no duty to share a two lane road is what THIS thread is about.

    funny how topics about bicycling and advocacy are sometimes related, eh?
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  10. #10
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sudo bike View Post



    Personally, while I disagree with Bek's interpretation of the 21654, and I think that in theory it would be sufficient, what really makes 21202 important is that it specifies some common situations where taking the lane is necessary. While one could say it doesn't need to be specified, it's helpful to cyclists to have it spelled out, and it does so without limiting the situations which you can take the lane to just the ones listed. I think it's far easier to convince a cop/judge of the right to take a lane when it's not fit to share when the law spells that out as a reason, as opposed to being under the blanket opt-out of "when reasonable to avoid conditions".
    let me illustrate a clause out of the SMV law that may change your mind, sudo.

    Quote Originally Posted by cvc 21654
    If a vehicle is being driven at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at such time, and is not being driven in the right-hand lane for traffic or as close as practicable to the right-hand edge or curb, it shall constitute prima facie evidence that the driver is operating the vehicle in violation
    this is a far, far worse of a scenario for cyclists to be in.

    Onerous to cyclists, therefore California addressed and for which redress was developed into CVC 21202.

    fighting to remove a law giving cyclists explict and far ranging rights to take the lane, to be replaced by a law stating that operating away from the right is evidence an infraction occurred is a very negative and constraining course for California cyclists.

    the same would be the case in Hawaii, absent the prima facie evidence of a violation.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  11. #11
    Randomhead
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    replacing cycling specific FRAP with SMV FRAP doesn't seem to offer much protection from police and motorist harassment. I'm not sure how to fix this, because many cops are not capable of differentiating between practicable and possible.

  12. #12
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    One way this can be addressed is advocacy and talking about these issues.

    getting other cyclists and the public clear on the actual duties and rights of cyclists is one way to address this issue, unterhausen.

    Here's a tactic that could be instituted in every state in the country.


    full use of lane.jpg




    this new MUTCD sign is soon to be allowable in most states (jan 15,2012)

    I launched a campaign at a recent spring statewide advocacy planning session to implement these signs in every county in the state, on identified and select routes it may significantly affect cyclist level of service on.

    with a few full use of lane.jpg scattered thru out the state, motorists and police would slowly grok the message 'bikes may use full lane', under the existing bikes ride frap laws in all states.

    that's one of my ideas, something i have done and something i recommend interested parties institute as well. start a campaign at the state bicycling advocacy level to get full use of lane.jpg signs in every county in a state.

    police training (so long as it does not mislead!!!!!) would be another valuable program.


    Bikes may use full lane and bikes ride FRAP do not contradict one another.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 06-03-11 at 08:41 AM.
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  13. #13
    Bicikli Huszár sudo bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    let me illustrate a clause out of the SMV law that may change your mind, sudo.
    What do you mean 'change my mind'? I just agreed 21202 offers more protection than 21654, if nothing else then at least in practical application.
    "The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind. I love the bicycle. I always have. I can think of no sincere, decent human being, male or female, young or old, saint or sinner, who can resist the bicycle."

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  14. #14
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    i was, specifically, making mention of CVC 21654, of which you said would be sufficient to protect cyclists rights. the b) clause in that law indicates that it would make it much more difficult to defend a cyclists right to the lane, and one that makes the california SMV-FRAP quite onerous.

    Hence, the specific cyclist redress under bikes ride FRAP laws in California, and other states, like Hawaii. Hawaii and California, like most states, provide far more specific enumerated rights for bicyclists to choose a safe road position.

    NO advocacy organization or cycling advocate concerned about bicyclists right to the road should be opposing bikes FRAP laws.
    They are the very laws giving cyclists broad protections to take the lane for safety and other reasons unique to our class of slowly driven, vulnerable, delicate, human powered vehicles.

    There are certainly improvements that can be made in the laws affecting cyclists. removing our protections under law is not one of them!
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    I tend to agree. 21202 offers both conditions and guidance, and while it can be misinterpreted, so too can 21654, and those with a bias against cyclists will interpret either law in a way to enforce that bias, regardless of the intent of the law itself.
    Genec argues that the American "bias against cyclists will interpret [any] law in a way to enforce that bias." For forty years I have held that this anti-cyclist bias is the source of both the legal and the social troubles for American cyclists. Genec is correct about that cause. But I disagree that this bias is all-powerful in legal affairs. In legal affairs, the as cyclist far right as practicable (FRAP) laws provide the legal cover allowing this bias to be enforced. After all, that law says FRAP is generally required, is the normal state of affairs, to be released only for particular conditions. The slow-moving vehicle (SMV) law requires vehicles moving slowly to use the right-hand lane available for traffic or be as close as practicable to the right-hand edge. That is, as long as the cyclist obeys either one of these requirements he is acting lawfully and even biased police cannot touch him about that.

    The American bias I have long termed the cyclist-inferiority, motorist-superiority superstition. I hold that this is bad for cyclists, with society telling cyclists that they are trespassers on the roadway and should not operate as legitimate drivers of vehicles. However, we have a school who call themselves bicycle advocates who reinforce this cyclist-inferiority superstition by advocating bikeways and cycling in the subservient manner, both of which inform motorists of their superior status. They argue that this anti-cyclist position is necessary to attract into bicycle transportation the population that believes the superstition. They may also fear that the motoring majority will more strongly oppose cycling, such as by cutting off the funds for bikeways, if it sees cycling being advocated with cyclists equal to motorists, and with cyclists it sees as behaving in an uppity manner.

    We have seen the surface details of this advocacy being loudly argued while carefully concealing the motivation for these arguments. And the details have been refuted time and again. Need we continue with such a pointless discussion?

  16. #16
    Bicikli Huszár sudo bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    i was, specifically, making mention of CVC 21654, of which you said would be sufficient to protect cyclists rights. the b) clause in that law indicates that it would make it much more difficult to defend a cyclists right to the lane, and one that makes the california SMV-FRAP quite onerous.
    I agree. Remember, I said 21654 would be sufficient in theory. That is, were it interpreted and applied correctly. As I said, I disagree with your interpretation of the all-important "or" and "right-hand lane", but that's precisely what I think 21654's weakness is - it's too easy to interpret it differently than the law's intention. My fear is that it's just too vague to effectively protect cyclists.

    I'm also not sure what the stink is about repealing 21202 - I mean, it's in essence the same law as 21654, just spelled out better so there is less room for funny interpretations. I suppose clarifying 21654 would be sufficient... but we already have 21202, and it offers a solid protection of cycling rights, IMO (the only thing I wish it also spelled out was riding single file vs riding abreast).
    Last edited by sudo bike; 06-04-11 at 03:19 AM.
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  17. #17
    Bicikli Huszár sudo bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester View Post
    Genec argues that the American "bias against cyclists will interpret [any] law in a way to enforce that bias." For forty years I have held that this anti-cyclist bias is the source of both the legal and the social troubles for American cyclists. Genec is correct about that cause. But I disagree that this bias is all-powerful in legal affairs. In legal affairs, the as cyclist far right as practicable (FRAP) laws provide the legal cover allowing this bias to be enforced. After all, that law says FRAP is generally required, is the normal state of affairs, to be released only for particular conditions. The slow-moving vehicle (SMV) law requires vehicles moving slowly to use the right-hand lane available for traffic or be as close as practicable to the right-hand edge. That is, as long as the cyclist obeys either one of these requirements he is acting lawfully and even biased police cannot touch him about that.
    I must disagree. We've already seen cases that should have been clear-cut in favor of a cyclist be interpreted incorrectly (or simply ignored) to cyclists' detriment, and that's with a law that very plainly spells out situations where taking the lane is OK. Why would we expect better interpretation of a more vague SMV law? I agree it should offer adequate protection in theory, but I don't believe this would be the case in practice, and I point to common misinterpretation of a much more plain law as my reasoning.

    The American bias I have long termed the cyclist-inferiority, motorist-superiority superstition. I hold that this is bad for cyclists, with society telling cyclists that they are trespassers on the roadway and should not operate as legitimate drivers of vehicles. However, we have a school who call themselves bicycle advocates who reinforce this cyclist-inferiority superstition by advocating bikeways and cycling in the subservient manner, both of which inform motorists of their superior status. They argue that this anti-cyclist position is necessary to attract into bicycle transportation the population that believes the superstition. They may also fear that the motoring majority will more strongly oppose cycling, such as by cutting off the funds for bikeways, if it sees cycling being advocated with cyclists equal to motorists, and with cyclists it sees as behaving in an uppity manner.
    While a "cyclist inferiority complex" may or may not be the reason for pushing for bike lanes, surely you don't think that that's a requirement for those pushing bike lanes? Do car-poolers suffer from a similar complex if they push car-pool lanes? Having a bike lane isn't a necessity, merely a convenience...
    "The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind. I love the bicycle. I always have. I can think of no sincere, decent human being, male or female, young or old, saint or sinner, who can resist the bicycle."

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  18. #18
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Removing the BIKES-FRAP provision wouldn't remove the duty of bikes to ride as far to the right as practicable to share the road. SMV-FRAP laws would apply.

    Siren cries of 'discrimination' and 'inferiority' aside, it is easy to ascertain that the bike specific laws governing FRAP generally provide far more exceptions for cyclists safety to take a full lane than the general SMV-FRAP laws.

    Cyclists have a duty to operate safely right on two lane roads to share the road with faster traffic wishing to overtake. Unequivocally.

    ANY bicycling advocacy that predicate their road rights on a belief SMV-FRAP laws will allow cyclists to take an entire lane of traffic anytime there are lane lines on the road must be steered well clear of; this mistaken assumption about cyclists rights under SMV regulations is woefully, sorrily inadequate.


    Removing cyclist protections under law would remove not improve the public relations arena for bicyclists, and revoking cyclist specific duties to operate safely right to share the road would not remove a cyclists duties to do so.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 06-04-11 at 07:54 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sudo bike View Post
    I agree. Remember, I said 21654 would be sufficient in theory. That is, were it interpreted and applied correctly. As I said, I disagree with your interpretation of the all-important "or" and "right-hand lane", but that's precisely what I think 21654's weakness is - it's too easy to interpret it differently than the law's intention. My fear is that it's just too vague to effectively protect cyclists.

    I'm also not sure what the stink is about repealing 21202 - I mean, it's in essence the same law as 21654, just spelled out better so there is less room for funny interpretations. I suppose clarifying 21654 would be sufficient... but we already have 21202, and it offers a solid protection of cycling rights, IMO (the only thing I wish it also spelled out was riding single file vs riding abreast).
    I fail to see the feared vagueness in the slow vehicle law as compared to the bicycle law. The bicycle law (21202 in Calif) is predicated on the general principle that cyclists should ride as close as practicable to the right-hand edge. That's its general principle, with freedom to escape that principle only under specific conditions. And it was obviously written by motorists, both in the first instance and in the modern version, with the intent of restricting cyclists for the convenience of motorists.

    The slow vehicle law has none of those complications. The slow vehicle law (21654 in Calif) requires the slow driver (be he motorist or cyclist) to use either the right-hand lane or be as close as practicable to the right-hand edge. That's what it says, and that's what it allows. If there is a right-hand lane then the slow driver has the lawful choice between those two positions. The police do not have the legal power to force a driver to take one instead of the other when the law gives that choice to the driver. So what more do cyclists need? Any reasonable cause for moving into the next lane to the left has already been accepted in the slow vehicle law, so cyclists would not be more limited in this respect than would other drivers of vehicles.

    When the matter is as simple as this, one has to suspect that the strenuous argumentation to preserve what the motorists have so long been intent on preserving, the principle that cyclists should ride as far right as practicable and on bikeways where present, has some motive beyond the welfare of cyclists.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    Removing the BIKES-FRAP provision wouldn't remove the duty of bikes to ride as far to the right as practicable to share the road. SMV-FRAP laws would apply.

    Siren cries of 'discrimination' and 'inferiority' aside, it is easy to ascertain that the bike specific laws governing FRAP generally provide far more exceptions for cyclists safety to take a full lane than the general SMV-FRAP laws.

    Cyclists have a duty to operate safely right on two lane roads to share the road with faster traffic wishing to overtake. Unequivocally.

    ANY bicycling advocacy that predicate their road rights on a belief SMV-FRAP laws will allow cyclists to take an entire lane of traffic anytime there are lane lines on the road must be steered well clear of; this mistaken assumption about cyclists rights under SMV regulations is woefully, sorrily inadequate.


    Removing cyclist protections under law would remove not improve the public relations arena for bicyclists, and revoking cyclist specific duties to operate safely right to share the road would not remove a cyclists duties to do so.
    Well, Bek has anticipated my last posting by admitting that the motorists will not allow repeal of the cyclist FRAP law (21202 in Calif), because they see it as making motoring more convenient than would treating cyclists as drivers of vehicles. In short, Bek is making the same argument that motorists have made for seventy years, but trying to cover it up with a false veneer of benefit for cyclists. Rather like the motorists' argument that the law requiring FRAP was necessary to make cycling safe.

  21. #21
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester View Post
    The slow vehicle law (21654 in Calif) requires the slow driver (be he motorist or cyclist) to use either the right-hand lane or be as close as practicable to the right-hand edge. That's what it says, and that's what it allows. If there is a right-hand lane then the slow driver has the lawful choice between those two positions. The police do not have the legal power to force a driver to take one instead of the other when the law gives that choice to the driver. So what more do cyclists need? Any reasonable cause for moving into the next lane to the left has already been accepted in the slow vehicle law, so cyclists would not be more limited in this respect than would other drivers of vehicles.
    John, what say you to the argument made by others here that under the generic FRAP law, there must be more than one marked lane in the same direction of travel for the slower driver to have the option to operate anywhere in the "right hand" lane? That is, if there is no "left hand lane" designated for the same direction available for passing, then there is no "right hand lane," and therefore the slower driver must operate at the road edge, or the right edge of the marked lane? This interpretation of the generic FRAP law would prohibit drivers of narrow vehicles from controlling the lane as effectively as drivers of wide vehicles on two-lane/two way roads, and in theory places the burden of proof on the bicyclist to demonstrate that their position away from the edge is as far right as practicable whenever using a travel lane on a two-lane/two-way road.
    Last edited by sggoodri; 06-04-11 at 08:10 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sggoodri View Post
    John, what say you to the argument made by others here that under the generic FRAP law, there must be more than one marked lane in the same direction of travel for the slower driver to have the option to operate anywhere in the "right hand" lane? That is, if there is no "left hand lane" designated for the same direction available for passing, then there is no "right hand lane," and therefore the slower driver must operate at the road edge, or the right edge of the marked lane? This interpretation of the generic FRAP law would prohibit drivers of narrow vehicles from controlling the lane as effectively as drivers of wide vehicles on two-lane/two way roads, and in theory places the burden of proof on the bicyclist to demonstrate that their position away from the edge is as far right as practicable whenever using a travel lane on a two-lane/two-way road.
    1: Here is the history of FRAP as applied to vehicles and of the slow vehicle rule as these appeared in the Uniform Vehicle Code.

    In 1930, the UVC adopted the rule that vehicles should be driven as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, but that if the roadway had been marked with lanes, a vehicle shall be driven in the lane nearest the right-hand edge. These rules were deleted in 1934.

    In 1934, the UVC adopted the lane use rule. Whenever any roadway has been divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic ... a vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane ...

    In 1948, the UVC adopted its slow-moving vehicle rule, requiring use of the right-hand lane then available for traffic, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge ...

    I suggest that the 1934 rule clearly indicates that a roadway may be divided into two lanes, meaning one for each direction of normal travel. This with the 1948 rule indicates that the phrase "the right-hand lane then available for traffic" applies to roadways with two lanes as well as to roadways with more than two lanes.

    2: The wording itself. If the intent had been to allow drivers moving slowly to use the whole right-hand lane only when two or more lanes were assigned for traffic in that direction the draftsman would have so stated. Since he did not word the rule in that manner, one has to conclude that he did not mean to include such a restriction. The contrary argument faces two deficiencies: the rules does not say "two or more" and it uses "available" rather than "assigned" or similar.

    3: Historical relevance. At the time the slow-moving vehicle rule was written, the draftsmen would be concerned about wagons (still), farm equipment, construction equipment, heavily-loaded trucks, much of these being wide vehicles. Any typical motor vehicle being driven to overtake one of these would have to use the next lane over, and this would be true whether or not the slow-moving vehicle was near the center of its lane or a couple of feet farther right. In short, when a typical vehicle is overtaking a slow-moving vehicle, there is no advantage to anyone if the slow vehicle is a bit farther right than more nearly centered in its lane. Therefore, the rule was drafted to say that when there was a lane for the slow-moving vehicle, no more than occupying that lane should be required.

    4: Agreement with other rules. The UVC adopted the rule that a vehicle should be driven, as much as practicable, entirely within one lane. In short, when one vehicle is overtaking another, both vehicles ought to be driven each in its own lane. To consider that the faster vehicle should try to occupy as much as possible, or as safe, of the lane being used by the slower vehicle contradicts this principle.

  23. #23
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester View Post
    1: Here is the history of FRAP as applied to vehicles and of the slow vehicle rule as these appeared in the Uniform Vehicle Code.

    In 1930, the UVC adopted the rule that vehicles should be driven as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, but that if the roadway had been marked with lanes, a vehicle shall be driven in the lane nearest the right-hand edge. These rules were deleted in 1934.

    In 1934, the UVC adopted the lane use rule. Whenever any roadway has been divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic ... a vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane ...

    In 1948, the UVC adopted its slow-moving vehicle rule, requiring use of the right-hand lane then available for traffic, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge ...

    I suggest that the 1934 rule clearly indicates that a roadway may be divided into two lanes, meaning one for each direction of normal travel. This with the 1948 rule indicates that the phrase "the right-hand lane then available for traffic" applies to roadways with two lanes as well as to roadways with more than two lanes.

    2: The wording itself. If the intent had been to allow drivers moving slowly to use the whole right-hand lane only when two or more lanes were assigned for traffic in that direction the draftsman would have so stated. Since he did not word the rule in that manner, one has to conclude that he did not mean to include such a restriction. The contrary argument faces two deficiencies: the rules does not say "two or more" and it uses "available" rather than "assigned" or similar.

    3: Historical relevance. At the time the slow-moving vehicle rule was written, the draftsmen would be concerned about wagons (still), farm equipment, construction equipment, heavily-loaded trucks, much of these being wide vehicles. Any typical motor vehicle being driven to overtake one of these would have to use the next lane over, and this would be true whether or not the slow-moving vehicle was near the center of its lane or a couple of feet farther right. In short, when a typical vehicle is overtaking a slow-moving vehicle, there is no advantage to anyone if the slow vehicle is a bit farther right than more nearly centered in its lane. Therefore, the rule was drafted to say that when there was a lane for the slow-moving vehicle, no more than occupying that lane should be required.

    4: Agreement with other rules. The UVC adopted the rule that a vehicle should be driven, as much as practicable, entirely within one lane. In short, when one vehicle is overtaking another, both vehicles ought to be driven each in its own lane. To consider that the faster vehicle should try to occupy as much as possible, or as safe, of the lane being used by the slower vehicle contradicts this principle.
    Thank you for your excellent response, John. We here in NC made a similar analysis when arriving at a consensus with police and the DMV that cyclists have the right to a full lane in NC (since we have only the generic slow vehicle rule). Of course we promote the idea that cyclists should be courteous to help other traffic pass, if that traffic would otherwise experience significant delays, where and when the pavement is adequately wide and conditions make it safe and practical to ride far enough to the right to make a difference. Our interpretation is that this action is voluntary, not legally mandated in NC, allowing the cyclist to use his or her best judgment.

    What references do you recommend for reading the history and exact text of the uniform vehicle code from the 1930s to 1980s?
    Last edited by sggoodri; 06-04-11 at 10:27 PM.

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    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    It appears sggoodri and john forester are advancing a wholly unsupportable opinion that SMV-FRAP laws don't apply on two lane roads, and cyclists would not be required to facilitate passing anytime there are lanes on a road.

    John, at his website and likely in his book has earlier taken the correct position on the wording of FRAP laws, that the distinction in SMV-FRAP laws refers to multiple versus single lane, each direction, 'two lane roadways' with the phrase 'right hand lane'

    This 'lanes make FRAP not apply' sophistry is a newfangled and totally unsupported interpretation of SMV-FRAP law and the phrase 'right hand lane or as far to the right as practicable' somehow removes the duty of slowly driven vehicles to turn out as far to the right as practicable on two lane roadways.

    That position not only ignores the law, it ignores the long standing duty of slowly driven vehicles to facilitate passing.

    john forester argued this needed to be included in the SMV-FRAP laws of the UVC- that SMV-FRAP laws are to facilitate overtaking.

    How would a narrow, slowly driven vehicle facilitate overtaking on a two lane roadway?




    the position cyclists or other vehicles need not FRAP under SMV-FRAP laws on two lane roads is absurd.

    Facilitating passing is at its most crucial on two lane roads for safe operation of all road users; there is not a judge in the land that would interpret the standard SMV-FRAP law so as to not to require FRAP on a two lane road!


    ANY bicycling advocate or advocacy that predicates cyclists road rights on a belief SMV-FRAP laws will allow cyclists to take an entire lane of traffic anytime there are lane lines on the road must be steered well clear of; this mistaken assumption about cyclists rights under SMV regulations is woefully, sorrily inadequate.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 06-04-11 at 11:42 PM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  25. #25
    Bicikli Huszár sudo bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sggoodri View Post
    John, what say you to the argument made by others here that under the generic FRAP law, there must be more than one marked lane in the same direction of travel for the slower driver to have the option to operate anywhere in the "right hand" lane? That is, if there is no "left hand lane" designated for the same direction available for passing, then there is no "right hand lane," and therefore the slower driver must operate at the road edge, or the right edge of the marked lane? This interpretation of the generic FRAP law would prohibit drivers of narrow vehicles from controlling the lane as effectively as drivers of wide vehicles on two-lane/two way roads, and in theory places the burden of proof on the bicyclist to demonstrate that their position away from the edge is as far right as practicable whenever using a travel lane on a two-lane/two-way road.
    See, this is my fear. I don't think that's the intent of the law, and I agree with Mr. Forester's interpretation, but I've also seen judges misinterpret a very plain law with little ambiguity, such as 21202. In fact, wasn't there a case posted recently where a judge ruled against a cyclist because the judge simply ignored one of his "outs" under the law?

    This is why I say, in theory, the SMV law should be sufficient and even preferable. It allows operation if an entire lane, or lane-sharing at the cyclist's discretion. But it relies on it being correctly interpreted, and I fear it's more easily misinterpreted as "must stay right when there is only a single lane of travel", without the outs provided by 21202. If that interpretation is used, 21654 would be an inferior law...
    Last edited by sudo bike; 06-05-11 at 03:52 AM.
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