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Is it legal to cross the double yellow in California, USA?

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Is it legal to cross the double yellow in California, USA?

Old 07-15-20, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by trailangel
It is legal in CA to cross the double yellow to pass a slow moving vehicle. A bike is considered a slow moving vehicle.
Can you find a ordinance that definitively states this? I looked through the CA traffic laws, but while it seems like it might be legal, reading the actual ordinance seemed like it could be interpreted either way. :/

I'm curious because I have a friend in the Lawrence area who got a ticket for doing exactly that a few years ago. (Maybe that's a city thing, and not a state thing, though.)
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Old 10-04-23, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by smashndash
Well... considering that it is illegal for people to cross the double yellow, and many people refuse to do it, people would have to line up behind me or I would constantly have to pull over and let people through.

I do pull over when there is someone behind me who actually tries (bless their heart) to follow the letter of the law and not cross the double yellow AND give me 3 feet. That is rare. Iíd rather not pull over for every single car. Iíd never get anywhere.

If I choose to be an a-hole and never pull over, or only pull over when there are 4 or more cars behind me... yeah thatís asking to be murdered.

These legislators, or at least Jerry Brown, are so out of touch with what happens in reality that itís...

well, not so shocking, honestly.
As a vehicle you [we] are still supposed to pull over/let pass other vehicles when five or more are "backed up" behind us.
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Old 10-04-23, 11:47 AM
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And that "3ft" means 3ft from any part of the car and any part of the bike or its rider. Personally, I think it should be emphasized that the 3ft of clear space is the absolute minimum, and as much space as possible should always be given.
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Old 10-04-23, 03:04 PM
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States often don't want to muddy the waters by specifying exceptions to no passing rules. However, common sense applies, and the "unwritten exception" is that it's OK to pass vehicles or whatever is moving at less than half the posted speed limit. That's necessary because of farm tractors, slow trucks on steep climbs, and even dogs or animals, and of course cyclists. So the real question isn't whether it's legal, but the likelihood of being cited, and if necessary, prevailing in court.

Of course, when you apply "unwritten rules" logic, you place yourself at a legal disadvantage, so exercise more than the usual due caution when gauging the speed and distance of any oncoming traffic.

BTW- the reference to dogs was not a joke. I was in court one morning when someone was tried for crossing a double yellow to pass a stray dog running down the road. The judge was about to find him guilty on the logic that it's illegal to cross double yellows "for any reason". I asked if I might speak and she granted me permission. I asked if one might cross a double to go around a boulder that had fallen into the lane, and she said, "of course", and once she cracked the door open, worked up to the question of whether the same logic would apply to the dog, since we can't expect a stray dog to back up traffic for the 3 mile stretch of the double yellow there. She ended up finding him not guilty.

As a cyclist, I would greatly prefer drivers to exercise judgement and change lanes to pass when safe to do so. I find this preferable to drivers squeezing by, or angrily riding my tail for a long time.
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Old 10-04-23, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by 4orust
And that "3ft" means 3ft from any part of the car and any part of the bike or its rider. Personally, I think it should be emphasized that the 3ft of clear space is the absolute minimum, and as much space as possible should always be given.
You should care more about the speed the driver is going vs the passing distance. In the US we have been indoctrinated to obsess over the passing distance, and our fatality metrics get worse, year over year. They have spiked since Covid, actually. In Europe they care more about the speed, and thus no car can pass a cyclist, at any distance, at a speed greater than 19mph. Even in a worst case scenario of a cyclist falling over (3' NOT enough!) while being passed, the data says they are likely to survive a 19mph impact. So while we insist passing traffic move completely over into oncoming traffic OR wait patiently until the cyclist decides it is safe to pass; well, does that ever happen? I mean, most US cyclists are wrought up enough about being on a road with cars in the first place. They will never give up control of the lane until they no longer need it. And the following driver has no idea when, or if that will occur in their lifetime. Vrooom .... ... Me, I FRAP. What was your point again?
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Old 10-04-23, 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm
In Europe they care more about the speed, and thus no car can pass a cyclist, at any distance, at a speed greater than 19mph.
Reference for this European law/regulation?
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Old 10-05-23, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm
I mean, most US cyclists are wrought up enough about being on a road with cars in the first place. They will never give up control of the lane until they no longer need it. And the following driver has no idea when, or if that will occur in their lifetime.
Most US cyclists do this? I rarely see it.
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Old 10-05-23, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by jon c.
Most US cyclists do this? I rarely see it.
I don't mean that most US cyclists take the lane. I mean that US cyclists that do it, rarely ever know when to give it up and move over.
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Old 10-05-23, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm
I don't mean that most US cyclists take the lane. I mean that US cyclists that do it, rarely ever know when to give it up and move over.
Not a problem I ever encounter. It may be different where you live. I do sometimes get stuck behind large groups of cyclists near my home, but they have no real choice but to take the lane. And I'm never stuck for more than 2 or 3 miles at most. Doesn't really add any appreciable amount of time to my reaching my ultimate destination.
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