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What is a "substandard width lane"?

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What is a "substandard width lane"?

Old 10-22-10, 10:51 AM
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ROJA
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What is a "substandard width lane"?

I suspect many states are like California in that one of the explicit exceptions to the requirement to right as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or the edge of the roadway is in the case of a "substandard width lane." CVC 21202. The definition provided isn't very illuminating: "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."

Has anyone seen any reliable guidance on what this means? I don't think I've EVER seen a lane that is next to curbside parallel parking that was wide enough for a bike and car to share. This just seems very subjective and what feels safe to a car driver might not feel safe to me.

Thanks.



FULL TEXT OF CVC 21202:

Operation on Roadway
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.
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Old 10-22-10, 11:29 AM
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Under texas code, a 14' or wider lane is considered stadard. It is also the break point where "taking the lane" is allowed because the lane is too narrow for sharing.
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Old 10-22-10, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by myrridin View Post
Under texas code, a 14' or wider lane is considered stadard. It is also the break point where "taking the lane" is allowed because the lane is too narrow for sharing.
Same for FL. But at 14' it's still the cyclists call as to whether or not the lane is wide enough to safely share. Wider than that and the cyclist doesn't have much ground as far as why the lane couldn't be safely shared. However few roads and highways in this state have lanes that are not sub-standard with. Sub-standard width is considered to be "a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane."
https://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/...0316.2065.html
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Old 10-22-10, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by ROJA View Post
. . .This just seems very subjective and what feels safe to a car driver might not feel safe to me . . .
I agree. For that reason, when riding, I consider both the lane sharing v taking decision and clear indication by positioning to be my responsibility.

When driving things get a bit murky for me. I have no trouble honoring the decision of a cyclist to take the lane but sometimes give right-huggers the lane they should be taking.
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Old 10-22-10, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by CommuterRun View Post
Same for FL. But at 14' it's still the cyclists call as to whether or not the lane is wide enough to safely share. Wider than that and the cyclist doesn't have much ground as far as why the lane couldn't be safely shared. However few roads and highways in this state have lanes that are not sub-standard with. Sub-standard width is considered to be "a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane."
https://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/...0316.2065.html
So FL does not specify 14 ft as a standard, correct?
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Old 10-22-10, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by hubcap View Post
So FL does not specify 14 ft as a standard, correct?
FDOT does, but some digging in the "Manual of Uniform Minimum Standards for Design, Construction and Maintenance for Streets and Highways (Florida Greenbook)" is required to find it. It's not in the state statutes as far as I know. Leaving it ambiguous is in favor of the cyclist. State law does make it the cyclist's call if a given lane is too narrow to share, regardless of the measured width.
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Old 10-22-10, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by gcottay View Post
I agree. For that reason, when riding, I consider both the lane sharing v taking decision and clear indication by positioning to be my responsibility.

When driving things get a bit murky for me. I have no trouble honoring the decision of a cyclist to take the lane but sometimes give right-huggers the lane they should be taking.
Change that sometimes to always and you'll be a safer driver. To start with, if a cyclist doesn't have the awareness or confidence to take the lane when they should, the last thing you should do is share the lane with them since they may well do something to get themselves killed. Do the right thing and change lanes to pass them.

So far as the minimum width required for lane sharing in general, there should be no set minimum. It depends on the road surface, and how wide the cars are using the road.

My general rule is at three feet for the bicycle, measured from the first place it is safe to ride (so if there is a foot of unridable gravel next to the curb, don't measure from the curb, measure instead from the edge of the gravel), then enough room the largest thing I expect to see on that road (think city bus, Hummer, Cube Van). Don't just leave enough room for all the neighbourhood subcompacts to pass you. Sooner or later some idiot who rented a U-haul or something will come along and think that he can squeeze by too.

So to summarize, only lane share when the widest car on the road can pass you and still leave you your 3 feet.
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Old 10-22-10, 07:05 PM
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https://flbikelaw.org/2010/01/substan...lanes-updated/
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Old 10-23-10, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by CommuterRun View Post
Same for FL. But at 14' it's still the cyclists call as to whether or not the lane is wide enough to safely share. Wider than that and the cyclist doesn't have much ground as far as why the lane couldn't be safely shared.
True if the lane is clean and clear for its entire width. If the right edge of the lane is full of debris that makes cycling unsafe, the cyclist has to decide whether it's safe to share the remaining width of the lane with a motorist. 16-foot lane with 3 feet of gravel from the shoulder = 13 foot effective lane width.
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Old 10-23-10, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by winterrider View Post
My general rule is at three feet for the bicycle, ....
According to AASHTO,

bicyclists require at least 1.0 m (40 inches) of essential
operating space based solely on their profile. An operating space of
1.2 m (4 feet) is assumed as the minimum width for any facility designed
for exclusive or preferential use by bicyclists. Where motor vehicle traffic
volumes, motor vehicle or bicyclist speed, and the mix of truck and
bus traffic increase, a more comfortable operating space of 1.5 m (5 feet)
or more is desirable.
(AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities)
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Old 10-23-10, 03:21 PM
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https://azbikelaw.org/blog/take-the-lane/#more-818


From an engineering perspective, the authoritative AAHSTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities, 1999 says minimum 14′ usable width for side-by-side sharing:
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Old 10-24-10, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by CommuterRun View Post
FDOT does, but some digging in the "Manual of Uniform Minimum Standards for Design, Construction and Maintenance for Streets and Highways (Florida Greenbook)" is required to find it. It's not in the state statutes as far as I know. Leaving it ambiguous is in favor of the cyclist. State law does make it the cyclist's call if a given lane is too narrow to share, regardless of the measured width.
I thought I knew Florida biking law pretty well, but I did not know that. Thank you, C-run, for that. Combined with the link dedhed provides, I learned something today.
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Old 10-25-10, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by CommuterRun View Post
FDOT does, but some digging in the "Manual of Uniform Minimum Standards for Design, Construction and Maintenance for Streets and Highways (Florida Greenbook)" is required to find it. It's not in the state statutes as far as I know. Leaving it ambiguous is in favor of the cyclist. State law does make it the cyclist's call if a given lane is too narrow to share, regardless of the measured width.
I guess I am still not clear on this issue. This is info from the link above:https://flbikelaw.org/2010/01/substan...lanes-updated/


The statutes do not define the width of a substandard-width lane as a measurement. Overtaking motorists are responsible for insuring there is adequate room when passing. They must know the width of their own vehicles, the three-foot MINIMUM safe passing distance, and that cyclists require some physical space to safely operate.

The burden is on the overtaking motorist to insure that the pass can be safely accomplished.

The driver of very small motor vehicle may be able to pass safely within a 12-foot wide lane. A truck with a wide load could require a lane that is 15 or more feet width to safely pass within the lane.


There is a definition for standard width, but not for sub-standard? The rider has impunity to select whether the road they are riding is standard or substandard in width? The driver has responsibility to know which roads are of standard or substandard width?
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Old 10-25-10, 03:04 PM
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Anyone know of any specific cases for California as requested by the original poster?

I'd like to know as well.
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