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Old 11-04-07, 10:02 PM   #1
spingineer
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Private Roads - Closed to cyclists???

One of the things that drove me crazy, while riding with Western Wheelers, was that they would ride on what some local residents consider private roads. Honestly, I would have to agree with them. I really felt uncomfortable riding on private roads, thinking that I am riding through someone's backyard. I guess that's one reason why I'm avoiding to ride with them.

What spurred this on was an email thread I saw regarding Canon Drive, being closed to cyclists (which is a road in Saratoga. Is it proper etiquette to ride on a "private road"? What is the actual rule that cyclists should follow to make sure they don't get ticketed for riding a road that is off limits to us?
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Old 11-04-07, 10:29 PM   #2
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Private Roads

There is a lot of controversy around this issue.

If there's a path or road that the public has used and that practice goes on for let's say decades, then the public has the right to continue to pass in perpetuity. Even if some very expensive homes get put up nearby after the usage has been a long time practice. Sometimes individuals or developers of "exclusive" housing tracts do everything they can to make you believe you shouldn't be there. They find it less than convenient to afford you your right of passage through their "private" community.

On the other hand, there is private property and a no trespassing sign can be posted. I believe one reason people post no trespassing signs is to prevent the public from gaining the right to pass through by starting and continuing to pass when it's not prohibited.

Maybe one of our BF members with legal training can explain this to us.

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Old 11-04-07, 11:16 PM   #3
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There can be all sorts of "restrictions" associated with "private" roads and it would depend on what conditions were required of the developers at the time the tracts were established. A close examination of the deed descriptions or tract map conditions of approval would need to be examined on a case by case basis in order to determine what is and isn't allowed in certain communities. By "private roads", it's most likely termed as such so that the local municipality does not maintain it, which can be pretty costly. For the most part, I would assume that if there are no physical barriers, such as with a gated community, the general public has all the rights to accessing these roads as if it were a public road. Hopefully, someone with subdivision map act expertise can chime in.
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Old 11-05-07, 12:09 PM   #4
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Here's a bit from the mailing list discussion, which originally came from ACTC's newsletter as I understand it:

Quote:
The good news is: A cyclist won’t be cited for bicycling on a
private road.

Note: Areas marked “private property” or “no
trespassing” are off-limits; I’m talking specifically about
a “private road.”

Canon Dr/Hidden Dr are in unincorporated Santa Clara
County, so I contacted the SCC Dept of Roads and Highways
for information. The county maintains the first ~3/4 mile of
Canon (from the intersection with Glen Una). The rest of
the road is privately maintained - i.e., not maintained by the
county. This includes the rest of Canon and Hidden; Hidden
ends at Redberry, and the county does maintain Redberry.

Next, I visited the local sheriff’s office:
West Valley Division
1601 S. De Anza Boulevard
Cupertino, CA 95014
Phone: (408) 868-6600
Fax: (408) 868-6641.
I met with deputy Kim Morganthaler. I told him about the
intimidating motorist we’ve been encountering along Canon
Dr, explained that we want to make sure we’re not doing
anything that is wrong, and showed him the pertinent sections
of the California Vehicle Code (see below). He agreed that the
code restricts the general public from driving vehicles on a
private road, but does not restrict the public from biking or
walking on it. If the motorist contacts the sheriff’s office, they
will explain this to him.

Rather than argue with the motorist, my suggestion is to jot
down his license plate number and contact the sheriff’s office.
I didn’t ask if they would follow up in that case, but it’s worth
a try.

Please ride safely and courteously at all times. In closing, I
will share one more observation. There was exactly one notice
affixed to the glass partition at the front desk in the sheriff’s
office - reminding cyclists to set a good example, obey traffic
signals, stop signs, not to ride two abreast, and warning us
that the sheriff’s office is stepping up enforcement. - Pat

CALIFORNIA CODES VEHICLE CODE SECTION 100-680
490. “Private road or driveway” is a way or place in private
ownership and used for vehicular travel by the owner and
those having express or implied permission from the owner but
not by other members of the public.

670. A “vehicle” is a device by which any person or property
may be propelled, moved, or drawn upon a highway, excepting
a device moved exclusively by human power or used exclusively
upon stationary rails or tracks.

Personally, I don't have much occasion to ride on roads marked as "Private", but it is good to know the law and your rights, in case you find yourself on one.
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Old 04-04-10, 10:52 PM   #5
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Private Roads perspective from an owner of a privately owned driveway

I think there is much confusion on this topic of private roads. " 'nother"is quoting some definitions section of the vehicle code. It doesnt really say that bicyclists have a right to trespass on private property that happens to be private roads and private driveways. That section just defines a private road , private driveway, and a vehicle. Does "'nother" think that any biker can trespass on anyones private driveway (defined identical to private road in vehicle code)? If he owns a house, I suspect he doesnt want everyone on his private driveway

AlainP thinks that you can trespass if there is no barrier. Does this also apply to private driveways in residential areas or only in areas he wants to bike in the hills?

Some other people think you need a "no trespassing" sign. (actually, they are cheap at Home Depot.) So if one need a sign to enforce private property, then you won't mind me biking in your backyard if you dont have a sign? Be serious, it is still private property, and not polite, but I guess you can post your yard and I can post my property, too.

I own a parcel. I have a recorded deed to it. Their is no tract, no tract map, there was no multiparcel developer, no land for roads dedicated to the public, no road publicly maintained. I have a "meets and bounds" description, with a recorded survey and title insurance.. I have an Assessors parcel number (APN). I pay property taxes on it. I reach my property by a recorded easement across another persons private property. They have a recorded deed, APN, and pay taxes on their property, too. People higher on the hill above me reach their property by a recorded easement across my property. I dont have a right to trespass on the property of people above me. We call this comon access across our lands a private road, but it is still private property.

If you are on my property, including my private driveway that other landowners use by recorded easement, then you are trespassing.

I dont actually object to polite bikers, just to the sense of entitlement of some bikers to trespass private property and their outraged indignation that they may be stopped from trespassing when it suits them.
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Old 04-05-10, 11:20 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScubaBob View Post
I think there is much confusion on this topic of private roads. " 'nother"is quoting some definitions section of the vehicle code. It doesnt really say that bicyclists have a right to trespass on private property that happens to be private roads and private driveways. That section just defines a private road , private driveway, and a vehicle. Does "'nother" think that any biker can trespass on anyones private driveway (defined identical to private road in vehicle code)? If he owns a house, I suspect he doesnt want everyone on his private driveway

AlainP thinks that you can trespass if there is no barrier. Does this also apply to private driveways in residential areas or only in areas he wants to bike in the hills?

Some other people think you need a "no trespassing" sign. (actually, they are cheap at Home Depot.) So if one need a sign to enforce private property, then you won't mind me biking in your backyard if you dont have a sign? Be serious, it is still private property, and not polite, but I guess you can post your yard and I can post my property, too.

I own a parcel. I have a recorded deed to it. Their is no tract, no tract map, there was no multiparcel developer, no land for roads dedicated to the public, no road publicly maintained. I have a "meets and bounds" description, with a recorded survey and title insurance.. I have an Assessors parcel number (APN). I pay property taxes on it. I reach my property by a recorded easement across another persons private property. They have a recorded deed, APN, and pay taxes on their property, too. People higher on the hill above me reach their property by a recorded easement across my property. I dont have a right to trespass on the property of people above me. We call this comon access across our lands a private road, but it is still private property.

If you are on my property, including my private driveway that other landowners use by recorded easement, then you are trespassing.

I dont actually object to polite bikers, just to the sense of entitlement of some bikers to trespass private property and their outraged indignation that they may be stopped from trespassing when it suits them.
Simple fix already listed above:

Note: Areas marked “private property” or “no
trespassing” are off-limits; I’m talking specifically about
a “private road.”
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Old 04-05-10, 11:43 AM   #7
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You need to look up the total history of the road. Was it an old public road, or built privately? I would assume that if it is maintained by private means, then they could charge a toll for other users. It won't matter if you do any "damage' to the road with your bicycle, they still might be able to start charging.
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Old 04-05-10, 11:50 AM   #8
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on cape cod they have signs that read: "private homes, please be courteous"

on martha's vineyard the signs say: "private property security surveillance in use. trespassers will be prosecuted"

there is some serious attitude on martha's vineyard about keeping only a select few using very specific portions of the great outdoors, including beaches. meaning - you guys use this, you guys use this, and no you may not play with your friends you have to stay on your side of the fence. pleeze, gimme a break!
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Old 04-05-10, 04:37 PM   #9
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There is a big difference between a private driveway that is off limits to everyone and a private road that is open for public use. Canon Drive is the latter.
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Old 04-05-10, 04:50 PM   #10
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Silly question. Is there a list of roads (in the south bay where a boat load of the posters here ride primarily) that are private that could be color marked on a google map or something just to build a database of taboo vs. non-taboo? There are a couple mentioned on cycling.stanford.edu but a more complete listing would help. Unless there is an equivalent of Alba somewhere well-hidden & managed by white albinos I have no desire to ride on a private road.
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Old 04-05-10, 10:46 PM   #11
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Silly question. Is there a list of roads (in the south bay where a boat load of the posters here ride primarily) that are private that could be color marked on a google map or something just to build a database of taboo vs. non-taboo? There are a couple mentioned on cycling.stanford.edu but a more complete listing would help. Unless there is an equivalent of Alba somewhere well-hidden & managed by white albinos I have no desire to ride on a private road.
Rules out every SilentBen right though.
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Old 04-05-10, 11:03 PM   #12
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Something to consider if you are a property owner, and *don't* enforce trespassing charges against people on it:

Google: "adverse possession"

This is based on medieval property law, and should have been discarded ages ago, but it is still on the books in various forms.
In a nutshell, if someone uses property that does not belong to them w/o the owner protesting, they can claim the property after a period of time.
There was a highly publicized case here in Boulder in recent years.
I have also read of a privately owned road becoming public property via the same mechanism.
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Old 04-05-10, 11:25 PM   #13
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OP- Maybe this goes on with the D and up riders since they tend to do very long and challenging/hilly routes out in the boonies, but I have not been on a ride where a prominent sign was displayed saying no trespassing and we ignored it. I only ride B and C rides, however. (for everyone else: WW seems to rate things backwards...A is barely maintaining steerage...all the way to F, which is generally not even organized since so few people in the club are that fit( think noon peloton rider type of fit). If you genuinely feel that the WW are mis-behaving, feel free to contact the president, as she is trying to clean up a few things of that nature that tend to damage our public image (such as impatient people blowing stop signs and even lights ) Or, you can forward your complaint to me and I will ensure that it gets to the board/president.

I would not go up someone's driveway, but Canon drive seems like something that the public can use as long as they do not loiter, litter, make noise, or otherwise interfere/harass the residents of said road. I doubt the residents would actively police the cars that likely go through there, so if they gonna police cyclists, police them all. Stick up a guard shack with a gate device so that no one who is not a resident can't go through. Likely that will never happen, and it seems that unless someone is making a nuisance of themselves, it should not be problematic for the public to be passing on through.

I've only been over Canon road once, I didn't see any signage, but that might be because i was huffin' and puffin' my way up. No one troubled us, indeed we saw no one else out there. Plenty of other challenging ways to get to Saratoga if one is troubled by using the road, however.

Last edited by deep_sky; 04-05-10 at 11:31 PM.
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