Law

Metro’s first bike-only on-ramp to San Gabriel River bike path

The paved bikeway plunges into the buckwheat-and-sage-scrub-covered spreading grounds of the San Gabriel River, projecting an unobstructed view of the San Gabriel Mountains beyond the curved, concrete spillway of the Santa Fe Dam.

But the spectacular views are not the new bike path’s only firsts.

The 1.1-mile, $1 million path is the first bike-only on-ramp to the existing 28-mile San Gabriel River bike path stretching north-to-south between the mountains and Long Beach.

It’s also the first car-less bicycle-train connection in Los Angeles County, joining bike rider with train rider at the Metro Gold Line Duarte/City of Hope Station on Duarte Road and Highland Avenue.

“Connecting the Metro Gold Line to 28 miles of the San Gabriel River Bike Trail: that in and of itself is an accomplishment,” said county Supervisor Hilda Solis on Thursday at the trail’s grand opening.

In truth, the bike trail is only half completed. The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation say the first section of the trail from the Gold Line station to the river area is scheduled for completion in 2021, at the earliest.

Also, there are no signs pointing to the new bike path. Train passengers have to walk their bikes across a busy section of Duarte Road, then find the unmarked, decomposed granite trail that leads northward to the new paved bike trail that cuts across the river grounds.

This first phase of the new bike path took 11 years to complete.

The process began in 2005 with the city of Duarte City Council asking and receiving in 2007 a $460,000 grant from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Agency (Metro), said Karen Herrera, Duarte deputy city manager.

But the city is trying to complete the trail from Duarte Road, along the City of Hope auxiliary parking lot that will connect to the paved bike trail, Herrera said.

Some say the county’s stated goal of building more protected bike lanes is moving at a snail’s pace, slower than other cities.

“We need to get faster,” said Wes Reutimann, executive director of Bike San Gabriel Valley, who pointed out New York City has committed to building 15 miles of protected bicycle lanes in 2016.

Supervisor Michael Antonovich, who did not appear at the ribbon-cutting, sent his chief of staff Kathryn Barger, who is running for his spot in November. Barger agreed that 11 years is too long to build a 1 mile bike path without a true connection to the Gold Line station and with no signs pointing the way.

“We want to work with City of Hope to getting better connectivity right here. You want it to be accessible. You want people to know where it is,” she said.

Delays have come from many sources, Herrera said.

First, the project was stopped in June when a California gnatcatcher was discovered on the spreading grounds. The endangered bird species requires that habitat is not destroyed and any work must wait until after breeding season.

Second, the Army Corps of Engineers was concerned about putting a bikeway through a flood zone and moved very slowly. “The Corps was very concerned about safety and maintaining their flood infrastructure. That’s been the holdup,” said Zach Likins with the county Department of Parks and Recreation.

This is only the second crossing of the San Gabriel River connecting walkers and bikers to the San Gabriel River Bike Trail. The other is north of Huntington Drive on the Puente Largo Bridge, Herrera said.

Duarte is trying to add sidewalks to the south side of Duarte Road to make it easier to ride a bike to the decomposed granite trail. That project will cost $21,000, she said.

10 Things Cyclists Wish Drivers Knew

From Bicycling.com

 

We Feel Invisible

Ever get cut off—hard—by someone who doesn’t even know you’re there? That’s almost a daily occurrence for cyclists, especially in cities.

Drivers overtake us and then turn right across our path; drivers in oncoming traffic misjudge our speed and turn left right in front of us. And when passing, they sometimes do so close enough that we feel a phantom swipe from a sideview mirror.

If you’ve ever noticed us trying to make eye contact with you, especially at intersections, we’re not challenging you to a duel; eye contact is just the most effective way to register that you actually see us.

 

We’re Not Just Jerks

If an irate cyclist suddenly raps on your car window, or pulls alongside you at a stoplight and starts yelling at you, it’s probably not just because he’s feeling surly that day. In the majority of instances where a cyclist confronts a driver, it’s because something the driver did threatened the rider’s safety.

A simple “sorry” can go a long way; everyone makes mistakes. But if you find yourself in this situation with any regularity, that’s a warning—you’re not seeing cyclists.

 

We’ll Always Lose

Ever drive on a freeway full of 18-wheelers? They’re behind you, they’re passing you, and they’re changing lanes and taking up a LOT of space—right next to you, at 65mph. You probably get a little sweaty and keep both hands on the wheel, right?

That’s how we feel riding alongside cars. You’re cocooned in 3,000 pounds or more of steel, with reinforced roll cages, crumple zones, airbags, and seatbelts. We’re riding a 20-pound machine in the open air, wearing little more than spandex and some EPS foam on our heads. If we make contact, we risk life-changing injuries or death. You risk, well, mostly the insurance deductible. In any physical interaction, we’ll lose.

 

Most of Us Do Actually Follow Traffic Laws

When you see a cyclist roll through a stop sign or, worse, a red light against cross-traffic, you’re probably thinking, “Those damn cyclists never obey the rules.”

But the vast majority of us do, and there’s data to back it up. A 2015 survey of 18,000 people by a researcher at the University of Colorado found that while cyclists do break traffic laws, they do it at the same low rate as drivers (roughly 8 percent). In one crucial measure of law-breaking (running a red light), data from a 2013 Portland State study suggests that 90 percent of cyclists stop.

 

We’re Not Riding Erratically

Here’s one even cops don’t always get right: The statutes on riding on public streets state that cyclists should ride as far to the right as is practicable. That means we’re allowed to take more of the lane to avoid dangerous road conditions like broken glass or potholes, which sometimes force us farther out in the traffic lane than we’d normally be.

You might not notice these hazards if they’re not directly in your lane, and it might seem like cyclists are riding into your path for no reason. To avoid getting surprised on popular riding routes, make it a habit to scan the whole road for conditions that might be hazardous, even if they’re not directly in your path.

 

 

We Can’t Always Stick to Bike Paths

Yes, cities go to great lengths to put in off-street bike paths, and then we ride on the street anyway. To understand why, try this experiment: Drive to work tomorrow making only left turns. See how long it takes. See how screwed up your route is. See if you can even get there. Now, add this element: On-street or off, bike lanes sometimes appear or vanish with little reason or warning, stranding cyclists in general traffic lanes. So why do we ride on the roads? Same reason you do: They take us where we want to go.

 

 

We Ride Two Abreast Because…

It’s a lot more social. Riding can be a solitary pursuit, but for many of us, the social element is as important as the physical. Riding side by side makes it easier to have a conversation and simply share one another’s company, for the same reason people sit side by side at a table instead of front to back.

Eighteen states explicitly allow two-abreast riding in any circumstance (yes, even when impeding traffic) and another 21 allow it as long as riders aren’t impeding traffic. Only three states—Montana, Nebraska and Alaska—expressly forbid it. Furthermore, even where specific legal language prevents cyclists from riding two abreast, those laws only relate to the actual traffic lane. If both riders are to the right of the white fog line, we can legally ride two abreast, period.

Still, most of us try to be conscientious and common-sense about it; we don’t ride two abreast in heavy traffic, and even in light traffic we’ll often try to “single up” to let drivers pass. If we don’t do it right away, yeah, maybe we’re a little too caught up in our conversation. Please have a little patience; we’re not perfect either.

 

The Best Way to Alert a Cyclist Is…

Don’t, unless absolutely necessary.

Car horns are really loud, and might startle us enough to cause us to swerve and crash. Simply wait and pass safely when the opportunity presents itself. Or if you must honk, do it from a reasonable distance.

 

We Really Love to Ride

If you frequent a popular or scenic road, you’ve wondered why skinny, spandex-clad riders are constantly out clogging up traffic. We’re not trying to get in your way; we just love to ride our bikes. (Try our 21-day Ride Streak Challenge if you’re feeling extra affectionate)

The road that we’re on probably goes somewhere special, either physically or mentally, and even if we don’t look it, we’re probably enjoying the hell out of it. This sport is our passion; it’s what we live for on the weekend, what we talk about with friends, and what we build a significant part of our lives around. Just give us a little space and respect, and we’ll all be fine.

 

 

We’re Not Just Cyclists

It’s easy for us to reduce entire groups of people—drivers, cyclists, etc.—to a monolithic “other.” But none of us can be so neatly categorized.

So next time you feel impatient or annoyed with a cyclist, remember we’re fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters. We’re your co-workers, your neighbors. We see you at the place we volunteer, or at church, or the grocery store. We’re part of your community. We’re you.

Paris to go completely car-free for an entire day this September

For one glorious day in September, the car-free streets of Paris will be without traffic jams, car horns, or the smell of exhaust fumes. On “Journée sans voitures,” or Car Free Day, the city hopes to raise awareness of alternative transportation and the mindfulness that can come from experiencing all the city has to offer at a walking pace.

Following in previous years’ footsteps, Car Free Day will take place on September 25 this year. From the hours of 11am to 6pm all motorized vehicles will be banned from the streets, inviting cyclists, skateboarders, and pedestrians to revel in the quiet atmosphere of a carless city. The Conventions and Visitors Bureau states, “People from the Paris region and visitors will be able to enjoy a peaceful and breathable city with 648.15 kilometers of car-free roads, equivalent to 45% of the area of the city.”

The event is expanded this year to cover nearly ever neighborhood in the French capital. Car Free Day is the brainchild of non-governmental organization Paris Sans Voitures, Collectif Citoyen, who says the special day “emphasizes mobility issues, the fight against pollution, the reclaiming of public space.” There will be free outdoor activities for the public and a sense of camaraderie that is often missed when people buzz about in cars and buses.

Be Careful Out There! Mountain bike pedal sparks forest fire

California fire ignited by a mountain bike pedal striking a rock, investigation claims.

Fire investigators have concluded that sparks from a mountain bike pedal striking a rock caused a recent fire in a US National Forest that spans parts of California and Nevada.

 

A statement posted Wednesday on the Inyo National Forest Facebook page claimed that an investigation determined the cause of the blaze to be a pedal strike.

“The cause of the Rock Creek fire that started on August 5th has been determined. Investigators have concluded that the fire was started from a bicycle pedal strike to a rock. Conclusive evidence was found in the fire origin area that was on the Lower Rock Creek mountain bike trail. A fire ignition from this type of trigger is a testament to how dry the area is right now. All residents and visitors are asked to be extremely careful with anything that may cause a fire while you are out in the forest,” the post read.

Inyo National Forest spans portions of eastern California and western Nevada. Extremely dry summer conditions have increased the risk of forest fire. The Rock Creek fire burned approximately 122 acres before it was suppressed.

Speaking on behalf of the Inyo National Forest, fire prevention technician Kirstie Butler told BikeRadar that, while the exact cause of many forest fires go unresolved, the evidence in this instance was definitive.

“All the holes in the Swiss cheese lined up perfectly,” Butler said.

Investigators traced the source of the Rock Creek fire back to a single rock on a trail surrounded by cheatgrass. Cheatgrass is an invasive species in the western United States that is quick to grow back after fires. It dries out in summer, creating a fuel source for subsequent blazes.

The day the fire started, temperatures were high, winds were moderate and humidity levels were in the single-digits — ideal conditions for wildfires.

Marks on the rock and bits of metal indicated that a spark from a pedal strike ignited the cheatgrass.

“It really doesn’t take much for cheatgrass to ignite. Anything could start a fire in conditions like this. It would have been like striking a flint,” Butler noted.

According to Butler, while this may seem like an incredibly unlikely chain of events, the US Forest Service has evidence that this has happened before. She notes that sparks from chainsaws and lawn mowers are frequent causes of wildfires. To date, there have been 4,084 wildfires in California, burning a total of 150,498 acres in 2016.

Butler, who is a mountain biker and has frequently ridden the Lower Rock Creek Trail, doesn’t believe the incident will result in trail closures to mountain bikers, nor does she view mountain bikers as more of a fire hazard than any other trail user group.

“This is not about pointing fingers; we know it wasn’t done maliciously. We understand that mountain biking is a popular activity and we’re not trying to say that this is a reason to stop. It’s just something to be aware of,” said Butler.

 

Read more at bikeradar.com

5 Myths About Bicycling

From the ChicagoTribune.com

 

Each year, 100 million Americans jump on a bicycle at least once, especially when the weather gets warm. Some of these pedalers are recreational riders; others rely on their bikes for transportation to and from work. In the past few years, cities have rushed to accommodate such travelers: Scores of bike lanes and bike-share programs have popped up. But there are still a lot of misconceptions about getting around on two wheels. As the number of cyclists rises, it’s important to keep in mind some truths about who they are, how they behave and what impact they have on the space around us.

 

1. Mandating helmet use is the best way to keep riders safe.

There’s no doubt about it: Helmets save lives. Studies show they reduce the risk of cyclist head injury by 85 percent. Recently, bike advocates such as Greg Kaplan have argued that riding without a helmet should be illegal. “Wearing a helmet while riding a bike is analogous to wearing a seatbelt while driving,” he wrote in Bicycling magazine.

In truth, there are better ways to keep cyclists safe. And legislating helmet use can distract from the many policy interventions that would actually help more. Helmets don’t prevent crashes, and people can be badly hurt in a collision with a moving vehicle, whether or not their heads are protected. Building dedicated infrastructure to keep bikes away from cars is a more effective way to save lives.

Here’s proof: Most European cities don’t require riders to wear helmets. Yet in those cities, there are fewer cyclist deaths and injuries per capita than in the United States. Experts say that’s because of their infrastructure. And studies show that when drivers see cyclists in helmets, they behave more recklessly, driving closer to pedalers and increasing the possibility of accidents.

Mandating helmet use also tends to reduce overall ridership, since some people would rather skip bicycling altogether than risk punishment for not wearing a helmet. When that happens, bike density decreases and the presence of cyclists is less apparent, which leaves those who remain more vulnerable.

 

2. Cyclists break more traffic laws than drivers do.

When confronted with cycling safety proposals, lawmakers across the country have claimed that bicyclists don’t deserve new laws until they follow existing ones. When the Virginia Bicycling Federation was trying to get a new passing law enacted, it said it was told that “bicyclists are often lawbreakers, unworthy of any added protection under the law.” Others echo this claim: The Spectator, a British magazine, called cyclists “a menace to society.”

Most cyclists do say they’ve rolled through a red light once in a while, if the street was clear of oncoming cars, or have hopped on a sidewalk to avoid a crowded road. These acts are illegal in many cities. And occasionally, bikers act unpredictably and irresponsibly, putting themselves and drivers in danger.

But let’s put those bad acts in perspective: According to Wesley Marshall, a University of Colorado engineering professor who surveyed more than 17,000 cyclists and drivers, drivers copped to breaking the rules at a slightly higher rate than bikers. It’s the rare driver who never speeds, after all. And sometimes, drivers think cyclists are breaking the law when they’re really not – it’s usually legal to take up a whole lane, for example, rather than staying on the right side of the road.

 

3. If more people rode bikes, there’d be noticeably less traffic and pollution.

A lot of bicycle evangelists see cycling as the fix for all kinds of urban problems, from congestion to smog. Forbes wondered whether bringing back bicycles could fix Beijing’s traffic woes. Bicycling magazine says cyclists could be a “huge part” of combating global warming. “How much can bicycling help fight climate change?” Streetsblog asks. “A lot, if cities try.”

Sure, if everyone gave up their cars tomorrow, the health of our cities and our climate would improve. But this is wishful thinking. Just 1 percent of Americans regularly commute by bicycle. Even if that number doubled, cycling wouldn’t significantly cut smog and congestion. And for many people — families with small children, the millions who live 10 miles or more from their jobs, the elderly and the infirm — biking just isn’t a realistic possibility.

Even if significantly more people rode bikes, it probably wouldn’t make a serious dent in our traffic problems. Studies have shown that congestion increases in cities where there are more bike riders but no new bike lanes. As city planners have long realized, the only thing powerful enough to lure drivers out of their cars is a combination of robust bike infrastructure and a comprehensive transit system. Just look at the cities where the most people get to work using biking and transit: High shares of one mode tend to correspond with high shares of the other. Many cities simply don’t have anything like what it would take to meaningfully reduce car use.

 

4. Bicycling is mostly for the wealthy.

You probably know the stereotype of city cyclists: spandex-clad guys tooling around on bikes that cost more than your car. “Twenty-five years ago, they might have gone out to buy a Porsche or a supersport motorbike, now it’s a $5,100 carbon fiber bike,” marketing specialist Michael Oliver told Business Insider. Anthropologist Adonia Lugo explains that bicycling is often promoted as “an urban lifestyle. You don’t do it because it’s cheap and you need to get somewhere. It’s presented as an opportunity to be part of urban chic fashion.”

But in truth, the majority of cyclists are not the rich but the poor. Statistics consistently show that bicycling is equally prevalent among people of all income levels and may even be more common in the lowest-earning quartile. One PeopleForBikes study found that 40 percent of American adults who ride have incomes of less than $20,000. That makes sense. For distances slightly too far to walk, biking is often the fastest, cheapest way to get around, especially for people who can’t afford to buy and maintain cars. Unfortunately, the infrastructure has yet to catch up. People who make less than $20,000 a year say they’re less satisfied than others with the bike paths, lanes and trails in their neighborhoods.

 

5. Bike-sharing programs make roads less safe.

Whenever a U.S. city considers installing a bike-sharing program, people worry. When New York proposed its Citi Bike system, the Daily News warned of “hell on wheels” and suggested that it would be nearly impossible to keep pedalers safe. The city’s comptroller warned that the program would lead to more accident lawsuits against the city. This fear seems to make sense. People rent big, clunky bikes and ride them slowly around town, often without helmets, probably careening into stationary objects and causing pile-ups behind them. Right?

After a few years of collecting data on the systems that have sprouted in cities across the country, researchers have found this not to be true. According to a report released in March by the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University, there have been zero fatalities from bike-sharing programs in the United States since the first systems were established in 2010. They also have a lower non-fatal injury rate than bicycling generally, and researchers think that’s precisely because the bikes are so large and visible, and riders can’t pilot them as aggressively as conventional bikes.

In European cities, these systems make the rest of the cycling population safer as well, as they increase driver awareness, slow down traffic and increase pressure for safety-enhancing street infrastructure, such as protected bike lanes, for everyone to use.

From the ChicagoTribune.com

Bicycle Safety

Bicycling is one of the best ways to stay in shape, see the sights, save money on gas and reduce pollution. The benefits are well-known to cycling enthusiasts and local leaders nationwide who have created bike-friendly communities, complete with paths, special bicycle parking areas and other conveniences. National Bike Safety Month in May is just one way we celebrate our love to ride. (See more on that below.)

The Risks

Bicyclists must take extra precautions when they ride. They often share the road with vehicles, which creates a host of hazards, but injuries can happen even on a designated path.

Did you know in 2014, bicycles were associated with more injuries over all age groups than skateboards, trampolines, swimming pools and playground equipment combined? According to Injury Facts 2016, the statistical report on unintentional injuries created by the National Safety Council, 510,905 people were treated in emergency rooms in 2014 after being injured riding a bicycle. The only sport resulting in more injuries overall was basketball, at 522,817. Football was third, at 396,457.

According to Injury Facts, about 1,000 deaths resulted from cyclists colliding with motor vehicles in 2014. With about 80 million bike riders sharing the road with millions of motorized vehicles, the importance of safety precautions in traffic cannot be overstated.

Use Your Head, Protect Your Noggin

Cyclists who wear a helmet reduce their risk of head injury by an estimated 60% and brain injury by 58%. That statistic makes sense when you consider the first body part to fly forward in a collision is usually the head, and with nothing but skin and bone to protect the brain, the results can be fatal.

Helmets must meet federal safety standards and should fit securely. This National Highway Traffic Safety Administration video offers instruction on how to properly fit a helmet.

Follow These Rules to Keep Safe

 

  • Get acquainted with traffic laws; cyclists must follow the same rules as motorists
  • Know your bike’s capabilities
  • Ride single-file in the direction of traffic, and watch for opening car doors and other hazards
  • Use hand signals when turning and use extra care at intersections
  • Never hitch onto cars
  • Before entering traffic, stop and look left, right, left again and over your shoulder
  • Wear bright clothing and ride during the day
  • If night riding can’t be avoided, wear reflective clothing
  • Make sure the bike is equipped with reflectors on the rear, front, pedals and spokes
  • A horn or bell and a rear-view mirror, as well as a bright headlight, also is recommended

Vuelta a Espana: Teams presented in Ourense

The Vuelta: Galicia provides a tasty send-off for the peloton

The 198 riders of the 2016 Vuelta a Espana were presented in Ourense today in front of a glistening blue lake, but the teams were not the only entertainment for the fans.

 

After the traditional photo-op and brief interviews of the various favourites, the organisers put on a cooking show featuring 12 chefs from the Grupo Nove, 9 from the Friends of Galician Cuisine and 21 Designations of Origin, Protected Geographical Indications and Differentiated Quality Brands all with an aim at introducing the world to the unique gastronomic pursuits of the region.

“We will show the great value of Galician gastronomy; a combination of tradition, innovation and quality of products as well as the great potential and virtue of its chefs, who will unleash their imaginations, turning the show’s presentation and staging into a large-scale spectacle that will delight our five senses,” said Nava Castro, the Director of Galician Tourism, according to the race’s website.

The Vuelta marks its second start in Galicia in the past four years and the eighth time in the race’s history.

 

The race will go through all four Galician provinces, before crossing into Castilla y Leon in stage 7, which finishes in Puebla de Sanabria.

 

View the gallery here.

 

New Protected Bike Lanes in Store for Union Street

From PasadenaNow.com

City receives Metro grant to eventually create ten new bicycle corridors

 

Dramatic changes are around the corner for Pasadena’s ever-growing legion of urban cyclists.

 

The city has just been awarded a $2,714,430 Metro grant for phase one of a east-west, two-way cycle track, as part of a protected corridor on Union Street, from Hill Avenue to Arroyo Parkway. As part of the new “road diet” — the lessening of lanes to include bike lanes — fourteen intersections on Union Street will eventually be upgraded with new bicycle signal heads in both directions from Hill Street to Arroyo Parkway, along with the installation of protected left turn pockets for vehicles, as part of the track.

 

Solid concrete barriers will also be constructed between the cycle track and the travel lanes, so that parked cars will actually protect cyclists from moving traffic. The service area for the new project will include Pasadena City College, Caltech, the Playhouse District, the Central District and Old Pasadena.

 

According to a presentation at Pasadena Presbyterian Church Tuesday by Rich Dilluvio, senior transportation planner and Pasadena’s pedestrian and bicycle coordinator, the new track is the beginning of what will eventually be ten new bicycle corridors throughout the city. The new corridors are part of the City’s Bicycle Transportation Action Plan, approved as part of the Mobility Element of the city’s General Plan, in August of last year.

New Protected Bike Lanes in Store for Pasadena’s Union Street from Pasadena Now on Vimeo.

 

 

Phase II of the program will extend the track itself from Hill out to Wilson Avenue, and will also include a bicycle boulevard on Holliston Avenue, with two new signalized intersections to more easily connect the Union Street cycle track to bike lanes on Cordova Street.

 

The overall creation of new bike lines throughout the state was initiated in September 2008 with the passage of Assembly Bill 1358, the “California Complete Streets Act.”

 

“In order to fulfill the commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, make the most efficient use of urban land and transportation infrastructure, and improve public health by encouraging physical activity,” the act states, “transportation planners must find innovative ways to reduce vehicle miles traveled and to shift from short trips in the automobile to biking, walking and use of public transit,”

 

The legislation also added that, “Commencing January 1, 2011, upon any substantial revision of the circulation element, the legislative body shall modify the circulation element to plan for a balanced, multimodal transportation network that meets the needs of all users of the streets, roads, and highways for safe and convenient travel in a manner that is suitable to the rural, suburban, or urban context of the general plan.”

 

In other words, get California motorists out of their cars.

 

Transportation Department staff estimate that a Letter of Agreement to initiate the project funding, which will include a local match of $684,613, will be ready to present to City Council in early Fall of this year. Following the approval of the funding, environmental clearances will commence, followed by design engineering.

 

Actual marketing and advertising for the project is scheduled to begin in February 2021, with construction beginning in June 2021.

 

“Anyone of these scheduled dates could also come sooner,” added Dilluvio.

 

Union Street currently has one three lanes of westbound one-way traffic. The new project will eliminate one lane to make room for the protected track. According to Dilluvio, Union Street was selected for the project since it is “under-utilized,” he said, with apeak volume of 700 cars and room for 2400. Once the road diet is completed, explained Dilluvio, the street would still have capacity for 1500 cars.

Bicycles and the Law

Codes, Laws and Regulations for Bicyclists

This page is provided to help bicyclists understand how to ride safely and legally on public roads, parking, and on bikeways and law within the State of California and the City of Los Angeles. Please click on the links below to find the actual laws regarding bicycling.

  1. California Vehicle Code
  2. California Streets and Highway Code
  3. City of Los Angeles Municipal Code

For a quick review of the laws regarding Bicycling in California and the City, please see the California Vehicle Code and Los Angeles Municipal Code summary listed below.

 

California Vehicle Code (CVC) Bicycle Reference Summary

Bicyclist Rights (CVC 21200)
Bicyclists have all the rights and responsibilities of vehicle drivers.

Alcohol and Drugs (CVC 21200.5)
It is against the law to ride a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Equipment (CVC 21201 and 21204)
Bicycles must be equipped with at least a brake which allows operators to execute to a wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement. Handlebars must not be higher than the rider’s shoulders. Bicycles must be small enough for the rider to stop, support it with one foot on the ground, and restart safely. At night, bicycles must be equipped with a white headlight or white light attached to the rider and visible from the front. Bicycles must also have a rear red reflector and white or yellow pedal reflectors. There must be a white or yellow reflector on the front of the bicycle visible from the side, and a red or white reflector on the rear of the bicycle visible from the side. All riders must have a permanent, regular seat. Bicycle passengers less than 40 lbs. must have a seat which retains them in place and protects them from moving parts.

Use of the Roadway (CVC 21202)
Bicycles traveling slower than the normal speed of traffic must ride as close to the right side of the road as practicable except: when passing, preparing for a left turn, to avoid hazards and dangerous conditions or if the lane is too narrow.

Bicycle Path Crossing (CVC 231.6)
A “bicycle path crossing” is the prolongation or connection of the boundary lines of a bike path where the intersecting roadways meet at approximately right angles. Or any portion of a roadway distinctly indicated for bicycle crossing by lines or other markings on the street surface.

Hitching Rides (CVC 21203)
Bicyclists may not hitch rides on vehicles.

Carrying Articles (CVC 21205)
Bicyclists may not carry items which keep them from using at least one hand upon the handlebars.

Motorized Bicycles (CVC 21207.5)
Motorized bicycles may not be used on bike paths or trails, bike lanes, or other bikeways.

Bicycle Lane Use (CVC 21208)
Bicyclists traveling slower than traffic must use bike lanes except when making a left turn, passing, or avoiding hazardous conditions.

Obstruction of Pedestrians (CVC 21210)
Bicyclists may not leave bicycles on their sides on the sidewalk or park bicycles in a manner which obstructs pedestrians.

Bikeway Obstruction (CVC 21211)
No one may stop on or park a bicycle on a bicycle path.

Helmets (CVC 21212)
Bicyclists and passengers under age 18 must wear an approved helmet when on a bicycle.

Direction of Travel (CVC 21650)
Bicyclists must travel on the right side of the roadway in the direction of traffic.

3-Feet for Safety Act (CVC 21760)
When passing a bicyclist, drivers of motor vehicles must provide bicyclists with a three feet buffer between their motor vehicle and the bicyclist. If roadway conditions do not allow for a three feet buffer, the driver must slow down when passing a bicyclist.

Toll Bridges (CVC 23330)
Bicyclists may not cross a toll bridge unless permitted by signs.

Head Phones (CVC 27400)
Bicyclists may not wear earplugs in both ears or a headset covering both ears, except hearing aids.

Here’s what you don’t know about California bike laws

From KPCC

Think you know California Bike Laws?

Bike advocates confidently told me that most cyclists are aware of their legal obligations while riding. But when I did a story about California’s new three-feet law last September, I took the opportunity to ask a bike expert about a couple of other rules.

Can I legally ride on the sidewalk? Is it OK for people to talk on a cell while riding? I see some do that occasionally on Spring Street …

I surprisingly got a few wrong. As someone who’s biked to work for about 15 years, I thought I would know better. (Answers: sort of. And yes, which is crazy to me.)

But I’m not alone. Quizzing friends and KPCC colleagues about other rules – bicyclists and non-bicyclists alike — no one walked away with a perfect score.

 

But bicycling will be a major part of Southern California’s future.

It’s a core piece of L.A.’s city infrastructure plan for the next 20 years, andCicLAVia is booming so much that it’s branching out with events in the San Fernando Valley and Pasadena.

If more cyclists hit the streets, though, is everyone educated enough so the roads can be shared safely?

When bikes and cars collide

There are no official statistics on how well-informed people are.

Talk to most drivers, and they would say cyclists aren’t well versed in the rules of the road. (Then again, about half of prospective drivers failed the DMV’s written English test themselves.)

Diehard bike advocates – as you’d expect – disagree.

Yet more than 15,000 accidents statewide involved a bike in 2012, according to the California Highway Patrol. About a third of those collisions happened in L.A. County.

The blame for those accidents is about even on the national level, says the League of American Bicyclists.

But locally, the CHP data shows bicyclists tend to be more at fault.*

 

Collisions

 

 

The number one reason why bicyclists cause accidents is because they’re riding on the wrong side of the road.

Colin Bogart from the L.A. County Bike Coalition has a theory why that happens: It’s the way people were once taught.

“A lot of people are very frightened about being hit from behind,” he says. “I think that’s a big reason why a lot of people ride the wrong way in traffic.”

Meanwhile, the leading cause of accidents caused by drivers is when they turn into the path of a cyclist. At an intersection, for example, a driver might cut off a bicyclist while making a right without yielding – the bike was supposed to have the right of way.

 

Teaching cyclists and drivers on the road

Before drivers take to the streets, they have to take a class, pass a test and earn a license. For bicyclists, none of that has to happen.

Driver’s education doesn’t extensively cover what motorists should do around bikes, either.

That’s where local groups like the L.A. County Bike Coalition step in.

Every so often they’ll collaborate with the LAPD for Operation Firefly, a project where they’ll hand out free lights to passing bicyclists: In California you’re legally required to have a front-facing light and a rear reflector.

“It’s less about, ‘Hey, this is what you’ve got to do to avoid a ticket,'” says Colin Bogart from the LACBC. “It’s more about, ‘This is what you need to do to make yourself visible when you’re riding at night.'”

Police officers also take charge of educating motorists when they pull them over for infractions.

“That’s why we’re handing pamphlets out,” says Officer Mike Flynn of the LAPD’s Central Division, “trying to educate motorists if we see them committing stuff that’s unsafe.”

These moments become on-the-fly education for drivers and cyclists to better prepare everyone to be safe on the road.

 

What about learning the rules after you break them?

Throughout the country there are “bike traffic schools” for adults with a citation. Go to a class and your fine will be reduced.

Certain places in California tried to do that, too. The problem: It’s against the law in this state.

“Right now, they can’t, even if they want to,” says Dave Snyder of the California Bike Coalition.

The way the law reads, adults can only attend a traffic school of any kind to reduce points, not a fine. But, you know, bicyclists don’t get points.

A technicality in that law allows college campuses to have them, and Bike East Bay tried to bring its program at UC Berkeley over to the the city of Alameda in 2012.

The police chief at the time was bike friendly and developed a work around: Take a class in the 30 days before a citation is processed, and we’ll rip up the ticket.

But Alameda’s police chief left at the end of that year, and the program went with him.

Snyder says the coalition is working to find a sponsor in the legislature to change state law so all police departments are allowed to offer these classes.

“It’s the first time we’ve tried this,” he says, “but [cyclists] come out of those classes feeling a lot more confident and a lot more secure.”

 

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