Taking the Lane: You’re No Outlaw!

Confident city cycling with Ron Durgin

Ron Durgin from Sustainable Streets opening some minds to cycling safety!

Better Bike spent last Saturday afternoon with a handful of other cyclists attending Confident City Cycling, an introductory cycling course. And confident cycling is indeed what’s on offer: Sustainable Streets co-founder Ron Durgin took us through the basics, from bike components to rules of the road, to prepare us well for safe cycling.

This class is a prerequisite for becoming a Licensed Cycling Instructor (LCI), a certification conferred by the League of American Bicyclists, a national advocacy group (and the only organization to license cycling instructors). LCI certification is a stamp of approval that is recognized by local governments, which are just now beginning to offer bike instruction (not in Beverly Hills, however).

Confident city cycling: bike exhibit

Naming bike components gets you to know your ride...

This half of the course took us through the rules of the road – the theory behind safe cycling – while next week’s in-the-field half puts that theory into practice.

The law as it applies to cyclists is nicely illustrated in the Bike League’s Smart Cycling book; and in a California-specific primer on road rules titled, California Bicycling Street Smarts: Riding Confidently, Legally, and Safely. The latter is a must-read for any cyclist in California. Casual observation suggests that many motorists and not a few cyclists are uninformed about their responsibilities to other road users. (Both publications came complimentary with the class.)

How Do Road Rules Apply to Cyclists?

By way of a brief refrehser, cyclists have to follow the same rules of the road that motorists do; that means obeying traffic control devices, of course, but it also means exercising sufficient care to avoid conflict. (Bike attorney Bob Mionske talks about the need for cyclists to exercise care in his indispensable book, Bicycling and the Law. Read our review.) The vehicular code in section 21202 also requires of riders that they “ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.” That’s not always prudent given conditions, so it provides for the following exceptions:

  • When overtaking or passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
  • When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway;
  • When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized; and most important here,
  • When reasonable necessary to avoid conditions (inclusing 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.”

The exception concerning the right hand lane is straightforward: when there exists a right turn lane, the cyclist who continues straight need move left, into the adjacent continuing traffic lane. To keep right against the curb or road edge risks getting right-hooked by a turning vehicle.

The exception for substandard-width lanes and road hazards is not so straightforward, however. ‘Substandard’ is not defined with precision in the vehicular code. In practice traffic lanes do vary from about 10 feet to 14 feet (or more), which requires guesswork. What is substandard anyway? The code offers a rough answer: ‘substandard’ is “too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.” While wide lanes may be safe to share, 10 foot lanes are too small to accommodate a bicycle and another vehicle like an SUV, bus or truck.

Road hazards provide another good reason not to share. Potholes, uneven pavement, debris, and those dreaded pavement grooves that catch tires near the right-hand curb or road edge all make cycling perilous. That’s why the code mandates the right-hand positioning only “where practicable” – not where possible. Toss in a few sewer grates, trash cans, stopped cars and the like, and before you know it you’ve got to take that lane. Inviting a motorist to share your lane can be frightening and even downright dangerous.

When Should I Take the Entire Lane?

Don't share the road (sign)This got Better Bike thinking about just how often we need to command the lane as permitted by law. Because most travel lanes in urban Los Angeles are too narrow to share, most corridors without a dedicated on-road bike lane (or ‘Class II’ lane, in facilities parlance) should probably be considered not-sharable. That substandard-width lane is all for you.

FHWA's Bikes may use full lane sign

The more one cycles on our public roads, the more it seems we should claim that entire right-hand travel lane as ours. Between substandard-width roads, hazards, and car doors, marginalizing ourselves can only be problematic from a safety perspective. More and more, we’re taking that lane.

Of course, asserting one’s rights requires fortitude. Motorists can be intimidating bullies – they’re nearly anonymous behind the wheel and they’re well-equipped for a quick getaway. Nevertheless, when you feel that you can’t share the lane, move laterally toward the center and command it.

Sure, you may hear some dissatisfied honking, but if you’re in control you won’t be intimidated. Motorists will instinctively do what the CVC requires of them: they’ll move into the adjacent lane to pass, giving you the room you need. And in the absence of road facilities that make our travel more safe, we’ve got to take into our own hands measures allowed under the law to ensure that we safely coexist with motorists. Take that lane!

LA City Council Hears Anti-Harassment Ordinance

This Wednesday the Los Angeles City Council will hear the proposed anti-harassment ordinance, intended to provide cyclists with a new tool with which to combat bad motorist behavior. This  legislation would  give cyclists new recourse when encountering hostile motorists.Presently, we can only avail ourselves of existing civil protections, which in practice means it’s difficult to hold motorists to account for, say, driving with intent to harm, throwing an object from a motor vehicle, or any of the other dangers we face (recently enumerated on the LA DOT’s bike Facebook page). Anti-harassment ordinanceGive Westside Councilman Bill Rosendahl credit: he’s been a key supporter of the new LA bike plan has has put his considerable (metaphorical) weight behind the ordinance. Kudos to Mayor Villaraigosa, too, for getting behind the ‘give-me-three’ campaign, and more recently for his support for bike plan implementation and an executive order to city agencies to consider the needs of cyclists.

For cyclists, having a new arrow in the quiver increases the chance that we can focus on bad behavior directed specifically at cyclists. This marks another turn in the tide for LA Cyclists. Join fellow cyclists in chamber to hear the Council likely give the thumbs up. Item 19 on the agenda.

Bicycling & the Law Review (Part 2)

Mionske's Bicycling and the Law coverIn his cogent review of the legal history of cycling, Bicycling and the Law: Your Rights as a Cyclist, Bob Mionske reminds us cities have a long history as chaotic crucibles for competing vehicles and devices. But cyclists have been under-prepared to negotiate the scrum  of walkers, horsemen, and horse carriages (on rail and otherwise) that competed for priority on the roads. Add electric railcars and motor carriages to the mix, and well you’ve got the potential for carnage!

It was always so on American roads and it’s only marginally better today. Our roads are more orderly, our laws more refined, yet vehicles are larger and travel faster than ever. But we’re often unprepared for the situations and  conditions we face daily (but are never addressed in DMV test booklets). In early childhood those training wheels came off and that was about it for instruction.

This second post revisits Mionske to look at specific situations that cyclists encounter daily to see how ‘duty of care’ is applied in practice. (Disclaimer: I’m not an attorney, just a close reader!)

“With Rights Come Duties”

Common law has evolved to demand a ‘duty of care’ from road users so that caution and prudence could prevail on busy streets. What is ‘duty of care’? Simply put, travelers have a right to expect that all other travelers will exercise reasonable care to avoid collision. We enjoy an expectation of safety but also have an obligation to exercise due care not to cause injury to others. (Common sense, yes, but a principle that took considerable time to codify in statutes.)

Attorney Bob Mionske’s straightforward Bicycling and the Law shows how the ‘duty of care’ extends to all road users, but emphasizes how cyclists can find ourselves particularly vulnerable on the road and in a court of law. Mionske seems to touch on every situation from heeding nature’s call (use discretion!) to the most common causes of road injuries and even fatalities.

Here are a few examples where a bit of due care might help avoid accident and injury.

Example 1: Come to a Complete Stop and Look Around

You know that you’re required to come to a full stop at a stop sign, but how often do you fully halt your forward movement? (Forget about dismounting or touching ground; we’re not obligated to do that.) A rolling stop is no stop at all in the eyes of the law, of course.

But it’s more than just stopping, Mionske says. We are obligated to “meet the purpose of the stop warning.” That is, to make a judgment about safety before proceeding through an intersection. But few cyclists or motorists make reasoned appraisals at every stop, you’ll say. And you’re right. But that won’t help you in the event of a collision or a court appearance.

Why is this important? If you’re not riding in compliance, the motorist who strikes you cannot be held liable. He can’t be at fault for not anticipating your illegal behavior. But if you are riding in compliance, Mionske says, “you are shielded from a rebuttable presumption of negligence in the event of an accident.” In practice that means that you can collect damages for your injuries without having those damages discounted (or nullified) because you are partly or fully at fault.

Example 2: Ride to the Right ‘When Practicable’

Every vehicular code requires riders to ride to the right side of the road “when practicable.” Discretion is left to cyclists to shift position when necessary or even to take the lane, but it’s not a blank check. We can’t impede traffic for no good reason.

Mionske devotes considerable ink to reviewing the variety of scenarios that a cyclist can expect to show how the ‘reasonable person’ standard comes into play when evaluating cyclist behavior.

Judges and juries in civil trials, for example, use the hypothetical ‘reasonable person’ to apply an objective standard to the of care, Mionske reminds us. This helps to determine negligence and liability in the case of a collision.

What does ‘close as practicable’ mean in practice? It is  a “fluid concept,” Mionske says, but some conditions are normally codified in traffic law. Cyclists can move from the right when:

We’re traveling at the prevailing speed of traffic and so by definition aren’t impeding traffic;

Substandard lanes force us to take the lane (and motorists must pass safely or wait);

We must avoid hazards, parked cars, or moving objects that include cars, pedestrians, animals, and of course other cyclists.

Take care, cyclists, to understand the legal particulars of ‘riding to the right when practicable.’ You may find yourself explaining your actions to a cop with a ticket book, and in that case it’s comforting to be able to defensively ground your actions in the law.

Example 3: Take Extra Care When Riding Sidewalks or Crosswalks

Cyclists owe pedestrians a duty of care and a cyclist can be found liable for injuries if a pedestrian unwittingly steps into her path. That’s the message offered by Mionske, who reasons that on pedestrians’ turf – the sidewalk – negligence can easily accrue to the cyclist.

Legally, sidewalk riding is tricky because regulations vary according to local ordinance and not the state vehicular code. And those laws vary considerably from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Westside cities, for example, offer a patchwork of sidewalk riding regulations. In Beverly Hills the code is ambiguous and confusing on the matter, so it’s best just not to do it. But I see it every day.

From a safety perspective, the laws of the jungle apply. The pedestrian’s nemesis is the cyclist, who may bear down on her without warning. By the same token, the sidewalk rider’s foe is the motorist, who may turn right without checking the sidewalk or move though an intersection without looking given their expectation of safe passage. As a cyclist on the sidewalk, we’re putting pedestrians and ourselves in clear danger because  we cross driveways and enter crosswalks even though other sidewalk users don’t expect us to be there.

Legally, crosswalks are interesting case because they’re considered “an intangible extension of the sidewalk,” according to Mionske. Pedestrians there always have the right of way (even if disobeying the traffic control in marked crosswalks), while at unmarked intersections pedestrians are obligated to yield the right-of-way to passing motorists and cyclists (yet still accorded deference – so exercise due care!).

The takeaway is that it’s best not to ride the sidewalks and if you do, to give pedestrians a wide berth and notice (use a bell or horn) and expect motorists to do what they always do.

Example 4: Maximum Visibility Minimizes Risk

If there’s low-hanging fruit to be picked, according to Mionske, it’s to make ourselves as visible as possible to other road users. Brightness is the main cue for motorists judging distance, so make those lights bright and noticeable.

Now, there are statutory requirements and standards for lights and reflectors in California, but there is no standard for conspicuity. In other words, states prescribe minimum performance standards for lights but fail to require that they be deployed as effectively as could be.

Compliance with state standards will meet the ‘reasonable person’ standard, so  cyclists cannot be held liable for failing to have effective lighting, but our safety depends on additional prudence. Better to avoid that collision than to endure it and try to collect.

Legally, Mionske concludes, you might enjoy a greater presumption of due care in the unfortunate event of a collision if you are properly outfitted with lighting and reflectors. (nb: This week REI is having a big sale on bike accessories including lights. Strap a few extra on your bike helmet and frame and stick some reflective tape on your shoes, cranks and wheels.)

In Summary: Negligence has Real-World Consequences

Our roads are actually much more orderly than in earlier days, but cyclists remain vulnerable and must attend more closely to their duty of care. While motorists are protected by sheet metal and insulated from liability by auto insurance, cyclists in contrast risk their safety and security merely whenever they ride to the market.

Because our comportment on the road has outsized implications for the cyclist, Mionske recommends that we ask ourselves several questions when we roll through a stop sign or make a sudden lane change. Is it a wise move? Would a prudent person do this in the same situation? And more practically for a negligence-minded attorney, Would a jury find that a reasonable person of ordinary prudence would have done it?

The ‘reasonable person’ standard is an objective rather than a subjective standard, Mionske reminds us. “It’s neither the standard of behavior of the person who takes no precautions, nor of the person who takes excessive precautions. Instead it’s the standard of behavior of a person who takes reasonable precautions.”

Cyclists need always remember that at every step in an unfortunate encounter we may be judged by folks who are not our peers: the cop that writes the ticket; the motorist that can’t understand our road experience; and the judge or jury that coldly assesses liability for negligence.

Take Mionske up on his invitation to consider the nuances of the law. I highly recommend Bicycling and the Law if you’re interested in learning more about your rights and duties as a cyclist!

Bicycling & The Law – Review

Attorney Bob Mionske offers a broad but detailed overview of cyclists’ rights and responsibilities in Bicycling & The Law: Your Rights as a Cyclist (2007). This is an essential read for any road user interested in a legal perspective on our rights and responsibilities, but it is also the historical perspective – the evolution of the law – that might surprise some cyclists. We cyclists may take for granted our right to ride, but that right is expressed nowhere in our nation’s founding documents because Constitutional framers did not explicitly accord the right to free movement.

“The cyclists of the late nineteenth century, though small in number, won the right to the road through their sheer determination. Over a century later, that right is violated with impunity at every turn. It is up to the cyclist of the early twenty-first century – – more numerous and no less determined than our cycling forebears – to take up the torch of liberty and secure that hard-won right.” Bicycling and the Law: Your Rights as a Cyclist (p. 347)

In fact it has been hard-won though a series of court decisions and we continue to fight to protect it – often state by state as Congress has passed no legislation that specifically safeguards the cyclist’s right to travel (much less establishes a protected class of vulnerable road users). Only now, for example, do we see mandated buffer zones (e.g., three feet) emerge onto the public agenda to by hook or by crook carve out a legal space for cyclists as distinct from other road users.

This comes more than a century after cyclists first emerged as an organized and formidable political bloc! One of the intriguing aspects of Bicycling & the Law is the historical context. Cyclist-writers like Jeff Mapes (Pedaling Revolution) undertake a fine-grained historical review, but Mionske is unique in grounding it in the evolution of the law.

Negligence and Due Care: Know These Concepts

The lesson to take away from Mionske is that in practice, contingencies shape our protection under the law. If you believe that you’re the cyclist ‘David’ up against the steel-sheathed ‘Goliath,’ he’s got some news for you: we’re saddled with the same responsibilities and liability as motorists. Just without the presumption of legitimacy and the insurance protection that motorists commonly enjoy.

Legal concepts like ‘due care’ and ‘negligence’ apply in bike collisions, Mionske reminds us, and we may find ourselves unexpectedly liable because we failed to take due care. We ran the stop sign or the red light, for example. This happens too often to count, but he cautions that each incident, should it contribute to a collision and injury, may erode our ability to collect for damages that we alone (as cyclists) are likely to suffer in a bike-car collision.

Perversely, cyclists then seem disproportionately at risk in terms of safety but also liability. While the motorist drives away literally without a scratch, we may be left with liability for our much more severe injuries. And we’ll have no collision coverage to pay for our injuries – or a scratch to that new sedan. For our own protection, we need to be cognizant of our responsibilities to pedestrians, drivers, and other cyclists, too, precisely because we have more on the line than do motorists.

Word to the wise, Mionske says in Bicycling & the Law: obey all laws and that means every stop sign! And I agree. Indeed a growing number of cyclists are cautioning riders to tame the more egregious behavior, which  may not sit will with more adversarial activists who rightly complain that we often hear about our responsibilities while officials and enforcement largely gives motorists a pass on theirs.

Know Your Responsibilities on the Road

It’s one thing t trumpet our rights; it’s another to unwittingly surrender our claim to damages in a collision because we’ve forgotten how the road rules apply to us. Think back, say, to that last near-miss with a motorist where you might have been at fault. How would a jury evaluate your actions in the courtroom should your jury include few or no jurors  with road riding experience?

If your road behavior is examined in court to establish liability in that collision, the judge or jury will apply the ‘reasonable person’ theory. That’s not a subjective evaluation; the hypothetical ‘reasonable person’ is the court’s way of applying an objective standard. How would you fare?

Bicycling & The Law: Your Rights as a Cyclist is well worth the read precisely because cyclists might expect some deference in the event of a bike-car collision, but that expectation would not be supported by statutes or case law.  Mionske urges us to consider our obligations because we can be left holding some part of the liability when things go wrong – and that could mean the difference between a settlement that covers your injuries and one that doesn’t.

I picked up Bicycling & The Law because I wanted to learn more about city liability for road hazards like pavement irregularities and storm drains. Instead I learned much about the intricacies of the law as it applies to cyclists. I have a better appreciation of what I put on the line when I simply ride to the market. Pick up Bicycling & The Law if only to learn that your rights and responsibilities ain’t what they’re cracked up to be!

A follow-up post will look at specific road situations that cyclists face daily to identify our rights and responsibilities. The series will conclude with a look at the liability of local governments for failing to ensure safe conditions and review some reporting tools that can help us hold public agencies accountable for safe road conditions.

Read on: Part II Bicycling & The Law

Cyclists Know Thy Rights!

A Few Rules of the Road

Cyclists are entitled to ride any road where expressly not prohibited. We must ride with traffic and keep to the right (if safe to do so). We must obey traffic controls and signal for turns. Common sense often prevails, but beyond the laws we know from the motor vehicle test it gets hazy pretty quickly. We once had to license our bikes, for example, but who knew until you were cited? Some cities prohibit cycling on the sidewalk and others in the crosswalk itself, but which cyclists think to check the municipal code before they casually pedal into another jurisdiction?

Cyclists are unwittingly subject to a tangle of local laws that only becomes clear when we’re cited. While ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law,  wouldn’t most cyclists  be surprised to know that they’re regulated at all? After all, when we slapped on the training wheels nobody told us to drive like a motorist. There is no state licensing of bike riders, so we’ve passed no test. State auto licensing is scanty with regard to the fine points of motoring, much less cycling. In fact, if it weren’t a clear and present danger for cyclists, it would be laughable that neither most riders nor most motorists are formally educated at all about sharing the road.

To the extent we’ve learned anything at all, it’s come through hard-won, seat-of-the-pants experience or voluntary cycling instruction.

In California, bicycles are considered ‘devices’ under the vehicular code. What does this mean in practice? That we’re entitled to ride the public rights-of-way but as we know we actually occupy a rather subordinate position. There are vehicular laws, interpretations of said laws, and then informal rules of the road – and cyclists must apprize themselves ofthe difference.

Finally there are the laws of physics, chief among them that big mass trumps small mass in a collision. When we get edged aside by a motorist, or we try to squeeze through a confined space (regardless of our right to pass) we’re reminded of just how subordinate that position is on the road. But we should at least know our rights even if we don’t always have the opportunity to express them in practice

Bike Witers Collective logoThe Bike Writers Collective has published a ‘Cyclists Bill of Rights.’ It’s a great resource that might help us talk our way out of a citation, but don’t stop there. Look at the local regulations. The LA Bike Blog, for example, recently summarized the local laws city-by-city with regard to sidewalk riding. It emphasized the patchwork of regulations that cyclists must abide but which motorists generally don’t have to deal with.

Prohibitions, Prohibitions, Prohibitions!

To nail down some of the cycling prohibitions and rules here at home, I took a look at the Beverly Hills municipal code to pull out the bike-relevant sections. Enjoy!

Licensing (Sec. 5-5) [This section is no longer operational]

  • LICENSE REQUIRED: It shall be unlawful for any person to operate or use a bicycle, as defined in section 39000 of the Vehicle Code of the state, upon any street, public path or way, or other public property in the city unless such bicycle is licensed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. (1962 Code § 3-1.01 et seq.)

LICENSE PROCEDURE: Issuance of bicycle licenses shall be governed by the following procedure:

  • Submission of a completed application for a bicycle license on the form designated by the director of finance administration
  • A complete description of the bicycle, including frame or serial number and proof of ownership shall be submitted with the application.
  • Payment of the fee prescribed in section 5-5-5 of this chapter shall accompany the application.
  • Upon compliance…the license [shall] be affixed to the frame of the bicycle in such a manner that it cannot be removed without breaking the seal or affixing device. (1962 Code § 3-1.01 et seq.)
  • Licenses issued under the provisions of this chapter shall expire on January 1 of the third year of issuance….All revenues collected from licensing under the provisions of this chapter shall be used in manner as designated in section 39004 of the state Vehicle Code. (1962 Code § 3-1.01 et seq.)

5-5-7: CHANGE OF ADDRESS OR TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP:

  • Any person selling or transferring a bicycle shall file notice thereof with the city on the form designated by the director of finance administration within ten (10) days of the transaction. Any purchaser or transferee of a bicycle shall file notice thereof with the city on the form designated by the director of administration and transfer license registration within ten (10) days of the transaction. Any licensee under the provisions of this chapter who changes addresses, shall file notice thereof with the city on the form designated by the director of finance administration within ten (10) days of such change of address. (1962 Code § 3-1.01 et seq.)

General Restrictions & Prohibitions (Sec. 5-5-8)

  • The operator of a bicycle shall operate such bicycle as near the curb as possible on any public street or highway;
  • The operator of a bicycle shall not cling to or attach such bicycle to any other moving vehicle upon a public street or highway;
  • The operator of a bicycle shall not carry another person on the bicycle upon any public street or highway;
  • The operator of a bicycle shall not tow or draw any coaster or other vehicle or person on roller skates on a public street or highway;
  • The operator of a bicycle shall not ride on the public sidewalk in any business district as prohibited by section 5-6-801 of this title;
  • The operator of a bicycle shall operate such bicycle with due regard to the surface, width, and type of public street, highway, or public path upon which the bicycle is being operated, the pedestrians and other vehicles thereon, and the traffic regulations applicable thereto;
  • Any bicycle operated on a public street or highway between one-half (1/2) hour before sunset and until one-half (1/2) hour after sunrise shall be equipped with appropriate lamps or reflectors as provided by sections 21201 and 21201(a) of the state Vehicle Code. (1962 Code § 3-1.01 et seq.)

Bicycles Prohibited On Sidewalks In The Business District (Sec. 5-6-801)

  • It shall be unlawful for any person to operate, ride, or propel any bicycle, skateboard, roller skates or similar type device on the sidewalk in any business district. For purposes of this section, “business district” shall be defined as designated in section 235 of the state Vehicle Code; “skateboard” shall mean a board, of any material, which has wheels attached to it and which is propelled or moved by human, gravitational, or mechanical power, and to which there is not affixed any device or mechanism to turn and control the wheels. “Roller skate” shall mean any footwear, or device which may be attached to feet or footwear, to which wheels are attached and such wheels may be used to aid the wearer in moving.

Restrictions Concerning Park And Recreational Facilities (Sec. 8-1-4)

The following conduct or activity shall be prohibited in the use of any park or recreational facility:

  • Riding any bicycle, skateboard, roller skates, or similar type of device except where such activity is specially authorized by posted signs.
  • Obstructing, interfering with, or loitering, in a manner which interferes with the use or purpose of any recreation facility […]

 

Notice that the penultimate regulation prohibits cycling unless explicitly allowed. That makes it a rule requiring an exception. So we can’t ride unless they give us the OK. But how many signs in Beverly Hills parks have we seen that say, “Go ahead and ride! Knock yourselves out!” Well, none. We’re more likely to see a long list of prohibitions that make our city parks, well, less park-like.

And that last rule? It opens the door for a second ticket if an officer (in his discretion) feels that you’ve also ridden afoul of that most general description: a park’s “use and purpose.” Try and defend against that in a courtroom!

Lastly, notice that there’s not a lot in the code to encourage bicycling. Only prohibitions on a form of transportation that can only reduce congestion, reduce emissions, and increase joy on our city streets.

Cyclists Have Rights Too!

Bike Writers Collective logoFrom the Bike Writers Collective comes this very useful statement to remind us that we’re not second-class road citizens but can, and should, expect to be accommodated like any road user. As their Bill of Rights concludes:

“We claim and assert these rights by taking to the streets and riding our bicycles, all in an expression of our inalienable right to ride!”

CYCLISTS’ BILL OF RIGHTS

WHEREAS, cyclists have the right to ride the streets of our communities and this right is formally articulated in the California Vehicle Code; and

WHEREAS, cyclists are considered to be the “indicator species” of a healthy community; and

WHEREAS, cyclists are both environmental and traffic congestion solutions; and

WHEREAS, cyclists are, first and foremost, people – with all of the rights and privileges that come from being members of this great society; and

NOW, THEREFORE, WE THE CYCLING COMMUNITY, do hereby claim the following rights:

  1. Cyclists have the right to travel safely and free of fear.
  2. Cyclists have the right to equal access to our public streets and to sufficient and significant road space.
  3. Cyclists have the right to the full support of educated law enforcement.
  4. Cyclists have the right to the full support of our judicial system and the right to expect that those who endanger, injure or kill cyclists be dealt with to the full extent of the law.
  5. Cyclists have the right to routine accommodations in all roadway projects and improvements.
  6. Cyclists have the right to urban and roadway planning, development and design that enable and support safe cycling.
  7. Cyclists have the right to traffic signals, signage and maintenance standards that enable and support safe cycling.
  8. Cyclists have the right to be actively engaged as a constituent group in the organization and administration of our communities.
  9. Cyclists have the right to full access for themselves and their bicycles on all mass transit with no limitations.
  10. Cyclists have the right to end-of-trip amenities that include safe and secure opportunities to park their bicycles.
  11. Cyclists have the right to be secure in their persons and property, and be free from unreasonable search and seizure, as guaranteed by the 4th Amendment.
  12. Cyclists have the right to peaceably assemble in the public space, as guaranteed by the 1st Amendment.