[Vision2020] Interpreting Bicycling Code:Safety & Bicycling
starbliss at gmail.com
Sat Sep 2 14:17:29 PDT 2006
Philip et. al.
As you point out in the post below, "the first responsibility for one's
safety is one's self," and 49-717 allows cyclists use of the full lane for
exactly that reason. It's not written for the convenience of motorists.
IMHO, no legal road user should have to lessen his/or her safety for the
convenience of another. And I won't.
Thanks for this detailed interpretation of the code regarding safety and
bicycling positions on streets and roads. It helped to clarify some of the
questions about the legal and safety issues involved.
All cyclists, and perhaps more importantly, drivers of motorized vehicles,
should study this carefully.
The data is clear that the greatest hazard to safety on streets and highways
are motorized vehicles violating traffic code, not bicycles. Of course,
there are many crazy cyclists riding recklessly, but in most cases, if they
impact a car or truck while they break code, well, we know who takes the
brunt of these collisions.
On 8/28/06, Philip Cook <pcook818 at adelphia.net> wrote:
> Thanks for posting Idaho Code 49-717 regarding cyclists' position on the
> Several things need to be pointed out. First, there is no statutory
> definition for what "practicable" means in "as close as practicable to the
> right-hand curb or edge of the roadway." Courts have rather consistently
> interpreted it to mean as close as is safe under the existing circumstances.
> It does not mean as close as possible, and is not a constant, defined
> Second, the "close as practicable" rule is conditional, not absolute. Four
> exceptions are specifically mentioned in 49-717: when the cyclist is
> traveling at "the normal speed of traffic," "(a) When overtaking and passing
> another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction, (b) When
> preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or
> driveway, and (c) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions including
> fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians,
> animals, surface hazards or substandard width lanes that make it unsafe to
> continue along the right-hand curb or edge."
> Exception (c) is by far the most important and common reason for not
> riding close to the curb or roadway edge. Among roadside hazards are: areas
> close to the curb tend to be where debris accumulates due to the sweeping
> action of passing motor vehicles, and getting "doored" by exiting drivers of
> parallel parked cars.
> In addition, exception (c) allows cyclists to use the full lane to
> discourage motorists from passing where it is unsafe to do so. "Substandard
> width lane" means "a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a motor
> vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane" (Idaho Code
> 49-120(29)). If one adds up the width needed for a lane not to be
> substandard, the minimum is about 14 feet (7 for motor vehicle, 3 feet shy
> distance or clearance, and 4 for bicycle operation). Lanes on most streets
> are 10 to12 feet wide, and therefore substandard. The feeling of being
> "squeezed" by passing traffic on the roadway usually means the cyclist is
> riding too far to the right and tempting motor vehicle traffic to pass too
> closely without changing lanes.
> As you point out in the post below, "the first responsibility for one's
> safety is one's self," and 49-717 allows cyclists use of the full lane for
> exactly that reason. It's not written for the convenience of motorists.
> IMHO, no legal road user should have to lessen his/or her safety for the
> convenience of another. And I won't.
> > Message: 5
> > Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 17:48:03 -0700
> > From: Craine Kit <kcraine at verizon.net>
> > Subject: Re: [Vision2020] Critical Mass, A Public Menace! Inconvenient
> > Truth -- What WE gonna do
> > To: Ted Moffett <starbliss at gmail.com>, Vision 2020
> > <vision2020 at moscow.com >
> > Message-ID: <C85DB08B-73FC-4BB8-BE86-988A675EB8F6 at verizon.net>
> > Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII; delsp=yes; format=flowed
> > It is my OPINION (totally unsupported by research) that laws
> > concerning those who impede the flow of traffic should not apply if
> > traffic is going faster than the speed limit. For example, the law
> > says that if you have three (?) or more vehicles behind you on a
> > highway, you must pull over to let them past. I don't think a
> > citation for the first person in line is warrented IF they are going
> > at the speed limit. An attorney or the courts needs to say whether
> > that is wrong.
> > If there is a bike lane, I think that is where bikes should be
> > ridden. I do think that bicyclists should routinely to ride as close
> > to the side of the road as possible so traffic can get by. In
> > interests of saving my life, that is what I'd do. I do not think
> > there is any profit in pissing off anyone who is driving a vehicle
> > that is bigger than mine. (that includes the guy in the F350 Ford
> > pickup when I'm driving my little Honda).
> > My bottom line is that the first responsibility for one's safety is
> > one's self. The second is the law. If the law is unclear, as Ted
> > notes, then it should be clarified OR people should be taught the
> > applicable interpretation.
> > Kit
> > On Aug 26, 2006, at 5:05 PM, Ted Moffett wrote:
> > > Kit Crane et. al.
> > >
> > > The code seems to say if you can ride as fast as the traffic, you
> > > can be in middle of the lane. If not, you must be on the side of
> > > the road, either left or right, depending. But what if the traffic
> > > is breaking the speed limit?
> > >
> > > The code implies that Phillip Cook's statement below may not be
> > > quite correct, given that if a bike lane is on the far right or
> > > left hand side of a road, the code seems to say the bicyclist must
> > > stay in that bike lane when going slower than the traffic, and no
> > > more than two abreast, with the exceptions noted.
> > >
> > > Phillip Cook wrote:
> > >
> > > Date: Thu, 24 Aug 2006 15:26:41 -0700
> > >
> > > First, there is no law in Moscow nor Idaho requiring that a bike
> > > lane be used by a bicyclist if it is present.
> > > --------
> > >
> > > However, I have verified, as have numerous other bike riding
> > > friends, that in a 25 MPH speed zone, a speed a good cyclist on a
> > > fast bike can easily maintain for a significant time, drivers will
> > > insist on honking you out of the way, so they can speed, though if
> > > the drivers were following the speed limit, the bike would be
> > > allowed by code in the middle of the traffic lane.
> > >
> > > Any comments?
> > >
> > > Ted Moffett
> > >
> > >
> > > On 8/26/06, Craine Kit <kcraine at verizon.net> wrote: Ted asked
> > > "Sunil, I think it is legal for a bicyclist to be in the
> > > middle of a lane of traffic (correct me if I am wrong)."
> > >
> > > Here's the answer:
> > >
> > > Under Idaho State Code (49-717), bicycles going less than the normal
> > > speed of traffic are required to ride "close as practicable to the
> > > right-hand curb." There are some exceptions (listed below) that allow
> > > some necessary maneuvers. The Code (49-718) allows bicyclists to ride
> > > no more than TWO abreast as long as they are not impeding the flow of
> > > traffic.
> > >
> > > Kit Craine
> > >
> > >
> > > -----------------
> > > Idaho State Code
> > > TITLE 49 MOTOR VEHICLES
> > > CHAPTER 7 PEDESTRIANS AND BICYCLES
> > >
> > > 49-717. POSITION ON HIGHWAY.
> > > (1) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at less than the
> > > normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the
> > > conditions then existing shall ride as close as practicable to the
> > > right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the
> > > following situations:
> > > (a) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle
> > > proceeding in the same direction.
> > > (b) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a
> > > private road or driveway.
> > > (c) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions including
> > > fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles,
> > > pedestrians, animals, surface hazards or substandard width lanes
> > > that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge.
> > >
> > > (2) Any person operating a bicycle upon a one-way roadway with two
> > > (2) or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near the left-hand curb
> > > or edge of the roadway as practicable.
> > >
> > > 49-718. RIDING TWO ABREAST.
> > > Persons riding bicycles upon a highway shall not ride more than two
> > > (2) abreast except on paths or parts of highways set aside for the
> > > exclusive use of bicycles. Persons riding two (2) abreast shall not
> > > impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic and, on a laned
> > > roadway, shall ride within a single lane.
> > >
> List services made available by First Step Internet,
> serving the communities of the Palouse since 1994.
> mailto:Vision2020 at moscow.com
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Vision2020