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Million Car Challenge: Bicycles Allowed Full Use of Lane

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Starting December 15, the Million Car Challenge starts.  The challenge: To get bumper stickers (above) on one million cars.  The goal: To effectively reach millions of drivers with the message that bicycles are allowed full use of the lane and that they should change lanes to pass.

Their website states the goal is to inform drivers of the law, and that their research indicated that bumper stickers are in fact an effective way to reach drivers.  So, I wondered, is it “law” that we’re allowed to use the full lane when riding our bike?

Well, CVC 21202 gave me the first clue…that’s California Vehicle Code 21202, which states:

(a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:

(1) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.

(2) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

(3) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge, subject to the provisions of Section 21656. For purposes of this section, a “substandard width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

(4) When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.

(b) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway of a highway, which highway carries traffic in one direction only and has two or more marked traffic lanes, may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of that roadway as practicable.

Amended Sec. 4, Ch. 674, Stats. 1996. Effective January 1, 1997

Section (b) comes closest to a solid interpretation of the claim, but the rest of it does state cyclists are entitled to the full lane under certain circumstances, so BAUFL is just summarizing.  Heck, there’s only so much that’ll fit on a bumper sticker, right?  Whether that applies nationally, I’m not sure, but a little misinformation that leads to the desired result without hurting anyone can’t be too bad right?  Just ask Phil Jones.

You’ll be able to get your sticker on December 15 right over here.

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14 years ago

Some states have minimum-clearance laws. If California does, a “give bikes 3 feet” sticker would be a lot better than a sticker that “summarizes” the law in a way that might mislead some cyclists into riding in the wrong part of the lane.

13 years ago

Where can I get the bumper stickers or signs that site California law?

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