Bike vs Pedestrian Laws- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Bike vs Pedestrian Laws

    I found something that might interest the lot of you.

    If you've ever had a cop try to inform you that you don't have the rights of a pedestrian and, basically, that that car did have a right to run over had that driver chosen to, read this article.

    http://www.velonews.com/article/6740

    The takeaway's:
    For MUT riders, the Washington Supreme Court case (1999, Pudmaroff v. Allen) is the meat of the matter for you.

    If your'e on the road, the New Jersey (1929, Eichinger v. Krouse) and California (1952, Jermane v. Forfar) laws are the ones to cite.

    Anyone know anything more recent?

    Thanks
    c

  2. #2
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    No driver has the right to run over someone.

    The maybe more or less responsible for the accident, but they don't have a right to inflict damage.

    Interestingly, I managed to stop a large flow of traffic including a cop car, I had one foot down, then glided across the street,. The cop yelled I should have put two feet down, kinda ridiculous if you ask me....

  3. #3
    The Martian
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott
    No driver has the right to run over someone.

    The maybe more or less responsible for the accident, but they don't have a right to inflict damage.

    Interestingly, I managed to stop a large flow of traffic including a cop car, I had one foot down, then glided across the street,. The cop yelled I should have put two feet down, kinda ridiculous if you ask me....
    Absurd. Last I checked the definition of a complete stop did not involve feet touching the ground but rather reaching a velocity of 0m/s (or mph if you prefer). We should make SUV drivers hop out and touch both feet to the ground before proceeding through a stop sign...

  4. #4
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    Not quite, I was at a stop sign, but I "became" a pedestrian, (I guess cause the cars stopped for me)...when they stopped I went across with just a push off.

  5. #5
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    You get into these discussions with cops, even when they're not being overly obnoxious, and they just don't get it. Somehow, if you have a bike you have less rights than a pedestrian but ALL the restrictions of a vehicle, as if you've got a steel cage protecting you, too.

    This thread was born out of this experience: Post #14 http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?p=4333480&page=2

    I'm gonna try citing this stuff (if I can remember it in the heat of the moment) and see what happens.

    c

  6. #6
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by commutergrl
    Somehow, if you have a bike you have less rights than a pedestrian but ALL the restrictions of a vehicle, as if you've got a steel cage protecting you, too.
    I don`t see it like that. Things are very different from place to place, but around here (Reno, NV) it seems that bikes kind of fall into their own vague class. We can`t ride on the freeways and are banned from one bridge in town, but otherwise the law doesn`t prevent us from pedaling anywhere we could drive. There are roads I certainly try to avoid on a bike and others that I just plain don`t ride, but as far as I know that`s left up to me to decide. On the other hand, I get away with a lot of (illegal) pedestrian behavior on a bike that I generally wouldn`t attempt in my car- occasional sidewalk riding,cutting across lawns at the park, cutting through gas stations to get around the cars stopped where I`m going to turn right, incomplete stops at a stop sign, etc.

    Apparently you can`t get away with that in Berkley, or maybe it just wasn`t that guy`s day when he got collared. Either way, it depends a lot on the location and the people involved. In all cases in this country, I doubt even the cops are completely sure what a judge will say. Just my guess here, but I think it has a lot to do with people being used to seeing bicycles as toys and suddenly here they are out in the traffic, getting in the way. That`s probably why some drivers get so irate just to see us and others hold up the whole show to let us cross an intersection when we were perfectly happy to wait it out. The second group is probably going home to call our moms to say we were out riding in the street

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    On the other hand, I get away with a lot of (illegal) pedestrian behavior on a bike that I generally wouldn`t attempt in my car- occasional sidewalk riding,cutting across lawns at the park, cutting through gas stations to get around the cars stopped where I`m going to turn right, incomplete stops at a stop sign, etc.

    Apparently you can`t get away with that in Berkley,


    ...Or in Orange County CA

    I try to follow the rules of the road as it pertains to cars and avoid the "illegal pedestrian behavior". I leave the screwing around on the dirt, not because Im a model citizen, just fearful of getting hit or causing an accident.

    Dont get me a wrong, If I knew I could get away some stuff I probably would. Like you said, where you live has alot to do w/it.

    Also it really bugs me when I see full on roadies all geared up going the wrong way down the sidewalk!?!?! No wonder cops look for crap to yank our chain, a bike will always lose against a car whose driver is juggling a starbucks and cell.

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by wayneosdias

    Also it really bugs me when I see full on roadies all geared up going the wrong way down the sidewalk!?!?!
    There's a right way and a wrong way when on a sidewalk ?? Hmmmm, what if there's only sidewalk on one side of the road ??? j/k ....
    We had our local Earth Day/Save the Environment day this past weekend, and the "after-party" had a bunch of informational booths, a couple actually cycling/commuting related. One had info/bumperstickers touting that in my state (TN), cars, by law, may get no closer than 3 feet to cyclists, including when passing them. This was news to me (as an avid rider) and I doubt that the average driver knows this either. Was pleased to find out that we have a little respect in the eyes of the law, but am kinda pi$$ed that it's not common knowledge to everyone with a TN license

  9. #9
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    the utter confusion about bikes is another reason why allowing each state to develop it's own dvm rules doesn't work.
    People in virginia have gotten tickets for rideing through stop signs, but they have the protection of being a pedestrians. figure that one out.

    I feel like the whole stupied right turn on red thing. Some states allow it and you quickly find out which states don't.
    We eather have the protection of being pedestrian or we quickly find out we don't.

  10. #10
    weirdo
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    Whoa! It`s confusing all right, but I still think I`ll pass on letting Washington mandate more about what`s permissible in my state! You think one set of rules across the country would make it really simple like the Federal Income Tax codes? Tried dealing with DHS lately for an immigration case any chance? There`s simple for ya. I`ll take Carson City`s or Sacramento`s brand of crazy over Washington`s or Toronto`s any day, thank you.

  11. #11
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    atleast we would all be equaly confused if washington regulated it. i live so close to DC that it doesn't matter to me.

    i don't have to deal with immigration case bc i was born here. i think dhs makes it confusing because they what to see if you realy want to be here. think if it as a test.

  12. #12
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    I think of bike laws as a test.

    I guess I'm talking myself into joining the local bike advocacy group and and and.
    But which one?
    Here in the Bay Area I have many to choose from. The SFBike Coalition is my fav, but not exactly local to me. The East Bay Bike Coalition has all of its meetings during the work day which doesn't sound like a group of commuters to me. They sound like people who have made it their job to represent people on bikes because they've scheduled meetings at a time when "those people" can't get to it in order to represent themselves. Doesn't appeal.

    c

  13. #13
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    IMO - Obeying traffic laws like a car, but then switching to become a "pedestrian" when it's convenient does nothing but confuse the drivers. You need to be consistent to gain the respect we deserver from them.

  14. #14
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    I hear ya Iowagriz. It's only logical. It's very logical.
    But it's only very logical from everyone else's perspective.
    If you only ride for awhile, no cheating in the middle of the night or when you "have to" get on the freeway, you begin to see that a bicycle really does fit in it's own category.

    We are neither pedestrians, we can escape a nasty situation faster.
    But we're not cars either (2 ton difference in weight, Massive torque/impact difference, now steel protecto device).

    As I've said before in other threads, I think we need laws that recognize a bicycle as for what it is = not a car & not a pedestrian.

    c

  15. #15
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    It won't work that way unless you confine bikes to paths. If your on the road, behave like a car. If your on the sidewalk, behave like a ped (start with slowing down to below 10mph). How do you plan on educating xxmillion cage drivers to your new laws? Won't work. We just need the police to enforce the current laws to protect us commuters (and sometimes that might be against ourselves).

  16. #16
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    The Police have repeatedly informed me that the car has the right of way, even it means that they would've hit me. And when I make evasive maneuvers to take myself out of the equation, I'm also in the wrong.

    I fail to see why I should limit myself to 10mph when the speed limit is 25, the cars are doin 25, and I can do 25 too (admittedly this is a downhill in my case). Why should a bike have to limit itself when car drivers NEED to be more aware anyway.

    IMO paths really aren't the answer either. Too many pedestrians and others do have a right to have their fun without getting buzzed.

    Unless you think bikes really should just handicap themselves at all times because we are not, actually, equals who pay our taxes and deserve to be treated equally.

    I think the best outcome is prolly the most labor intensive. It means changing the laws just as all misunderstood groups have done, some more successfully than others in years gone by.

    If you like the status quo, great. Do nothing and all is well.

    c

  17. #17
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    Slow down and read what was written. If your on the sidewalk (which I think is stupid), then slow down. In the streets, behave like a car. I didn't say to limit your speed on the street. I enjoy passing cars each morning on the street, but I do it after I've taken the lane, not jumping on the sidewalk or flying through a stop sign.

    Either you have wacky laws in your area; your police are wrong; or you did something incorrect. I've had cars run me off the road as well, most of the time it was their fault. Sometimes I did something stupid (like passing on the shoulder as approaching a stoplight).

  18. #18
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    If I've misunderstood you, I apologize.

    But I don't go flying through stop signs.
    Nor do I hop onto sidewalks when there are pedestrians around.

    The Police are often wrong.
    and
    The laws are often nonsensical.

    I think it's because the police are in their cars just like the drivers who are automatically frustrated with bicycles b/c, well they are bicycles behaving in their own best interest. BTW, behaving in their own best interest does NOT mean challenging cars to see who can make it through the intersection the fastest, nor who gets to ignore the most laws.

    It DOES mean that if a pedestrian is crossing in a crosswalk, the bike can ride alongside (but not inside the crosswalk) and gain the same benefit.

    My point is that EVERYONE (cars, bikes, pedestrians, Police) is better served by codifying the situation from a neutral perspective. Right now I think they are written form a dual perspective (cars and pedestrians. Bikes are an afterthought, if they are a thought at all).

    I think everyone is more likely to obey laws that make sense and police will have an easier time enforcing the laws they employed to enforce.

    Still not seeing why I should abrogate my rights just 'cause I'm on a bike.

    c

  19. #19
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    If you're on the sidewalk (or in crosswalk) you're a pedestrian,but must yield to foot traffic. If you're on the road you're a driver and traffic rules apply. You're expected to keep to the right side of the lane you're using. Not too confusing really.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by William P
    If you're on the sidewalk (or in crosswalk) you're a pedestrian,but must yield to foot traffic. If you're on the road you're a driver and traffic rules apply. You're expected to keep to the right side of the lane you're using. Not too confusing really.
    No, it's not confusing...to us, who have an interest in figuring this all out; but add in the ignorance and self-absorption of the average driver, and you have molasses in January. Sprinkle in the further self-ab of the average ped, and you might as well be trying to pour hot tea on Pluto.

    There are areas where I live that you just about HAVE to ride the sidewalk to keep from being pancaked; in these spots, peds are rare, granted, but I do see them. They're ALL OVER THE PLACE when they walk! Drunks walk straighter lines! Bells don't work well around here, what with the ambient traffic noise (I'm looking HARD at a Delta, 130db), and not everybody has my drill-sergeant voice to holler with. Now, there are areas here where bikes on sidewalks are forbidden, but nobody knows about that, either, 'cept me and one sheriff's deputy who scolded me a few years ago, but primarily the law holds that bikes in the street act as cars, on the sidewalk act as peds. I truly believe the driver's test shold include questions about bikes EVERY time a lic. is renewed.

    Now, as to riding the streets -- I do it a lot, especially downtown, cuz it's just fun, but there's a lot of igno's down there who don't get it that I have a right to the road too. Had a cop tell me one time that I needed to be on the sidewalk (this, in the area that's forbidden to do so, AND during the winter -- a foot of icy snow on the unshoveled/unplowed walk); when I asserted my rights by saying, "Same right to the road as you!", I was threatened w/ jail for backtalking. (His Ch.o. Pol. heard about that one). Also had a woman cut me off from the RIGHT when I was set up for a left turn -- she took the same turn in front of me, basically a left hook. She tried to tell me that I was supposed to stay 'all the way right all the time'.

    EVERYBODY needs to know this stuff, and be held accountable.
    A bike is the only drug with no bad side effects....

  21. #21
    I'm SUCH a square....
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    OK, now to something a LITTLE different....

    There really ought to be simplicity about this whole question -- four classifications.

    1.) people moving on wheels, powered by a motor/engine; meant for road use only
    2.) people moving on wheels, powered by a motor/engine; multipurpose
    3.) people moving on wheels, powered by feet; multipurpose
    4.) people moving on feet; meant for sidewalk/offroad

    Questionable examples would be: rollerbladers, scooters, trikkes, segways. But these are not GENERALLY used as transportation, more for recreation, and should be off the roads. (After all, nobody considers an electric wheelchair roadworthy -- do they?!?)
    A bike is the only drug with no bad side effects....

  22. #22
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigpedaler
    Questionable examples would be: rollerbladers, scooters, trikkes, segways. But these are not GENERALLY used as transportation, more for recreation, and should be off the roads. (After all, nobody considers an electric wheelchair roadworthy -- do they?!?)
    I bet a lot of people consider bicycles the same way- not generally used as transportation, more for recreation, should not be on the roads.

  23. #23
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    I have a 130db air horn, but not for pedestrians, it's for cars with a/c on, and cell phone stuck to side of head. I gave up on bells, but i've been having mostly good luck with shouting "BICYCLE" from a long enough distance to give them a chance to react. It lets them know what's happening, and also that a sound fron 20yards away does apply to them.

  24. #24
    I'm SUCH a square....
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    I bet a lot of people consider bicycles the same way- not generally used as transportation, more for recreation, should not be on the roads.

    I KNOW a lot of people do; but cyclists have the advantage of being defined by law as vehicles. Education is the key, and in order to make that work, it MUST be simple. Over the last couple decades, there's been a phenomenon referred to as "the dumbing down of America" -- so it's gotta be simple, for the simpletons.
    A bike is the only drug with no bad side effects....

  25. #25
    weirdo
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    If it`s gotta be simple (and I like simple), post #19 seems to fit the bill much more than the four classifications you propose.

  26. #26
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    Here is a link to the Colorado Dept of Transportation Bike/Pedestrian Rules of the Road. Makes for a pretty good reminder to us all.

    http://www.dot.state.co.us/BikePed/M...the%20Road.pdf

    Also, from the same manual...Sharing Multi-use paths...
    Who yields to whom?
    Bicyclists, Skaters, Walkers, and
    Others yield to Equestrians
    Bicyclists and Skaters yield to Walkers
    Bicyclists yield to Skaters
    Downhill Users yield to Uphill Users
    Faster Users yield to Slower Users

  27. #27
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    I think the 4 categories are better

    for a number of reasons. The most important of which is that it fits the situations better.

    If you like dealing with ever increasingly dumb folks, than stick with the simple and then plan on dumbing it down further. The lowest common denominator can always be revised even lower.

    Another reason for the 4 categories is that allows bicyclists to make use of the benefits of being on a bike. The flexibility of being able to put me and my bike where it's least vulnerable is my favorite tool for avoiding situations. I f I can get through an intersection and get out of an impatient car's way without getting in anyone else's way, than I take that opportunity. I'm reducing the danger and the frustration. I'm also braking the law. How ironic.

    c

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