VEHICLE CODE'S LEGAL TANGLE


California's two basic laws for bicyclists conflict: CVC 21200 gives cyclists the rights and duties of drivers of vehicles and 21202 (1962) takes away those rights by limiting cyclists to the far-to-the-right (FTR) position. Because FTR endangered cyclists, 21202 had to be modified (1976) to remove some of its dangers by listing exceptions when FTR does not apply. With FTR sometimes applying and sometimes not, the statute cannot be understood by people or police or traffic judges. Nobody knows how cyclists should operate. Traffic law that is not understood is dangerous; but this one is protected by special interests.

GOOD GOVERNMENT REQUIRES THAT CVC 21202 BE REPEALED


The California Highway Patrol promoted the FTR requirement (1962) with two false arguments: FTR cycling makes cycling safe, and even children can understand the FTR law. When 21202 was first scientifically examined (1976), both arguments were proved false. Since FTR does not increase safety,

21202's SOLE PURPOSE IS TO PROCLAIM MOTORISTS' SUPPOSED RIGHT TO SQUEEZE PAST CYCLISTS AT ALL TIMES. THAT'S WHAT THE CHP WANTS.


PROOF

FTR Contradicts the Rules of the Road
21202 requires cyclists to dangerously violate the the standard rules of the road. Its complicated exceptions are attempts to reduce danger by sometimes allowing cyclists to obey the standard rules of the road.

21202 Can't Be Understood
Nobody understands CVC 21202. This statute was intended (1944, 1962) to keep cyclists “safely” at the edge of the roadway. But the edge of the roadway was proved so dangerous that the legislature (1976) allowed cyclists to sometimes leave the edge for their own safety. With FTR sometimes claimed safe and sometimes claimed dangerous, no principle can be understood.

21202 Is Useless and Does Nothing
One exception, the narrow-lane exception, allows cyclists to obey the standard rules of the road almost everywhere on California's roads that are not freeways. 21202 can be legally enforced on only a tiny fraction of California's roads. It is useless.

21202 Is Propaganda for Motorist Supremacy
21202 serves only as propaganda for the CHP's motorist supremacy belief that motorists have the right to shove cyclists to the edge of the roadway. Motorist supremacy over all other road users is a bad and dangerous policy for California and for the nation.

What 21202 Does

Since 21202 has no legal effect, 21202 is no more than a proclamation that motorists have superior rights to the roadway over all other road users. That's neither valid law nor is it a moral position. All road users have equal rights to use the roadway, and to insist otherwise is immoral.

THEREFORE, 21202 MUST BE REPEALED

John Forester. Cycling Transportation Engineer. 7585 Church St, Lemon Grove, CA 91945.
619-644-5481. www.johnforester.com