If You Want to Know a Bicycle Law, Don’t Ask the California Highway Patrol (Part II)

1_11_10_croswaslk.jpgIf you hit these scofflaws with your car, it’s ok. Photo:CJC4454/Flickr

Another Southern California newspaper has made the mistake of asking a member of the California Highway Patrol about a law regarding cycling.  And as we’ve seen in the past, that means that misinformation has been published, unchallenged, in a local newspaper.

Today’s victim is the Whittier Daily News, who has a local column entitled "ask a cop" where readers ask a member of the CHP a traffic question.  This week, Officer Al Perez, of the Santa Fe Springs Division, tells the touching story of a father and son out on a bicycle ride and the father leaping to his small child’s defense when a motorist crosses into a crosswalk, endangering the son.  I picture myself in that role at some point in the future, although I hope I have the courage to teach my son to bike in the street, even from the start.

However, to Officer Perez, this was an unforgivable offense.  I recommend reading the entire piece of misinformation, but here’s an excerpt to give you an idea of how Officer Perez works:

Can you imagine the grief if the turning vehicle had struck the child on the bicycle?

The
child could have been injured or even killed, and he would have been at
fault in the collision. You might be asking, "How could the child be at
fault if he was in the crosswalk?"

The answer is because the child was a bicyclist, as opposed to a pedestrian.

Bicyclists and pedestrians are two distinctly different things as defined by the California Vehicle Code.

Section
21200(a) of the California Vehicle Code partially reads: "Every person
riding a bicycle upon a highway has all the rights and is subject to
all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this
division."

I added the emphasis on the words "upon a highway" in order
to point out that the California Vehicle Code does not prohibit anyone
from riding a bicycle on a sidewalk, but as soon as the child rode his
bicycle off the sidewalk and into the crosswalk, he entered the highway
and became subject to the rules of the road.

Section 21650.1 states: "A bicycle operated on a
roadway, or the shoulder of a highway, shall be operated in the same
direction as vehicles are required to be driven upon the roadway." 

While Perez’s case may make sense to someone who has no idea about bike laws, you would hope that a member of the State Police would do ten seconds of research before giving bad information to an entire community, further tarnishing the CHP’s tenuous reputation with cyclists for understanding basic laws.

Let’s look at Perez’s two main assertions: that the cyclists had no right to bicycle in a crosswalk and that the cyclist was going the "wrong way" in a crosswalk.

First, it is completely legal to ride a bicycle in a crosswalk.  Section 275 of
the California Vehicle Code clearly states that a crosswalk is an extension of the sidewalk
across the intersection. Thus when Perez says that the child "entered the highway" when he entered the crosswalk, he is as wrong as wrong can be.  By law, the child was still on the sidewalk, thus the local ordinance that allows him to ride on the sidewalk allows him to ride the crosswalk.

Second, now that we’ve established that the cyclist can legally ride in the crosswalk, we can state, as we have in the past, that there is no law requiring that people cross a crosswalk in the same direction as the flow of traffic.

Perez makes a point of showing his concern for the cyclists by typing that he wishes the father followed his version of the law to prevent him from "sprouting a few gray hairs."  Officer, I know I speak for a lot of us when I add that we would have fewer gray hairs if police officers would take the time to learn the law as it applies to cyclists.

Now let’s be clear.  I think sidewalk riding is generally a pretty bad idea, and it would be better for a parent teaching a child to bicycle in the safest way possible, which is on the street.  However, when you’re child still has their training wheels on, it’s pretty scary to think of what could happen if he lost his balance in front of a motorist that is driving too close.

  • DJB

    Maybe kids should have bike licenses to ride unescorted. They could take courses at a young age that teach them how to ride safely (in the street, in the same direction as traffic, out of the door zone, stop at stop signs, etc.) Perhaps this could be an elementary school graduation requirement. Pass a test, mail it in, get a card, done.

    I didn’t have a driver’s license until I was 16, and I know it made me a better pedestrian and cyclist to have been behind the wheel of a car. Maybe kids should have some formal training before they bike alone, since they haven’t had the benefit of knowing how drivers think first-hand. This isn’t a replacement for making streets more bike friendly, but it could be a good supplement.

    Here comes the criticism . . .

  • DJB

    By the way, I say this as someone who was once hit by a car in a crosswalk while biking home from middle school.

  • DJB, you write some great satire.

    I hope streetsblog will be contacting the newspaper and the police department to correct everyone involved, so this misunderstanding does not continue to be spread.

    Also, this bill makes biking in a crosswalk explicitly legal

    http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/09-10/bill/sen/sb_0701-0750/sb_734_bill_20090227_introduced.pdf

  • KateNonymous

    In fact, that section of the code addresses the issue of bicycles and crossing points not just in the “crosswalk” definition, but when it says:

    231.6. (a) A “bicycle path crossing” is either of the following:
    (1) That portion of a roadway included within the prolongation or
    connection of the boundary lines of a bike path at intersections
    where the intersecting roadways meet at approximately right angles.

    Which effectively answers the question of the Orange Line bike path where it intersects streets.

  • Not sure which is worse… Officer Perez’s article or @DJB’s response.

    Damien has already shown the folly in the officer’s remarks… so… DJB… I suggest that it would be a big mistake to initiate some sort of massive licensing bureaucracy between kids and riding bikes (and let me guess where it would be most likely enforced: white kid biking in suburb vs. brown kid biking in my neighborhood… hmmm?)

    I agree with you that we should teach them to ride more safely.. but please no licensing requirements.

    Bicycling is so good for kids – exercise, exploring one’s surroundings, independent mobility… If our streets aren’t safe for kids, then let’s make the streets safer… not keep the unlicensed kids off them. Fix the problem, instead of blaming the victim.

  • DJB

    “Bicycling is so good for kids – exercise, exploring one’s surroundings, independent mobility… If our streets aren’t safe for kids, then let’s make the streets safer…”
    —–

    I agree with all of this. My concern is that not all parents are going to teach their kids to ride a bike safely. Even if they mean well, they might go with their intuition and tell their kids to ride on the sidewalk. I think bike and pedestrian education should at least be part of an elementary school’s curriculum.

    I think we can agree on that much.

    I don’t think it would be hard to come up with a licensing system if bike ed were part of 1st grade. I don’t want a kid who can’t pass a simple safety test on a bike riding alone, just like I don’t want a teenager who can’t pass a simple safety test driving a car. Licensing requirements haven’t stopped cars from being America’s #1 mode of transportation. Maybe you could exempt kids who have already reached a certain age so the cops don’t harass them.

    Bottom line, if you don’t institutionalize bike ed somehow, most people won’t know how to be safe.

  • Greg

    You can contact the editor, Tim Traeger, to ask for a correction.

    http://www.whittierdailynews.com/contactus

    I left him a voicemail.

  • VC

    First of all, a bicyclist is not a pedestrian. Per section 467(a)(1) of the California Vehicle Code: A “pedestrian” is a person who is afoot or who is using any of the following: A meansof conveyance propelled by human power OTHER THAN A BICYCLE.

    Secondly, the CHP Officer is exactly correct. Per section 360 of the California Vehicle Code, “Highway” is a way or place of whatever nature, publicly maintained and open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel. The key word here is vehicular travel. Vehicles are not allowed to drive on sidewalks per Section 21663. Therefore, once the bicycle leaves the sidewalk and enters the “highway”, the rider of that bicycle is regulated by section 21200(a) in part, “Every person riding a bicycle upon a highway…is SUBJECT TO ALL THE PROVISIONS APPLICABLE TO THE DRIVER OF A VEHICLE..”

    If the rider of a bicylce wants to legally cross the street, he/she must either get off and walk the bicycle across the intersection in a crosswalk, marked or unmarked, or per section 21202 (a), cross the street “in the same direction as traffic and as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, NOT crosswalk.

  • First off, it should be noted that the CVC 21200(A) does not say “NOT crosswalk” or anything of the type.

    http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21202.htm

    If you don’t believe me that a Crosswalk is considered part of the sidewalk, not part of the highway, according to state law; I recommend that you read this article by a lawyer who focuses only on bike laws.

    http://www.bicyclelaw.com/blog/index.cfm/2009/9/28/An-Exercise-In-Absurdity

    In short, the cyclist was still on the sidewalk in this situation, so laws that apply to the highway do not apply to him.

  • The same article also appeared in the San Gabrial Valley Tribune

    http://www.sgvtribune.com/rds_search/ci_14168672

    This will make the embarrassment even bigger, and the lesson learned even better

  • Wow! So tired of hearing the “section 21200(a) SUBJECT TO ALL THE PROVISIONS APPLICABLE TO THE DRIVER OF A VEHICLE..” diatribe to address the behavior of cyclists while conveniently ignoring the exceptions.

    Cyclists are NOT required to carry an operator’s license, insurance and proof of registration. Already the bulletproof 21200(a) has gone grey.

    CVC 21 is the State Uniformity Code which limits local authorities from restricting cyclists with three exceptions: bike licenses, restrictions from freeways and restrictions from sidewalks. A local authority can allow cyclists access to the sidewalks.

    If cyclists are permitted on the sidewalks, they are permitted on the crosswalks. There is no directional flow on a sidewalk, there is no directional flow on a crosswalk.

    All of which has been clarified in SB734.

    SB734, page 2

    (3) Existing law provides that every person riding a bicycle upon a
    highway has all the rights applicable to the driver of a vehicle and is
    subject to specified provisions in the Vehicle Code, including the rules
    of the road and specified equipment requirements. Existing law also
    does not prohibit the operation of bicycles on any shoulder of a highway.

    This bill would define a “bicycle path crossing” as either that portion
    of a roadway included within the prolongation or connection of the
    boundary lines of a bike path, as defined, at intersections where the
    intersecting roadways meet at approximately right angles or as any
    portion of a roadway distinctly indicated for bicycle crossing by lines
    or other markings on the surface, except as specified.

    This bill would also permit the operation of bicycles on any sidewalk,
    on any bicycle path within a highway, or along any crosswalk or bicycle
    path crossing.

  • Derek

    “Section 275 of the California Vehicle Code clearly states that a crosswalk is an extension of the sidewalk across the intersection.”

    No, it doesn’t. It only defines the location of the crosswalk in relation to the adjacent sidewalks. It says, if you draw an imaginary line across the intersection from sidewalk to sidewalk, that’s where the crosswalk is.

  • So by Perezes logic, the definition of “highway” is essentially, “any part of the ground paved with tar as opposed to cement.” Interesting. Not only can I not believe that such a simpleton is an officer of the law, but I’m having a hard time believing that such a simpleton can complete complex day-to-day tasks, such as eating, dressing and bathing. It’s a sad state of affairs out there…it truly, truly is…

  • VC

    Mr. Newton,

    I have read the propoganda from a so called attorney. In fact, here is an excerpt from that rubbish: “When the cyclist is in the traffic lane, the law treats the cyclist as a vehicle operator; when the cyclist is in the crosswalk, the law treats the cyclist as a pedestrian (albeit, a pedestrian who must respect the right of way of pedestrians who are on foot—and because the cyclist is a pedestrian under the law while riding on the sidewalk, the cyclist has the duty to exercise the same caution as a pedestrian when entering the crosswalk; thus, incautiously entering the crosswalk at speed would be as illegal for the cyclist as it would be for the pedestrian).” Specifically, I would like to address “when the cyclist is in the crosswalk, the law treats the cyclist as a pedestrian.” Now I am no lawyer by any means, but I can read a vehicle code section and decipher what is said.

    So I go back to my first comment: Per section 467(a)(1) of the California Vehicle Code: A “pedestrian” is a person who is afoot or who is using any of the following: A meansof conveyance propelled by human power OTHER THAN A BICYCLE. With that said, unless the bicyclist is WALKING his/her bicycyle in the crosswalk, he/she IS NOT by law a pedestrian. In fact, he/she is regulated by the same rules of the road as the driver of a vehicle. You may want to tell your lawyer friend to attend some refresher training on reading statutes. If you continue to think that a corsswalk and sidewalk are the same, my debate with you is finished. And I will end by saying you are a moron.

    As for SoapBoxLA, all you have done is support my argument. “This bill would define a “bicycle path crossing” as either that portion
    of a roadway included within the prolongation or connection of the
    boundary lines of a bike path, as defined, at intersections where the intersecting roadways meet at approximately right angles or as any portion of a roadway distinctly indicated for bicycle crossing by lines or other markings on the surface, except as specified.

    Where, in this bill you speak of, does it say crosswalks are included. Let me tell you what I do see in this bill you speak of:
    1. Prolongation or connection of the boundary lines of a bike path (NO mention of CROSSWALK). I hope you don’t think a bike path and crosswalk are synomynous? If so, we have a whole different set of issues.
    2. Intersections where the intersecting roadways meet at approximately right angles (CROSSWALK NOT included here)
    3. Similar to #1, any portion of a roadway distinctly indicated for bicycle crossing by lines or other markings on the surface (Referring to BIKE LANES, NOT CROSSWALKS)

  • VC

    Friendinator,

    If you have a California Vehicle Code, how about looking up the definition of “Highway” and then apologize to Perez. I can’t believe you would make such a comment and then bag on the officer. WOW

  • VC, a crosswalk is walkway. When light says it’s okay to walk, that striped area is no longer a highway, but rather, a walkway. If was actually still a highway, it would be legal for drive in it during the time designated for people to walk in it. Vehicles Codes use words. Words have definitions. The definition of crosswalk is what it all comes down to. You said it: “WOW”

  • Derek

    The Friendinator wrote: “If was actually still a highway, it would be legal for drive in it during the time designated for people to walk in it.”

    Which CVC says it’s illegal to drive across a crosswalk at that time?

  • VC

    Oh Freindinator my friend you ARE clueless aren’t you?

    Let’s start with the basics, although already stated in a previous post, the California Vehicle Code definition is as follows:

    275. “Crosswalk” is either:

    (a) That portion of a roadway included within the prolongation or connection of the boundary lines of sidewalks at intersection where the intersecting roadways meet at approximately right angles, except the prolongation of such lines from an alley across a street.

    (b) Any portion of a roadway distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the surface.

    Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, there shall not be a crosswalk where local authorities have placed signs indicating no crossing.

    Now that the definition has been stated AGAIN, let me address your gross misunderstanding of the law: “If was actually still a highway, it would be legal for drive in it during the time designated for people to walk in it.” Do you possess a driver license? It is absoulutely LEGAL to drive through a crosswalk while the pedestrian signal is in favor of the pedestrian, as long as you yield the right of way to pedestrians who are within the crosswalk, marked or unmarked. If you need clarification, just look up the WORDS in the vehicle code, specifically section 21950.

  • VC

    In reading all of these posts, it seems that Derek is the only person who actually knows the law. I will add a little to his comment on the definition of a crosswalk that seems to confuse many of you.

    There are two types of crosswalks, marked (self-explanatory I hope), well maybe some of you don’t get it so I will explain: Marked crosswalks are those that have either white or yellow 12″ painted parallel lines that are typically 12 feet apart.

    The second type of crosswalk is an unmarked crosswalk. Not every intersection has those pretty lines that delineate an actual crosswalk. In those cases, the crosswalk is defined as the prolongation of the boundry lines of the sidewalks. For those of you that don’t understand what that means, let me explain it in words you may understand: The sidewalk, typically about four to five feet wide, has two distinct edges (boundries) that are usually straight. One boundry, is usually the CURB, while the other boundry is where the sidewalk meets the grass, landscaping, or whatever may happen to be on the other side. Extend those two boundries (IMAGINARY LINES) across the intersection to the other side of the road. You have just created an unmarked crosswalk.

    Only PEDESTRIANS and those in wheelchairs (electric or manual) are afforded the protection (Vehicles shall yield the right of way) of a PEDESTRIAN. Bicycle rider RIDING bicycle is NOT afforded the protection of a PEDESTRIAN. If you don’t beleive me just look at the definition of PEDESTRIAN in my previous post, which specifically precludes a bicyclist.

  • Dan

    From SB734:

    SEC. 10. Section 21650 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:
    21650. Upon all highways, a vehicle shall be driven upon the
    right half of the roadway, except as follows:
    (a) When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the
    same direction under the rules governing that movement.
    (b) When placing a vehicle in a lawful position for, and when the
    vehicle is lawfully making, a left turn.
    (c) When the right half of a roadway is closed to traffic under
    construction or repair.
    (d) Upon a roadway restricted to one-way traffic.
    (e) When the roadway is not of sufficient width.
    (f) When the vehicle is necessarily traveling so slowly as to
    impede the normal movement of traffic, that portion of the highway
    adjacent to the right edge of the roadway may be utilized temporarily
    when in a condition permitting safe operation.
    (g) This section does not prohibit the operation of bicycles on
    any shoulder of a highway, on any sidewalk, on any bicycle path
    within a highway, or along any crosswalk or bicycle path crossing,
    where the operation is not otherwise prohibited by this code or local
    ordinance.

    Section (g) certainly seems relevant and unambiguous to me.

  • Re: Dan — Game, set, match.

    Re: VC — When everyone else disagrees with you, it means you’re either a genius, or wrong. No offense, but I don’t think you’re a genius.

    You say yourself you’re not a lawyer, then proceed to ridicule one of the nation’s leading authorities on cycling law. I’m not a rocket scientist, but I don’t plan to call JPL and tell them their next Mars mission won’t make it past Miami Beach.

    Re: DJB — I can’t see testing and licensing children, but I do agree that bike safety can, and should, be taught in every elementary school.

  • Tim

    Bottom line is this – if you’re going to ride in a crosswalk, buy life insurance! As a cyclist, I obey the rules of vehicular traffic. As a driver, when I’m making a right turn, my last look is to the left because that’s where the traffic is coming from. If you’re screaming along the sidewalk and enter a crosswalk from my right – where most, if not all people expect pedestrians but not fast-moving vehicles – you’re just being irresponsible.

  • This “SB 374” is it law yet?

    In any case, though a bicycle is given the “rights and responsibilities” of motorists, it would do our friend VC a bit of good to read the definition of “Bicycle” in the CVC:

    Bicycle

    231. A bicycle is a device upon which any person may ride, propelled exclusively by human power through a belt, chain, or gears, and having one or more wheels. Persons riding bicycles are subject to the provisions of this code specified in Sections 21200 and 21200.5.

    Amended Ch. 1013, Stats. 1985. Effective January 1, 1986.

    QED, according to the CVC a bicycle is NOT a vehicle, and is not subject to the laws of cars when not occupying the “Road” (or “Highway”) or whatever.

    The state makes it cleat that local municipalities have the authority to ban bicycling on the “Sidewalk”. This implies that bicycles are allowed on sidewalks by default, unless a local municipality bans them.

    The crosswalk is an interesting place and the law is not clear at all what a “DEVICE” like the bicycle is supposed to do, or how it is to be treated. Needless to say, the bicycle is not a “Vehicle”.

  • Dan

    According to http://www.calbike.org/legislation.htm#SB734, it’s law as of October.

  • Is there anyone out there that is just shaking their head with disbelief that we’re all arguing about the letter of the law when the fact of the matter is that motorists turning right (or left) should just look both ways to make sure the crosswalk is clear before turning through it? (I understand we’re attempting to determine who has the right of way, etc., but seriously, let’s all just be careful.)

    This officer was so concerned with finding fault with a kid on a tricycle (or bicycle with training wheels or whatever) that he fails to fault the guy who passes the waiting car and tries to turn around him? Isn’t that a big no-no too?

    But back to the letter of the law, Damien, you state: bicyclists are allowed on sidewalks, crosswalks are extensions of sidewalks, ergo bicyclists may ride in crosswalks in areas where cyclists may ride on sidewalks legally. And I don’t fault this logic, but I don’t see where I can derive that, under the law, bicyclists are treated as and have the rights of a pedestrian when riding on the sidewalk (or in this matter on the crosswalk). Am I missing it, or is there another place in the vehicular code that we can cite in this argument that may place in this missing link? I think the end of the matter would be showing that the law does in fact TREAT (key word) a cyclist as a pedestrian upon a sidewalk. I think in a court of law you could argue that the extension of the crosswalk merely protects its intended user, and although cyclists are allowed on the sidewalk in some areas, they are not the intended user, and do in fact have to either dismount or cross as traffic. (I do not agree with that interpretation.)

    (For the VCs in the world, I’m not saying a cyclist=a pedestrian, rather that they would be treated the same under those circumstances, which is what I believe everyone has been saying along. Most of us know that a cyclist and a pedestrian are not the same thing, but it does not mean they don’t have the same rights/responsibilities. A car and a motorcycle are the same thing, but they most obey the same traffic laws.)

    Don’t all jump on me, I just see a hole in the legal argument and would like to close it.

  • DJwheels

    I’ve been shaking my head since comment #1, the rest of this was just icing on the cake.

    In any case, if a cyclist is really supposed to dismount and walk the bike through a crosswalk, LAPD and the City Attorney are not enforcing these alleged violations.

    Until they do, everyone is going to remain confused on this.

    By the way, as an attorney, I think there is some grey area on this and it needs to be resolved one way or another.

  • Peter

    Uh, Dan, SoapboxLA, and jass? I think you need to watch this video. While it refers to the federal government, it applies here.

    The key part you should take away from it, with some of my own emphasis:

    If they sign my then I’ll be a law
    How I hope and pray that they will,
    but today I am still just a bill

    So quoting SB734 is neither here nor there. It is not a law. It is a proposed law. It may be a great idea (personally, I have no problem with it). It probably should become a law. The only reason it isn’t, from what I saw, is that the Governor held it up while waiting for the budget. But, again, it is not a law.

    Otherwise, you would be able to quote the sections of the CVC that it modifies rather than the Senate Bill that proposes a modification.

    If you can defend your argument with sections of the law that exist now, please do.

    bikinginla, when everybody disagrees with you, it could be that you’re “in the wrong place.” Needless to say, coming to a website with a lot of bicyclists and telling them that their most cherished beliefs are incorrect is certainly going to evoke many who disagree. Logging onto a website full of Catholics and saying that there is no God will certainly cause disagreement.

    By the way, in regards to lawyers, remember that their job is to defend people. They will interpret the law to the benefit of their client. Thus, a lawyer who represents bicyclists will interpret the law in such a way to benefit bicyclists. This may not stand up in court–remember that place where laws get interpreted? So saying, “Well, this lawyer thinks…” isn’t necessarily a ringing endorsement. Two lawyers can disagree. This is why we have judges.

  • DJ Wheels,

    I just finished reading the above link to Bob Mionske’s interpretation of the sidewalk debate. In the end, he draws a conclusion based on a logical interpretation of the law, but in the end, I still think a judge could rightfully rule the other way. I think you’re definitely right about it being a grey area. I don’t know why, but it reminds me of the “at your own risk on a bike path” stance from the City.

    I’ll just continue to ride my bicycle on the road.

  • VC

    danceralamode – once a bicyclist enters the “highway” he/she is no longer treated as a pedestrian nor does the cyclist have the same priviledges afforded to him/her as would a pedestrian. The crosswalk is IN the highway, and it is not as many think, a SIDEWALK. Onces a bicyclist, as long as they are astride and riding thier bicycle, enters the highway, they are goverened by the vehicle code just as the driver of a motor vehicle is governed and NOT how a pedestrian is goverend by the very same vehicle code. You are NOT treated as if you were a pedestrian. I don’t know how much clearer the law can be.

    Peter – Well said

    bikinginla – game set match? You were right about one thing, I am no genius and never claimed to be one; however, I am smart enough to read punitive sections of law and follow and understand it. As for ridiculing a leading lawyer on bicycling, who says. The biker’s coalition. There are defense attorney’s out there that defend rapists, murderers, and child killers. Should I trust them to be an expert in the law. I think not. They are merely looking for a quick buck and will do and say anything to get it.

  • VC, with all due respect, you are not the final judge on this matter, and I do not see it is as open and shut as you do. In the end, a judge presiding over a court of law would have to make this sort of a ruling. In the meantime, perhaps you might look up the word “discourse”, and put the word “constructive” in front of it.

  • VC

    danceralamode – until the law changes, I will continue to enforce it as is goverened by the California Vehicle Code. Perhaps you and I will meet some day in front of a judge. May the best man/woman win. Good luck and ride safe

  • calwatch

    My mom, a long time bicycle commuter who rode her Walmart bicycle on the sidewalk for a couple of decades (and incidentally never got hit, although she was usually going no more than 10 mph), once got ticketed, allegedly for this… Although she said the rookie cop just thought it looked wrong, but actually had to call his superior to find what vehicle code to charge her with. We did the trial by declaration thing and won, although that may have had more to do with the fact that most local PDs would rather chase robbers than turn in their declaration (since they don’t get paid overtime for writing declarations). Remember, if you get a ticket, it’s delay, declare, do-over.

  • DJwheels

    Spoken like a true cop. You have shown your hand, VC. See you in court.

  • VC, there is no law that specifically states it’s illegal to operate a bike in a crosswalk. So actually, you are enforcing the vehicle code as you interpret it. And as I stated before, I ride in the street and obey traffic laws, so you can see someone else in court.

  • Dan

    Uh, Peter? What part of “Governor Schwarzenegger signed it into law” do you not understand?

  • Six Burgh

    Aren’t we talking about a child on a bicycle with training wheels? Since lawyers practice (and argue), is it not enough to say that I would not like to be the one defending the driver that struck the child in front of twelve jurors (of which at least three or four would be parents)? Stay safe and PAY ATTENTION!

  • “There are defense attorney’s out there that defend rapists, murderers, and child killers. Should I trust them to be an expert in the law. I think not.”

    In our legal system, alleged rapists, murderers and child killers are granted a right to a fair trial. Someone has to and should defend them. Defense attorneys don’t necessarily work to get off a child rapist for a quick buck (high-profile court cases cloud our perceptions), but try to ensure that a fair trial takes place, which is something that makes us a civilized society. The attorneys who defend the accused went to school for a long time and studied long hours to become experts on the law. That’s why *some* make a lot of money doing what they do.

    Lawyer-bashing is a tired old shtick.

  • If what CHP Officer Al Perez states is true—and I’m not going to get into the definition of sidewalks, bike paths, roadways and such—then I have loads of videos of LAPD offices and LADOT meter maids who need to be cited for breaking the law by riding through crosswalks in downtown Los Angeles. I also believe that said officers and meter maids should be reprimanded for providing such a poor example when their primary job is to collect revenue, er, make sure laws are properly observed by the rest of us.

  • VC, according to your last response to me, a car come to a red light, then rather than stop, that car can enter the crosswalk and drive across the intersection, in the crosswalk when the light indicates it’s okay for pedestrians to cross.

    You also called me clueless. You said cars can cross the street in a crosswalk and then called me clueless. Please explain.

    Finally. If a minor is too young to drive legally, then it is impossible to expect a minor to obey traffic laws. Any court would say in this instance the rights of a minor come before the rights of an impatient driver. Sorry VC, you need to get a clue.

  • Meanwhile, a motorist hits a cyclist in a crosswalk, is arrested for manslaughter.

    http://cbs5.com/local/morgan.hill.crash.2.1420815.html

  • Derek

    The Friendinator wrote: “VC, according to your last response to me, a car come to a red light, then rather than stop, that car can enter the crosswalk and drive across the intersection, in the crosswalk when the light indicates it’s okay for pedestrians to cross.”

    When did VC claim that a car doesn’t have to stop at a stop light?

    The Friendinator wrote: “If a minor is too young to drive legally, then it is impossible to expect a minor to obey traffic laws.”

    Someone who cannot understand traffic laws needs to be properly supervised and/or restrained in order to prevent breaking any laws.

  • Actually Derek, he said it right here: ” It is absoulutely LEGAL to drive through a crosswalk while the pedestrian signal is in favor of the pedestrian”

    Children, by law, are allowed to use crosswalks. There is no law setting an age requirement to use a crosswalk. Plowing through a crosswalk while a child is in the crosswalk, is illegal, regardless of whether the child (pedestrtian) has a signal indicating it is okay to cross or not. Technically, Derek, pedestrians will nearly always hold the benefit of right of way…

  • Isn’t that pretty much what happened to Robert Painter in North Hollywood last month? Traffic in the right lane stopped to let him ride his bike across the crosswalk, and some jerk in the left lane blew through and killed him.

    As I recall, rather than say it was his fault for riding in the crosswalk, the police seem to be taking it seriously and are still looking for his killer, who fled the scene.

  • Derek

    The Friendinator wrote: “Actually Derek, he said it right here: ” It is absoulutely LEGAL to drive through a crosswalk while the pedestrian signal is in favor of the pedestrian””

    That’s not what I asked. I asked, when did VC claim that a car doesn’t have to stop at a stop light?

    The Friendinator wrote: “Plowing through a crosswalk while a child is in the crosswalk, is illegal”

    Which CVC says you can’t drive through a crosswalk when someone is in it? CVC 21950 says a driver “shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian” in a crosswalk, and “shall exercise all due care…to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian.” It doesn’t say the driver has to stop or even slow down, except as necessary to avoid putting the pedestrian in danger.

  • Derek,

    I don’t know the CVC, but I can testify that before I gave up my car, I received a ticket for being in the crosswalk when a pedestrian was on the other side of the street in the crosswalk. So…anyone know the actual code?

  • […]This ignorance of the real laws, enforcement of non-existent laws, and bias for motorists is a problem we’re seeing repeated all too often in law enforcement agencies, and it’s well past time for these agencies to address the problem.

    For more on Officer Perez’ column, see Damien Newton’s article in Streetsblog.[…]

  • Greg, Did you get a reply from Tim Traeger at Whitier Daily News?

  • Erik G.

    I am not sure the average CHP Patrolman knows any CVC.

  • Whittier Bike Rider

    I keep seeing in all these articles the statement that California allows local governments to ban riding on sidewalks, and then everyone assumes it is legal to ride on a sidewalk. This article was printed in the Whittier Daily News, and the city of Whittier in fact has an ordinance prohibiting bicycle riding on sidewalks.

  • Good Point Whittier, problem is that Officer Al is CHP, he quotes CVC and he never said that the incident happened in Whittier. In fact, he said it happened when he was off duty, it could have been in Morning Glory Heights or in Santa Fe Springs where he is stationed or anywhere.

    Officer Al is still wrong in his interpretation of the law and his application of the law. If the incident happened in Whittier where the muni code forbids riding a bike on the sidewalk (where posted? not even sure if Whittier has an enforceable muni code!) then Officer Al should have simply said, “No bikes on the sidewalk, no bikes in the crosswalk!”

    But instead he relied on mythological vehicle code.

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