April 11, 2009

Chandler cyclists backed by law

To deal with a small but vocal group of residents, the Burbank City Council recently adopted a plan to place signs along the Chandler Bikeway advising bicyclists to yield the right of way to pedestrians in bicycle lanes (“City approves Chandler signs,” April 4). Is the city begging for a lawsuit? Perhaps — and here’s why.

The Chandler Bikeway is a California Class 1 Bikeway — mostly paid for with funds provided by the federal government and the state of California. Its development was regulated by California Streets and Highways Code Section 890 primarily for the benefit of bicycle commuters, not socializing pedestrians (in spite of what City Council members at the time may have thought or now think). If you don’t believe me, Google it. Like all state roads and highways, its use is regulated by the California Vehicle Code, which includes some very interesting provisions. Among them:


California Vehicle Code Section 21211 states in part: “(a) No person may stop, stand, sit, or loiter upon any class I bikeway, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code, or any other public or private bicycle path or trail, if the stopping, standing, sitting, or loitering impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist.

“(b) No person may place or park any bicycle, vehicle or any other object upon any bikeway or bicycle path or trail, as specified in subdivision (a), which impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist unless the placement or parking is necessary for safe operation or is otherwise in compliance with the law.”

California Vehicle Code Section 21966 applies to pedestrians, stating: “No pedestrian shall proceed along a bicycle path or lane where there is an adjacent adequate pedestrian facility.”

The “rules of the road” for the Chandler Bikeway are defined in the California Vehicle Code.

The “Chandler Bikeway” is shown as such on maps, Google, and in publications distributed by transit agencies throughout California to commuters who ride bicycles.

The city of Burbank needs to live up to its agreements with the state and protect use of the bike lanes for cyclists as the law intends.

If signs are going to be placed along the bikeway, they should quote the above code sections, then let people decide what they want to do and take their chances accordingly.



Column provides a weekend treat

Because of Patrick Caneday, I finally look forward to the Saturday edition of the Burbank Leader.

His column is delightful. The Leader is lucky to have him — as am I.



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