I Disagree, Even Though SOME of the Motorists in Question Were Police
Still, What Would A Motorist Jury Say? The Road
DOES Have a Single Traffic Lane and "No Passing" Stripes
Technically, Any Overtaking Traffic Has No Legal Way to Pass a Cyclist
That is Controlling the Lane.
As I Read the Law, This is MY Call and I Favor the Traffic Lane Here
I Rarely Ride this Road Nowadays. Instead, I Ride a Busy 6 Lane Road With NO Shoulder
HOWEVER, true to my promise, here's my boring blog post in lieu of my boring blog comment.
Doohickie missed one major element. In all the laws cited, there is the element of choice and cyclist judgment. In truth, in the real world, there are places where a cyclist truly WOULD be a fool to attempt to vehicularly operate in the right hand traffic lane. Two examples should illustrate that point.
Example one. Cyclist rides down I-635, in the RH traffic lane, headed toward downtown Dallas shortly before traffic bogs down into stop and go. I drove that road in the Land Rover when I went to meet Keri Caffrey last year and it was stressful in a vehicle that'd crush most the other motorists if it came to a real crash. Example two. Cyclist rides down I-5, in the RH traffic lane, in the San Joaquin Valley of California, with foggy conditions, in marginal visibility. This is an area where 40 car crashes are not uncommon. While I won't go into details, John Forester emphasizes this point with another example in which he was truly frightened on a road with no shoulder due to the combination of speed and volume of the motor traffic.
OTOH, it's easy to cite examples where almost nobody would quarrel with a cyclist riding assertively in almost any position he/she chose. Anybody wants, I'll do another post citing a dozen such examples. In the Chip case, the first arresting officer actually stated that he felt Chip would NOT be impeding in the part of 287 that lacked a shoulder. That surprised Chip and I was also surprised by this since any real delay experienced by motorists was identical regardless of any shoulder or not, but it IS consistent with Doohickie's analysis.
In between these extremes, there is a boundary. I belive it's why all those laws that Doohickie cites say "may" and "necessary" and so on. I'm pretty sure my boundary, when riding is more aggressive than Doohickie's and not as aggressive as ChipSeal's. I think all three of our boundaries are more aggressive than what a typical motorist would expect. That variance in opinion is really why ChipSeal is in the cross-hairs of the local law enforcement community. None of them are bicycle cops. They drive patrol cars and that is their perspective.
What Doohickie missed in his evaluation, in my opinion, is that extremely wide discretion should be left to the one most affected by that boundary. That one is the cyclist making the call. While overtaking motorists are also endangered in theory, with modern safety equipment in cars, mostly the news story reads that "the motorist was unhurt." THAT is something I'm not convinced that the jury sitting in judgment fully weighed. If Chip makes the wrong call, it is HIS butt that gets mashed. The motorist has to take his car to a collision repair center. Absent evidence of insanity, I'll vote for the one on the line unless he's gotten to the point of the extreme examples where no reasonable person would go. Still, if a seasoned cyclist such as Practical Pragmatist tells me he routinely rides down the RH traffic lane on I-5 in the fog near Bakersfield, I'd like to hear details. IMHO, I think he, and pretty much every other cyclist (including Chip), agree there's some combination of heavy traffic and high speed that makes a bicycle in even the RH traffic lane a danger. The rub is there isn't a consensus as to where that boundary lies, and there's almost NO serious real safety data. Lots of expert opinions, but opinions are like armpits. People that don't ride think the boundary is FAR from where an experienced cyclist believes. Most cyclists are aware that if they get squished, the law will usually go out of its way to not call the other party into criminal proceedings unless things are pretty obvious. Chip knows this as much as any other cyclist that's ridden a lot. In truth, our real safety lies in the societal taboo against deliberate and premeditated mayhem against a stranger. If I get run over by a car, it'll most likely be my wife or one of my engineers at the wheel. I've told my engineers that if they want to run me over, they better make a clean job of it or else their performance reviews will be real ugly thereafter. Luckily, my wife is wonderful, though she did get a little irritated tonight when I kept interrupting the Olympics. I COULD think of this post as a safety measure. Why is it that women get irritated when we don't talk to them and then get even MORE irritated when we do?
Today, I polled my Aggie engineers about the wide improved shoulder, often known locally as the "Aggie Passing Lane." They all said that the decision about whether to pull onto that "lane" resided with the one being overtaken and should not be criticized absent obvious cussedness.
Was ChipSeal obviously cussed? Not having had to ride down 287 myself, I'd vote "no," but I'm obviously not a typical juror. As I told Chip while the jury was out, I wanted him charged for failure to signal his intent properly before he pulled off onto the shoulder. GUILTY OF SLOPPY SIGNALING! No appeal would be made. Perhaps Whareagle has turned me into a bike signal fanatic.
Only a Real Neanderthal, or Bubba's Regressive Brother Would Harass a Cyclist Riding Down
the Middle of THIS RH Lane. Riding in This Position, Cops Give Me a Friendly Wave Even if They are Feeling Crabby
Someone Riding Point-to-Point Has to Take All Types of Roads. Every Situation is Different