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How Does the California Vehicle Code Define a “Substandard Lane” Regarding Lane Sharing?

How Does the California Vehicle Code Define a “Substandard Lane” Regarding Lane Sharing?

Under Ca. Vehicle Code § 21202, individuals who are riding bicycles in the road and moving at a speed that is less than the average rate of traffic moving in the same direction are supposed to remain as close to the right-hand curb or edge of the road as possible. However, this code section sets forth several exceptions to this general rule.

For example, riders may deviate from this rule when they find it reasonably necessary to avoid specific conditions, including substandard width lanes. This section goes on to define “substandard width lanes” as lanes that are too narrow for a vehicle and a bicycle to travel safely side by side. The Vehicle Code does not explicitly define the exact length of a “too narrow” lane. Therefore, it can be very challenging to determine whether a bicycle rider has the right under this section to “take the lane” or use the entire lane of traffic without moving to the extreme right of the line. Vehicle Code sec 21760 – requiring at least three feet to exist between an automobile and a bicyclist, must be taken into consideration when calculating how much space is required in defining the adequate width of a lane.

Predictably, many drivers also fail to understand the concept of a “substandard width lane,” which results in them being angry when a bicycle takes the lane, forcing them to drive slower than they would like. What they don’t necessarily realize is that if the bicyclist is unable to take the lane, then he or she could be at risk of being hit in many, if not most, lanes of traffic.

Bicycle accidents that result when vehicles pass too closely to bicyclists are quite common, and the results for the bicyclists can be devastating. Even a slight impact by a vehicle can be enough to cause a bicyclist crash, often with disastrous results.

When you have been injured in a bicycle accident, you need an attorney who can stand up for your interests from the outset of your personal injury claim. It is our goal to evaluate the facts and assess your potential claim. This step will allow you to explore your options and help you build the most substantial claim for compensation possible. Do not hesitate to contact Bonnici Law Group at 619-259-5199 today and set up an appointment to speak with us soon.

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