Share the road, it's the law


Metro is launching a new campaign to increase bicycle traffic safety in Los Angeles County.  The campaign will include signs on buses, billboards and radio spots with the message “Every Lane is a Bike Lane … Bicyclists may need a full lane; Please share the road.” The ads will run from March to May, leading up to Bike Week May 13 through 17.

As per California Vehicle Code (CVC) 21200, bicycle riders may use any lane in the street since they have the same rights and must follow the same laws as car drivers. Bicyclists may need the full lane to safely navigate specific road and traffic conditions. In addition, CVC 21202 sets out several situations in which bicyclists are specifically permitted to leave their usual position on the far right of the street:

  • To avoid obstacles and unsafe conditions (including the door zone along parallel-parked vehicles)
  • To pass another bicyclist, car or bus
  • To prepare for a left turn
  • To avoid an area where right turns are made
  • When traveling as fast or faster than other traffic at that time and place
  • When the lane is too narrow to share with a vehicle

With bicycling growing in popularity as a serious mode of transportation, it’s important for everyone to work together to create a safe transit environment.

Categories: Transportation News

36 replies

  1. […] Metro is running a bicycle traffic safety campaign in anticipation of Bike to Work Week May 13-17, 2013. Under California state law, cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities on the road as car drivers, and that means that they may use any lane and might need use of the full lane to navigate the road conditions safely. Share the road everyone! […]

  2. If there aren’t any plans on making a bumper sticker of that picture, can we make our own bumper stickers, with that image? (If so, how would we go by getting a print quality version of the graphic?)

    • I think you’re fine to make your own bumper sticker if you wish and I’ll send your idea upstairs, too. I’ll ask around about getting a higher resolution version for printing.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

    • Hi Cuong,

      The idea for bumper stickers has been pitched, it remains to see if Metro’s marketing has the budget to produce them. (Personally I’d like them to be available for CivLAvia, or Bike Week in May…fingers crossed!)

      Anna Chen
      The Source, Writer

  3. Lg: It’s not a new rule. Bicyclists have had the right to use the full lane when safety requires it (and it often requires it) since 1975. They also had that right before 1963. The keep right rule without explicit exceptions for safety only existed for 12 years and ceased to exist 38 years ago.

    Nobody should run red lights but I see very few bicyclists actually running red lights. When I do, I usually see them slow down and make sure it’s clear first. I almost never see them have a close call running a red light. That doesn’t make it OK but it also isn’t the safety issue that many people want to pretend that it is.

  4. I do agree with this..
    However please will cyclists stop at red lights? So many jump them and almost hit pedestrians.. Can’t be one rule for one I’m afraid!!!

  5. Some members of my local bike club are expressing doubt that this campaign is being paid for by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro). Please confirm.

    • Hi Robert,

      I’m not sure how to confirm that. Metro’s marketing team designed the posters that will appear on buses and billboards. They also came up with the radio spots. This is part of the Mayor’s Board Directives on Bicycle Safety, put into motion by Metro’s Bike Program.

      Anna Chen
      The Source, Writer

  6. “several situations in which bicyclists are specifically permitted to leave their usual position on the far right of the street”

    There is no such position. Cyclists are required to ride only as far right as practicable and safe. On most roads, this is the center of the travel lane. In practice, the farther right you ride, the less safe you are.

  7. Can I buy a bumper sticker with that image?.. It would be permanent education to other drivers… That is… when I HAVE TO use my car.

    • Hi Patrick,

      I don’t know if that idea will ever become a reality, but I like it!

      Anna Chen
      The Source, Writer

  8. Metro, great ad! Keep ’em coming! We appreciate your support in making roads safer and feel the love from this ad. Cheers to your design team, they have done it again!

  9. @mk4524: Indeed. Almost every time that I am in my car and not going as fast as I would like, it has nothing to do with a bicyclist. Like the stop sign complaint, the complaint by some that bicyclists are slowing them down is just an excuse to rationalize their delusions of entitlement. Moving over to pass a bicycle safely is one of the easiest things to do in driving. The problem is that these people think that they are entitled to not move over to pass a bicyclist. They think that the road is for them and not for bicyclists. The law says otherwise.

  10. The last time I went to traffic school for a traffic violation, the instructor took us to a stop sign in the local neighborhood to count the number of cars who came to a full stop. He said when you come to a full stop, your head jerks forward slightly so it would be easy to see.

    Yes, bicyclists sail through stop signs but there were almost no cars who came to a full stop.

    Reminds me of a friend who got a ticket for running a stop sign where the cop told him the sign said “stop”, it did not say “hesitate”.

    I hear the complaint over and over again about bicyclists running stop sidns but it seems to be ok for a car to “second gear” through a stop sign.

    As far as cyclists slowing down traffic when they’re in a traffic lane? When I’m driving in heavy traffic, a lot of times it’s a slow driver at the front, almost never a bicyclist.

  11. What’s more annoying is people riding against traffic, especially in a bike lane with arrows clearly marking the flow of traffic.

  12. @Marc Caruso: I have seen bicyclists run stop signs at full speed, though I admit, it’s rare. I have seen motorists do the same though again, it’s rare. Most people who run stop signs actually do what they are supposed to do at yield signs.

    Of course, most people don’t seem to know what an actual yield sign means.

  13. Most cyclists treat stop signs as yields signs I have never seen a cyclist run a stop sign at full speed. I do yield at some stop signs without actually stopping. On lesser travelled roads I come to a stop sign slowing but not stopping look both ways if no traffic is coming I will go through it. In some states this is even legal for cyclists to do. If traffic is coming I stop. Personally I believe all states should follow the example of ohio and make it so cyclists may legally treat stop signs as yield signs.

  14. Shaun is right. Shall we keep the focus on that, please? It is confusing to drivers when some cyclists run stop signs routinely and some behave like cars. In fact, as a careful cyclist I’ve found there’s almost no traffic-flow advantage because a significant number of cars are expecting me to behave unpredictably. I might as well run stop signs and lights, weave in and out of traffic, if I can get away with it.

    I wish cyclists would only run stop signs after pausing and seeing there is no traffic OR they are on the right of the car. They should not run stop signs when they do not have the right of way AND there is other traffic in the intersection.

    In some cases, they do this because they are not licensed drivers and they do not know the rules of the road, and they observe older cyclists, who should know the rules of the road, doing it. Better education in high schools would help but not solve the problem.

  15. I can understand the annoying and seemingly inconsiderate actions of bicyclist at stop signs. Yes there are plenty of cyclist who bike with disregard for the rules; a fact which attracts a lot of rebellious minds to bike. The view on stop signs for cyclist though, is based on a tenuous grasp on what it’s like to be a cyclist.

    On an average day I ride around 20-30 miles. This not recreational, nor for athletic competition, but simply a person who has to be in various parts of LA on a given day. I do realize my vicarious life is an extreme example, but it gives me a lot of time in the saddle and a clear perspective of the road from a cyclist.

    Most stop signs are in neighborhoods, separated by a couple blocks. Now if you’ve grown up in LA, you’ve seen stop signs are added in after the fact to neighborhoods. Because people drive too fast, absurdly fast, and I’m not talking about going 45( although that is the norm) I’m talking 35, 30, 25 on a residential street. Rarely will you ever see a kid play on the street he lives on and probably never will (think huaser).

    I’m not naive, I realize we live in a city. people need to get places( although I doubt most of you are going out to preform surgery, most likely ten minutes late). but tis’ the reality. The cars turn the road into a hostile place, because a car with 200hp would just feel silly at 15 in a neighborhood.

    so this is where the bicyclist lives, next to the three-ton bullies. Where it would take a cyclist at full stop about eight seconds to cross an intersection; the car in the opposite direction would take two second to get to twenty and hit you. enough to easily break bones, and it has in my case( just a fracture though).

    What I do, I do to protect my self. To keep a good speed, so the car which can’t pass me won’t flip his lid and attack( has happened). To get out of the intersection before the impatient drive tries to swerve around me clipping my back wheel (has happened, drove off in a haste too). I time my crossing usually with a car, I look ahead and slow down to let a car pass before I get there. I make dangerous and tough decisions everyday on a bike, and I’m only talking about neighborhood streets

    I don’t think people should have to worry this much when they bike. Unfortunately they should, and sadly most don’t and won’t. most dedicated cyclist see the danger and want to eliminate it from our streets. Streets are the largest public space we have, but the scope of infrastructure is only set up to facilitate cars. asking why bikes ride like they do is like asking: why a dog doesn’t swim like a seal in the ocean?

  16. Good job, Metro! That’s a concise summary of the reasons that bicycle users may need to occupy a lane on a street without bike lanes. For streets with bike lanes, CVC 21208 (“Permitted Movements From Bicycle Lanes”) says:

    “(1) When overtaking and passing another bicycle, vehicle, or pedestrian within the lane or about to enter the lane if the overtaking and passing cannot be done safely within the [bike] lane.

    (2) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

    (3) When reasonably necessary to leave the bicycle lane to avoid debris or other hazardous conditions.

    (4) When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.”

    John Ciccarelli
    League Cycling Instructor (bicycle driver education & coaching) (Yelp & Facebook: Bicycle Solutions)
    San Francisco

  17. @shaun
    typical response from a person who just doesn’t get it. keep in mind that there are cyclists who break the rules just as how there are drivers who break the rules. stop referring back to the “guilty by association” response. it is played out and only shows how dumb you are.

  18. This is a world class, brilliant campaign, for which all involved should be congratulated, and all LA citizens should be markedly proud, as they are clearly living in one of the world’s most progressive, intelligent, and forward-thinking communities in the “free” (capitalist, fossil-fuel driven) world.
    Well done, LA!

  19. @Shaun B: I see motorists run stop signs all the time too. A month or so I watch a driver hit a pedestrian who had a walk signal in a crosswalk. Motorists who break the law are far more dangerous.


  21. Shaun B,

    I see cars do “rolling stops” every single day in my neighborhood. Unsignaled turns, speeding, running red lights, driving at night with no lights – you name it, it is happening on the streets of LA on my tiny 3 mile bike commute every single day.

    So, yeah, bike riders should obey the law. Everyone ought to obey the law!

    Next comment will be about lycra, bike rider arrogance, bike ride licensing, helmets, or Agenda 21 in 3 … 2 …

  22. If bikes are treated like cars, they should stop at stop signs jot yield. It’s so annoying to see bicyclists running stop signs.