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Here’s a question from a reader with an answer from the CHP:

QUESTION: As you likely know, a sinkhole on Asti Road between Zanzi Lane and Old Post Office Road has closed the road for the foreseeable future. I discovered this while cycling south from Cloverdale on Asti toward Geyserville, trying to get back home to Healdsburg. This road happens to be a major artery for cyclists riding from Santa Rosa area and returning to it.

A large sign reads: “Road Closed, use Highway 101,” which is accessible by a nearby entrance.

Here’s my question: As I recall, there is a California law that states that, if no other alternative exists, cyclists are allowed to enter the freeway (riding on shoulder of course) to achieve their intended destination. I lived in Southern California for 20 years and whenever the Marines closed Camp Pendleton between San Diego and San Clemente (for security or whatever) cyclists were allowed to ride on the I-5 freeway.

So today I simply entered the 101 and had a gleeful ride down to the Canyon Road exit, where I got off. I was imagining having a conversation with a Sonoma Co. Sheriff or CHP officer as I pulled over for exercising this “right.” Sure enough, just as I exited at Canyon Road, a Highway Patrol cruiser appeared behind me, but simply let me pedal away. I think the officer may have been scratching his/her head as much as I.

Perhaps you could query the CHP for their thoughts on this matter. MANY cyclists use this route, especially in winter, as it’s warmer up there. My only alternative would have been to turn around, ride back to Cloverdale, take Dutcher Creek Road to Dry Creek. But that does not take me where I wanted to go, which was Geyserville, and so I believe is within the intent of the law.

Scott

ANSWER from CHP Officer Jon Sloat: There is no exception in the Vehicle Code under these circumstances. When there is a sign on the on-ramp that prohibits bicycles, pedestrians, etc., they are not allowed, which is the case throughout Sonoma County. The sign that says “Use 101″ is intended for motorized vehicles. I just contacted County Roads, and they advised that the closure on Asti does extend to bikes. They recommend using Asti Store Road, which horseshoes around the closure. In any case, people need to find another way to get by because there is no plan on the horizon to fix the road.

AS FOR ELSEWHERE: Caltrans spokesman Phil Frisbie Jr. notes that all state highways in District 1 are open to bicyclists. That’s Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake and Mendocino counties.

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