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Here’s a few questions from a reader:

Is it legal for a pedestrian to use the bike lane instead of the sidewalk (usually joggers do this, as the asphalt is softer on the joints)?  What if there is no sidewalk? What about garbage cans in the bike lane.  Is it legal to use a traffic lane for garbage pickup if there is no shoulder or sidewalk? Deanna

The answers come from the California Vehicle Code.

For your first question, Section 21966 says,  “No pedestrian shall proceed along a bicycle path or lane where there is an adjacent adequate pedestrian facility.” So the answer appears to be no, they can’t, unless there’s not a sidewalk. But it seems doubtful a pedestrian or jogger would get ticketed unless he/she was causing traffic or other problems.

As for garbage cans, I didn’t find a reference to garbage cans per se, but Section 21211 does refer to garbage trucks and the collection of rubbish. Here’s the section:

“(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.

“(c) This section does not apply to drivers or owners of utility or public utility vehicles, as provided in Section 22512.

“(d) This section does not apply to owners or drivers of vehicles who make brief stops while engaged in the delivery of newspapers to customers along the person’s route.

“(e) This section does not apply to the driver or owner of a rubbish or garbage truck while actually engaged in the collection of rubbish or garbage within a business or residence district if the front turn signal lamps at each side of the vehicle are being flashed simultaneously and the rear turn signal lamps at each side of the vehicle are being flashed simultaneously.

“(f) This section does not apply to the driver or owner of a tow vehicle while actually engaged in the towing of a vehicle if the front turn signal lamps at each side of the vehicle are being flashed simultaneously and the rear turn signal lamps at each side of the vehicle are being flashed simultaneously.”

Then to fully understand Section 21211, you need to know what subdivision (a) of Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code says. And that’s here, along with the other subsections:

“(a) Class I bikeways, such as a “bike path,” which provide a completely separated right-of-way designated for the exclusive use of bicycles and pedestrians with crossflows by motorists minimized.

“(b) Class II bikeways, such as a “bike lane,” which provide a restricted right-of-way designated for the exclusive or semiexclusive use of bicycles with through travel by motor vehicles or pedestrians prohibited, but with vehicle parking and crossflows by pedestrians and motorists permitted.

“(c) Class III bikeways, such as an onstreet or offstreet “bike route,” which provide a right-of-way designated by signs or permanent markings and shared with pedestrians or motorists.”

So without asking a traffic judge for a ruling, it appears that it’s OK to put garbage cans at the curb in a “bike lane.”

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