A reader's photo of bicyclists on Bohemian Highway. He wonders if they're riding legally? Click to enlarge


I am sending you this letter and attachment in the hope that you will help educate the biking community to their responsibilities under the law. I  understand and support the individual bicycler’s right to share the road with me. But I do expect that each bicyclist follow the laws that govern their use of the roads.

A prime example of what gives bicyclists a bad reputation happened to me Saturday while driving from Occidental to Monte Rio on Bohemian Highway. The attached pictures shows the pack of bicyclists which were traveling below 20 mph in a 35-mph zone. They were riding three to four abreast and made no attempt to allow traffic the chance to pass, either by following the law or by pulling off the road when there was a pullout. After close to five miles of being obstructed, traffic was forced to pass them using the opposing traffic lane, possibly creating a hazardous situation for everyone involved. It would be great if you could have Jon Sloat (CHP) comment on the attached photo.  Can bicyclist ride in this fashion or could they receive a ticket for obstructing traffic? Matthew

Matthew also added this: Duty of Bicycle Operator: Operation On Roadway. VC 21202: Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at such time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.

From Road Warrior: CHP Officer Jon Sloat, the spokesman for the Sonoma County office, has addressed this issue before. CLICK HERE to read what he had to say about bicyclists. And CLICK HERE to read what he said about crossing double yellows to pass bicyclists.

Here’s the full California Vehicle Code 21202.  (a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:

(1) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.

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

(3) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge, subject to the provisions of Section 21656. For purposes of this section, a “substandard width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

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

(b) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway of a highway, which highway carries traffic in one direction only and has two or more marked traffic lanes, may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of that roadway as practicable.


I’d like to know why the intersection of Pacific Ave, and Mendocino Ave, is configured the way it is. Currently it’s set up so both Pacific Ave, and Bear Cub Way (exiting the Junior College) have a shared through and left-turn lane and a dedicated right-turn lane. What happens during times of heavy traffic, especially when classes just got out at the JC, is that traffic going straight causes traffic turning left to have to wait and traffic waiting to turn left causes everybody behind them to have to wait. It gets even worse when you add pedestrians to the mix. It seems to me that traffic would move much better if there were a dedicated left turn lane with a turn signal and a shared through and right turn lane. Andy


Your recent post on traffic lights reminded me of a question/annoyance I have had for quite some time now. So, I thought now would be a good time.

Ever since the Guerneville/Steele lane area under the freeway in Santa Rosa was reconfigured, there has been a huge problem with the lights there. The worst light is the one at Illinois Ave. and Steele Lane, especially at peak times that the JC has a lot of classes getting out. The timing of the lights is so bad that the conditions get unsafe very easily because cars end up in the middle of Steele Lane all the time. The problem is that there are too many lights that are too close together and they are not timed right. At least, in my opinion. The same thing also happens at the light from the southbound 101 offramp and Guerneville. Is there something that can be done to better time these lights at peak times during the day? Is there something already in the works?  A


This is an occasional feature in which we compile emails from readers commenting on road and traffic issues. You can email them to jim.fremgen@pressdemocrat.com. Please include your town.


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