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Wednesday, November 26 2014 @ 12:07 AM UTC

The third time is a charm on cyclists don't have the responsibility to move aside

Bike LawsWashcycles coverage: Buffer rule confusion at the Sun
[B' Spokes: I'll note that it's rather sad what started out of coverage of our 3' buffer rule turned into a misstatement of "The law says the bicyclist has the responsibility to move aside and let you pass. " With no mention of 3' or more space.]
Original story:

According to Young, the bicycle "has all the rights and responsibilities" of any other vehicle. One of those responsibilities, he said, is to avoid impeding traffic.
...
The law says the bicyclist has the responsibility to move aside and let you pass.
http://www.baltimoresun.com/features/commuting/bs-md-dresser-getting-there-1004-20101004,0,6224574.story

"Correction" #1:

A bicycle on the road is considered a vehicle and has exactly the same rights as any other vehicle on the road. In fact, Maryland Motor Vehicle Law states that "every person operating a bicycle or a motor scooter in a public bicycle area has the rights granted to and is subject to all the duties required of the driver of a vehicle by this title."
...
In the state’s approved driver’s education curriculum, 15 miles an hour below the posted speed limit is used as a benchmark for impeding traffic. This information is only meant as a guideline and is not a legal requirement. Good judgment regarding the safety of all vehicles and individuals must always be exercised.
http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/traffic/2010/10/mva_chief_replies_to_bicyclist.html

This not at all what I would consider a correction, so they are a little fuzzy at what's the exact speed difference a cyclist is required to pull over, like that's supposed to help a lot.

"Correction" #2:
Michael Dresser tries to pull it all together and has a lot of nice advice and has this to say on impeding traffic:

As I approached a curve, I came up behind a bicyclist who was clearly struggling with an uphill slope. Despite all exertions, he was unable to sustain more than about 10 mph in a 30-mph zone. Though he was as far to the right as one could reasonably ask, there was no room to pass and no shoulder for him to pull onto.

The result: I had to slow to bike speed for maybe 30 seconds until there was enough room to safely pass. Somehow I survived the ordeal. Most motorists would, too, though you wouldn't know it from the lamentations of some drivers.

In this case, the bicyclist did the right thing staying in his lane — even if it meant temporarily slowing traffic. That's far different from impeding it.

But there are cases where the bicyclist can and should pull over and let cars pass, using a shoulder, a driveway or a patch of gravel. Are they legally compelled to? Probably not. But as bike advocate Jeffrey H. Marks wrote: "If the road doesn't straighten out or widen within a reasonable time, then the bicyclist should try to find a safe area where he can pull off the road to let faster traffic pass."
http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2010-10-11/features/bs-md-dresser-getting-there-1011-20101011_1_bicyclist-bike-speed-bike-advocate

This is certainly better then the original statement by Young:

The law says the bicyclist has the responsibility to move aside and let you pass.

And really is it so unreasonable of me to hyperventilate over the original statement by Young? Obviously having someone of authority to say what the laws says assert that by law you have to move aside and might take a spill in a ditch is nothing to get excited about. The fact that Dresser intercedes in this matter is quite telling. Besides what do I know? I'm only actively involved with bicycling legislation and do not have MVA's expertise of being involved with solely motor vehicle laws. [/sarcasm]

Michael Dresser then concludes:

As the MVA's Kuo put it in his letter, "all vehicles operating on our roadways should exercise an abundance of caution and courtesy at all times to help prevent accidents."

Is anyone — on two wheels, four or 12 — offended by that?
http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2010-10-11/features/bs-md-dresser-getting-there-1011-20101011_1_bicyclist-bike-speed-bike-advocate


Read more for my defense of hyperventilated accusations

"MVA is actively engaging in creating a hostile cycling environment by incorrectly telling motorists that cyclists must ride as far right as practical, [(in the Drivers' Handbook)]" the writer hyperventilated on the Baltimore Spokes website. Actually Young told riders nothing of the sort.

Ahhh ... this is what Young said:

The law says the bicyclist has the responsibility to move aside and let you pass.

I have to ask where then did Young imply we should go on a [narrow] winding country road if not far right? ? Up in the air? In the ditch?

I will note that since 2005 I have been actively complaining about the Drivers' Manual statement of telling motorists we are required to ride far right. For safety they should be telling drivers we have a right to take the right lane (or better yet Dresser 's last column) then just this:

A bicycle should be operated as close to the right side of the road as practical and safe. However, cyclists are expected to use turn lanes. pg 57 http://www.mva.maryland.gov/resources/dl-002b.pdf

I find it perverse for MVA to tell motorists that we are required to ride far right as practical and then Young to say we are required to move aside and then have MDOT tell cyclists to take the lane when it is to narrow to safely share side by side with no mention of the requirement to move aside.

This creates a hostile cycling environment and if MVA doesn't like it then correct the Drivers' Manual already and retract the statement we are required by law to move aside.

OK I hyperventilating but for 5 years they have not correct this, I'm sorry but it is maddening. MVA should be in charge of describing the dance of traffic between motorists and cyclists and so far they have failed miserably at it and the last go around is no different.
Additionally I would like to note that our coverage of What the 3' law says and doesn't say which has been getting a lot of positive press all the poor examples (comes real close to factual distortions plus two factual error) all come form the MVA site. Additionally I would like to point out MVA incorrectly stating Making or attempting to make a justify turn; and Operating in a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle which is totally missing "and motor vehicle to safely share side by side" is really suspicious of having bias against bicyclists.

Typo's are one thing but when a pattern starts to emerge that tries to portray laws so they give cyclists less rights then what they have is a whole other mater. It is MVA's job to present the laws fairly and not just a semblance of them to mislead. Patterns like this should not be tolerated or at least they should be immediately corrected. What do you think?

And there is the issue of the MVA's Drivers' test Drivers test; theirs vs ours. Maybe I over reacted but there is a lot of junk piling up over at MVA.

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