Posts Tagged ‘cvc’

CVC 21456: Did Pedestrian Sutchi Hui Have the Right-of-Way When He Walked Onto Castro Street? Possibly Not

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Let’s review:

“The light turned red as I was cruising through the middle of the intersection and then, almost instantly, the southern crosswalk on Market and Castro filled up with people coming from both directions.

So it looks as if cyclist Chris Bucchere didn’t run a red light.

Now, what about the law?

“21456.  Whenever a pedestrian control signal showing the words “WALK” or “WAIT” or “DON’T WALK” or other approved symbol is in place, the signal shall indicate as follows:

(a) “WALK” or approved “Walking Person” symbol. A pedestrian facing the signal may proceed across the roadway in the direction of the signal, but shall yield the right-of-way to vehicles lawfully within the intersection at the time that signal is first shown….”

What this is saying is that pedestrians in California need to let traffic clear an intersection before walking when the WALK turns on for them.

(Most pedestrians in San Francisco don’t seem to know this….)

“Pedestrians Always Have the Right of Way?” Uh, Shouldn’t the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Have Consulted a Lawyer Here?

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Are these 2012 “Rules of the Road” posted anywhere? I don’t know. [UPDATE: Here we go.]

Anyway, leave us begin:

“Pedestrians Always Have the Right of Way.”

UH, NOPE. THIS IS EXACTLY WRONG IN CALIFORNIA* AND THIS IS THE KIND OF BAD ATTITUDE THAT GETS PEOPLE KILLED. (I DON’T KNOW IF DRIVERS IN SAN FRANCISCO ARE ANY WORSE THAN THE U.S.  AVERAGE, BUT PEDESTRIANS IN THE 415 ARE _MUCH_ WORSE THAN AVERAGE. RIVALING BERKELEY’S. IF I WERE GIVING THEM ADVICE IN A PUBLIC FORUM, I’D TELL THEM TO STRAIGHTEN UP AND FLY RIGHT. I WOULDN’T TELL THEM A FALSEHOOD ABOUT CA LAW TO MAKE THEM FEEL GOOD ABOUT THEIR BAD BEHAVIOR.)

In the crosswalk or not, bike riders and drivers are required to yield to pedestrians. (CVC 21954 (b))”

UH, NOPE.** IF YOU MEAN TO SAY THAT DRIVERS SHOULD USE DUE CARE FOR THE SAFETY OF EVEN THE CRAZIEST PEDESTRIAN, THEN YOU’D BE ACCURATELY BE PARAPHRASING THE CITED CODE. BUT CALIFORNIA LAW IS SPECIFICALLY WRITTEN* TO STATE THAT PEDESTRIANS DO NOT “ALWAYS HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY.” TO REVIEW, IF YOU ARE A PED IN A CROSSWALK, MARKED OR UNMARKED, OR NEAR ENOUGH (SOMETIMES CLOSE IS CLOSE ENOUGH), AND YOU DIDN’T START TOO EARLY (THAT MEANS THAT YOU WAITED FOR TRAFFIC TO CLEAR THE INTERSECTION AFTER YOUR “WALK” LIGHT LIT UP) AND YOU DIDN’T START TOO LATE (LIKE WHEN THE WAIT LIGHT STARTS FLASHING), THEN, CONGRATULATIONS, YOU HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY. IF NOT, THEN YOU DON’T. SORRY. THAT’S WHY WHEN YOU GET KILLED BY A MUNI BUS ON HAYES STREET BY JAYWALKING LIKE WHAT JUST HAPPENED, THE DRIVER INVOLVED DOESN’T GET PUNISHED. THE REASON IS THAT YOU DIDN’T HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY. DOES THAT MEAN THAT DRIVERS HAVE A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY TO RUN YOU OVER ON PURPOSE WHEN YOU’RE JAYWALKING? NO IT DOES NOT.

Stop Behind the Crosswalk. Leave crosswalks free and clear for pedestrians. Always stop behind the line. (CVC 21950, 21455)

UH, HOW ABOUT IN FRONT OF OR AHEAD OF OR BEFORE THE CROSSWALK INSTEAD?

Stay on the Streets. It is illegal and unsafe to ride on the sidewalk if you are over the age of 13. (SF Transportation Code Sec. 7.2.12)

UH, ON SOME SIDEWALKS IT’S OK FOR ADULTS TO RIDE A BIKE, IT JUST DEPENDS. AND WHY IS IT “UNSAFE” FOR A 14-YEAR-OLD TO RIDE ON THE SIDEWALK BUT NOT A 13-YEAR-OLD?

Go With the Flow. Ride the same direction as traffic. Walk your bike on the sidewalk if you find yourself on the wrong block of a one-way street. (CVC 21650)

IRL, THIS IS MERELY ADVISORY IN SAN FRANCISCO. YOU COULD RIDE YOUR BIKE IN THIS FASHION ON A DAILY BASIS FOR DECADES AND NOT GET CITED FOR THIS.

Mind the Signs and Lights. Stop at stop signs and obey red lights, just like all other vehicles. (CVC 21200)

IRL, THIS IS MERELY ADVISORY IN SAN FRANCISCO. YOU COULD RIDE YOUR BIKE IN THIS FASHION ON A DAILY BASIS FOR DECADES AND NOT GET CITED FOR THIS.

Light up the Night! Reflectors and a front white light are required by law. We recommend you use a rear light as well. (CVC 21201)

WELL, _NOW_ YOU’RE TALKING. AGREE.

Take the Lane. Whether you’re next to parked cars, or there are hazards in the bike lane, if you feel safer, take the lane and ride outside the door zone. (CVC 21202)

THIS IS A SUBJECTIVE STANDARD UNSUPPORTED BY CALIFORNIA LAW. OH WELL.

It’s OK to Leave the Bike Lane. If you feel safer outside the bike lane, you can ride in other vehicle travel lanes. (CVC 21208)

MEH. SO WHY HAVE BIKE LANES THEN? I’LL TELL YOU, THE CALIFORNIA VEHICLE CODE DOESN’T REALLY DEAL WITH “FEELINGS” AT ALL, IRL.

Be a Friend to Disabled Neighbors. Sometimes people with disabilities need access to the curb. Paratransit carriers (including taxis) may have to enter the bikeway to drop them off. Be a good neighbor and give them room. (SFMTA Policy)

REALLY? I NEED TO CHECK TO SEE IF THE PERSON COMING OUT OF A CAB IS MY “DISABLED NEIGHBOR” BEFORE I DECIDE TO “GIVE THEM ROOM” OR NOT? THAT SOUNDS A LITTLE CRAY-CRAY, DOESN’T IT? MAYBE I’LL JUST GO AROUND PARKED TAXIS AS ANY SENSIBLE PERSON WOULD DO?

So there you have it.

Maybe they’ll get it right next year…

*”Every pedestrian upon a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway so near as to constitute an immediate hazard.”

**”The provisions of this section shall not relieve the driver of a vehicle from the duty to exercise due care for the safety of any pedestrian upon a roadway.”

Here’s What the Current SFPD Crackdown on Market Street Cyclists Looks Like – No Tickets Yet, But the Cops Will Yell at You

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

For some reason, Market Street has crosswalks in the middle of blocks, complete with traffic lights. So cyclists tend to look around for peds and then blow on through, multiple times a day, you know, for decades no problem.

But these days the SFPD is trying to change things by actually enforcing California Vehicle Code CVC 21453 on bike riders just as if they were car drivers!

But, I wouldn’t call this a sting* or nothing, I mean, it’s just the cops slowing you down to yell at you at bit.

This boring video of three minutes of yesterday’s inbound commute here shows what it’s like – the motorcycle cop had just yelled at the cyclist you can see on the right at the red light:

(The yelling occurred at :40 or so.)

One supposes the next step in this operation will be to have the SFPD actually start handing out citations.

(Actually, cops don’t really like citing cyclists, for various reasons. One supposes that this is an enforcement action specifically directed at bike riders. This kind of thing occurs from time to time of course.)

On It Goes…

*”A typical sting will have a law-enforcement officer or cooperative member of the public play a role as criminal partner or potential victim and go along with a suspect’s actions to gather evidence of the suspect’s wrongdoing.”

Do You Need a Rear Brake on Your Bike to be Legal in California? I Don’t Know Anymore

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

You know, I think they went and changed VC 21201 on me. It used to talk about being able to make your rear wheel skid, but now:

“21201.  (a) No person shall operate a bicycle on a roadway unless it is equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make one braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement.”

I’ll have to look into this.

Here we have a bike with no rear brake on McAllister. (I know what you’re thinking, but this bike isn’t a fixie, it freewheels.) 

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Not exactly safe, IMO, but not necessarily illegal either, apparently…

The Special, So Very Special, Official License Plates of Your California State Senators and Assembly Members

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Your horrible Department of Motor Vehicles has all the deets on those “A” and “S” license plates you might occasionally notice about town.

Let’s see here:

A is for Assembly, S is for Senate, numbers represent the district concerned, R is for Retired and E is for the Extra car that Retired Senators sometimes acquire.

It’s all from CVC section §5002.8, which got approval from…. the California Senate and Assembly, believe it or not. Special they are.

Here’s a helpful chart:

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Now I’ll tell you, even some CHiPs don’t know how to read these plates, so don’t feel bad.

Here, you can practice on this car. Oops, it’s from Massachusetts. Oh well. It looks special as well, tho.

I think that’s how you can save yourself a lot of money – just use out-of-state plates like so many others do…

Happy motoring!

Dear SFMTA: Your Bike Lights Aren’t Really Bike Lights, So They Don’t Satisfy the California Vehicle Code

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

See what the SFMTA is giving out for free these days? It’s a Chinese flashlight with an adjustable mount so it can be used as a bike headlight. The problem with that is that it’s insufficient to put a nighttime cyclist in compliance with the California Vehicle Code. Check it:

Equipment Requirements. VC 21201 d) Every bicycle operated upon any highway during darkness shall be equipped with the following: 1. A lamp emitting a white light which illuminates the highway and is visible from a distance of 300 feet to the front and the sides of the bicycle.

This setup up sends out zero light to the sides. In fact, the way it’s made it sort of has a hood. Now, it’s not illegal per se and it’s better than nothing but it’s not up to code in California, you know, where we all live.

Also, this jury rigged system is ridiculous. For example, it’s too bright, IMO. So if it’s pointed level with the ground then it will be certain to irritate oncoming traffic. Build quality is lower than standard if the standard is a typical Chinese flashlight. (It doesn’t say “Made in China” or anything, which was probably a selling point for the buyer, but where else could it have been made?) The big attraction for SFMTA with this setup must have been the giant SFMTA logo. Hey, SFMTA! Did it cost more to put the logo on than to buy these sub-$5 one-star-rated lights in the first place?

Now, click here to see a real bike light, with a blinking function, a decent quick release, longer time betwixt battery changes, and, of course, it complies with the CVC. Oh well.

And here’s what SFMTA thinks is a bike light:

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And as for the rear lights they’re giving out, they’re flimsy as all get-out, but that’s nothing that couldn’t be fixed with some super glue. The best course with those red lights would be to just glue the entire affair to itself and leave it on the bike 24-7.

I know what you’re trying to do, SFMTA, but you never do anything right. Why not try to do one small program that’s not FUBARed from the get-go? (Or maybe somebody can tell me something that the SFMTA does right?)

(Hey, SFMTA! Remember that big meeting when Nate Ford was maybe just a tad agitated about that big article, the one he “never read(!),” in the SF Weekly that was all about how you suck as an agency? Wouldn’t it be funny if somebody, maybe one of your very own, somehow made an mp3 audio recording of that little get-together? You know, surreptitious-like? Boy, that’d be funny, huh? Good times.)

Anyway, there’s no law that says you can’t give away flashlights to advertise your agency, but calling them bike lights, that’s what I’m taking issue with.

Resolved: Parking Your Car Half a Yard from the Curb Might be Legal, But it Isn’t Right

Friday, May 28th, 2010

As long as you follow all the other parking rules of California and San Francisco, you are fully empowered to park a foot and half away from a curb and still be legal.

But, c’mon dude, is this the best you can do?

Click to expand

How about a new law? How about six inches max for San Francisco?

I mean, sometimes there’s not enough room on the streets even if you have rubber touching the curb.

Thank you, drive through.

Now, Go Forth and Sin No More.

How to Roll Through North Beach in Your GM B-Body on a Saturday Night

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

The first thing you need to do with your General Motors [1908-2009, R.I.P]  B-Platform [1959-1991, R.I.P.] is a lift (some people use stacks of hockey pucks) so you can fit your twenty-something inch wheels beneath. And then you need to tint the windows in violation of the California Vehicle Code. Now, you’re done.

Get your friends inside and you’re ready for a slow roll down Columbus. (Menancing stares through half-closed windows optional.) Thusly:

Click to expand

Of course, you can just go out and buy a B-Body if you don’t have one.

Choose wisely: 

 

Attention Pedestrians: Green Does Not Mean Go in San Francisco

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

The failings of the drivers of San Francisco are well-documented…

…but what about pedestrians - how are they doing?

Not well, based upon their behavior in the Financh and other nearby districts. Let’s take a look at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission‘s “Safety Toolbox: Common Violations for Pedestrian-Involved Collisions” for some help:

Common pedestrian-at-fault violations

Pedestrian Violation Outside Crosswalk 21954.A  Pedestrians Outside Crosswalks
Pedestrian Violation at Crosswalk 21950.B  Right-of-Way at Crosswalks
Pedestrian Violation of Signals 21451.C  Circular Green or Green Arrow21451.D  Circular Green or Green Arrow

21453.D  Circular Red or Red Arrow

21456.A  Walk, Wait, or Don’t Walk

21456.B  Walk, Wait, or Don’t Walk

21462.  Obedience to Traffic Control Signals

Jaywalking 21955.  Crossing Between Controlled Intersections
Pedestrian on Roadway 21956.  Pedestrian on Roadway

The problem is that lots of peds violate California Vehicle Code Section 21451(c) and 21456(a) without knowing it. That is, they routinely enter crosswalks immediately after their light turns green. That’s a no-no in CA unless you make sure that traffic has cleared the intersection first.

21451(c) A pedestrian facing a circular green signal… may proceed across the roadway within any marked or unmarked crosswalk, but shall yield the right-of-way to vehicles lawfully within the intersection at the time that signal is first shown.”

“21456 Whenever a pedestrian control signal showing the words “WALK” or “WAIT” or “DONT WALK” or other approved symbol is in place, the signal shall indicate as follows: (a) “WALK” or approved “Walking Person” symbol.  A pedestrian facing the signal may proceed across the roadway in the direction of the signal, but shall yield the right-of-way to vehicles lawfully within the intersection at the time that signal is first shown.”

Can a ped get a ticket for blocking a car? Yes, but I’ve never heard of it. Prices start at $108 - I’m sure that they can easily exceed that what with court fees and whatnot.

21451(c,d) Green Signal–Pedestrian Responsibilities $108.00

So, green does not mean go. Green means go after the intersection has cleared – this applies to pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, everybody.

The real concern for pedestrians is them being held at fault after being hit by a vehicle. The issue turns on whether the driver entered into the intersection on a red light or not. When you encounter Third Street and Market, where cars need to travel 175+ feet to clear the intersection, extra vigilance is needed. The only thing keeping most pedestrians from immediately crossing on a green is a caravan a slowly moving cars trying to clear the intersection.

So you can continue living your life thinking that cars are running red lights at every busy intersection during every light cycle, or you can learn the PEDESTRIAN CROSSWALK DUTIES in California.

Your choice, ped.

Bikes, Car Doors and California Law – An Incident at the Juicy Couture

Monday, August 24th, 2009

I gotta tell you I don’t know a whit about the Yelp-rated Juicy Couture store at 865 Market Street. What I do know is that its manifest succulence makes it a magnet for tourists like these folks with the  white Subaru wagon from the east bay. Since Juicy has an address on Market, drivers are apt to stop right out front to drop off passengers. But the problem with that is that it blocks half of the inbound lanes.

And sometimes you get “doorings,” detailed below.

After the creating the recent “Incident at Juicy Couture,” these east bay tourists moved along to a parking cutout in front of the the bebe reserved for commercial vehicles. That’s one way to do it:

IMG_9984 copy

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The thing is that these days, lots of people are riding bikes on Market Street. Back in the day, there used to be more bike messengers, but now it’s mostly people commuting to work in the Financh and the SoMA. So, when you open your car door you need to make sure that you’re not going to “door” a cyclist that’s zipping by your vehicle.

Does California have a special law covering this issue? Of course. The DMV calls it “Opening and Closing Doors”

“22517.  No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of such traffic…”

What that means is that it’s almost impossible to door a cyclist without it being your fault. Typically, a dooring results from the driver trying to exit a parked vehicle. But the driver in the Subie above didn’t get out of the car. In this case the driver left some room, maybe two or three feet, between the right side of the wagon and the curb. That left enough space for a cyclist to come through and then get surprised when a passenger on the right side opened a door to exit.

The author of California Vehicle Code Section 22517 seems not to have anticipated  the possibility of “moving traffic” flowing past both sides of a parked vehicle, but any injuries to the cyclist would almost certainly be the fault of the passenger or the driver (depending on the circumstances).

Now in other states, things might be different – O.K. fine. (Actually, in other states, they say things like, “My Door Almost Got ‘Biked.’”

But in California, you need to take extra care before opening your car door. Just saying.