It’s pretty obvious that the LAPD motorcycle cop in this video either doesn’t know the traffic laws regarding bicycles, or simply chooses not to refer to them.
The cop is filmed on a Venice bicycle path giving a speeding ticket to a bicyclist who minutes earlier had complained that the policeman’s motorcycle was blocking the path. The bicyclist is identified by NBCLosAngeles.com as Peter Jackson, 34, of Venice.
Jackson argues with the policeman, who tells him on camera: “The reason why I’m going to write you for unsafe speed is because you are arguing with me.”
The California Vehicle Code 22350 regulates motor vehicles on highways, so it was unclear how this pertained to a guy riding on a bike path.
Subsequently, the ticket was canceled “in the interest of justice,” according to the LAPD, and the department opened a personnel investigation.
Laws in your state
Recently, League of American Bicyclists legal analyst Ken McLeod completed the monumental task of reviewing the laws regarding bicycling in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
He compiled these into a state-by-state database that’s available at the League’s Legal Program & Bike Laws page. It reads:
“Riding a bike is a healthy, fun and safe activity. However, it isn’t without some risk.The following information highlights areas of law that may minimize that risk and have the potential to reduce conflicts between bikes and cars (and other traffic). These highlights only cover statewide laws and are not comprehensive.”
Find your state on the map, click it, and a list of state laws that pertain to bicycle use appear.
There are some law categories that are of interest in every state, such as helmet use, sidewalk riding, mandatory use of separate facilities, “Idaho stop” and vehicle detection equipment at intersections.
Other categories are just specific to individual states. The “vulnerable users law” is reviewed for Washington state, for instance. The law that went into effect last summer provides for the offense of negligent driving in the second degree when a vulnerable user — such as a bicyclist — is involved in a collision. The offense carries higher penalties.
Another summary of Washington state laws for bicyclists is provided by the Bicycle Alliance of Washington.
The statewide advocacy group sent out the Washington Bicycle Law Pocket Reference over the new year. The handy card fits in a jersey pocket or wallet.
The card lists important traffic laws pertaining to bicyclists and cites the laws in the traffic code. A few of these are:
“Bike riders have the same rights and responsibilities as car and truck drivers.”
“Bike riders should use turn lanes.”
“Bike riders are not required to use a bike lane or shoulder.”
“Bikes may ride two abreast, but not more.”
You can get copies of the Washington Bicycle Law Pocket Reference by email from firstname.lastname@example.org.