Bicycle lanes have been a part of the American driving landscape for decades, with California pioneering their development 50 years ago. The tiny town of Davis, California saw the very first bike lane, which was slightly less than a mile long, painted onto one of its streets in late July 1967. Since that time, bike lanes have sprung up all over the place and can be seen just about everywhere, from small towns to large cities and municipalities of all sizes.
Along with bicycle lanes have come a series of laws to help keep users of those lanes safe. Various laws concerning bicycle lanes are covered by California Vehicle Codes 21200 through 21213, allowing for a wide variety of regulations that are to be followed by both bicyclists and motorists alike. A violation of any one of vehicle codes can result in a bicyclist or motorist receiving a ticket from a law enforcement officer. California Vehicle Code 21209 covers several points related to motorists’ behavior regarding the lanes.
CVC 21209 states:
(a) No person shall drive a motor vehicle in a bicycle lane established on a roadway pursuant to Section 21207 except as follows:
- To park where parking is permitted.
- To enter or leave the roadway.
- To prepare for a turn within a distance of 200 feet from the intersection.
(b) This section does not prohibit the use of a motorized bicycle in a bicycle lane, pursuant to Section 21207.5, at a speed no greater than is reasonable or prudent, having due regard for visibility, traffic conditions, and the condition of the roadway surface of the bicycle lane, and in a manner which does not endanger the safety of bicyclists.
As you can see, CVC 21209 covers several aspects of how motorists can violate proper usage of bicycle lanes including parking, entering or leaving the roadway and preparing for a turn to be made at an upcoming intersection, as well as limited use of a motorized bicycle in bike lanes.
Bicycle Lane Violations can effect your Permanent Driving Record
While there are some vehicle codes that seem pretty cut and dried, there is actually quite a bit of leeway in the determination of whether a violation actually occurred. The burden of proof ultimately lies on the officer.
In the event law enforcement sees a driver violating any one of the points covered under CVC 21209, a traffic ticket is likely to be issued. One of these traffic tickets will cost a driver $237 in fines and fees, as well as a point added to their driver’s license.
If you received a violation for driving in the bike lane, reach out to our knowledgable team to understand what options you have available to keep your driving record clear. You can also submit your citation for a free review.