Saturday, April 3, 2010

know your rights -- an internet spoke card

in light of adrienne's recent experience, i thought perhaps it would be good to provide a list of resources for you to share amongst yourselves and with others you come in contact with who may, unfortunately, find themselves on the adrienne-side of the story. i've also included links which provide educational programs for police officers to know bicycle rights for you to share with your community. these links deal with laws in the united states, but perhaps can be used as a model for our international readers if none exist or need to be improved upon.

the above flier is distributed by the SFBC explaining a portion of the california vehicle code. the same information may not be applicable in your state or country.

over at massbike, they have:
  • state bike law list: (CYLRAB wants you to please note that laws change frequently and may not be updated to reflect the most recent legislative development)
  • law officer's guide to bicycle safety: "In 2002, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded a grant to MassBike to develop a national program to educate police departments about laws relating to bicyclists. ... The program is intended to be taught by law enforcement officers to law enforcement officers as a stand-alone resource. The major objective of the program is to give law enforcement officers of all backgrounds the tools they need to properly enforce the laws that affect bicyclists. The program focuses on all police officers, including those who may not be interested in bicycling or who are not able to attend in-depth trainings."
the league of american bicyclists has a few good resources:
  • bike education program: "On our roadways, bikes are treated as vehicles. Simply knowing how to ride a bike is not the same as knowing how to operate a bike safely and legally."
  • national network of lawyers and expert witnesses: "Our network of lawyers and expert witnesses are passionate cyclists, well versed in the legal issues we face and guided by our Legal Committee." (-- please note that CYLRAB does not endorse the attorneys or expert witnesses included in those links. the links are provided merely for informational purposes.)
  • speak up on the behalf of cyclists: "We have developed several bicycling public service announcements cyclists can use to spread the word about our rights to the road. Usually, all it takes to help change public attitudes about cycling is to speak up." (emphasis mine)
our own awesome local bike advocacy organization, SF bike coalition, has some san francisco-based resources:
  • bike law 101: "Although bicycling in the city is usually free, easy, and culturally gracious, there are sometimes moments when the system doesn't roll your way and things get unpleasant, even nasty. Cyclists must deal with careless unyielding drivers, the threat of bike theft, and undereducated authorities and institutions. Whether it's a crash with a car door or a traffic ticket for a blown stop sign, it's good to know your rights under the law."
  • police bicycle training video:

los angeles-based ciudad de luces, a latino cycling advocacy group, has created a spanish language resource guide, including some legal information, for people who leer en español. download it here.

obviously, these links are just the tip of the internet iceberg, but they are a good start to helping you find your way around a bit.

the one positive thing to come out of this unfortunate circumstance is the reinforcement that we belong to a great tight-knit community that has a voice and gets shit done. and on that note, i'll leave you with a link to the la-based bike writers collective's cyclists bill of rights. it's pretty badasssse. you can download the PDF of it here.


  1. OK. This is why we rock! I get us in trouble and Cali busts out the legal stuff! Gotta love it : )

  2. This is great! And you know what I would like in addition? Cards for drivers, that we could calmly hand to them when they mistakenly believe that we are doing something subversive and illegal by being on the road - and subsequently shout at us.

  3. Many people do that already. I have always wondered how well it works.

  4. and here is the background audio ;-)
    k.y.r 1983

    joe yo te quiero infinito, yo te quiero oh mi corazón

  5. @velouria & @ade: we're talking about making some, and in different languages too.

    i guess we can figure out how well it works by trying it out. let me know if you want in or have suggestions.

  6. Thank you! I will print this and keep it my bag.