(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this car accident/personal injury case and its proceedings.)
The following blog entry is written from a defendant’s position as trial approaches. Reviewing this kind of briefing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in a personal injury case present such issues to the court.
The Frontage Road is not a bicycle lane and should not be referred to as such. A bicycle lane is a term of art, defined by statute. CVC Section 21207 permits local authorities to establish bicycle lanes upon streets, as defined in Section 24 of the Streets and Highways Code pursuant to Article 5 (commencing with Section 1720) of Chapter 9 of Division 2 of the Streets and Highways Code. Bicycle lanes thus established must comply with Section 891 of the Streets and Highways Code, which sets forth the definition of a bicycle lane. Under Streets and Highways Code Section 890.4, there are three categories, called bicycle paths, lanes and routes, as follows:
(a) Class I bikeways, such as a bicycle path, provide a completely separated right of way designated for the exclusive use of bicycles and pedestrians with cross-flows by motorists minimized;
(b) Class II bikeways, such as a bicycle lane, provide a restricted right of way designated for the exclusive or semi-exclusive use of bicycles with through travel by motor vehicles or pedestrians prohibited, but with vehicle parking and cross-flows by pedestrians and motorists permitted.; and
(c) Class III bikeways, such as a bike route, provide a right of way designated by signs or permanent markings and shared with pedestrians or motorists.
CVC Section 21208 provides that a bicycle rider who rides slower than the normal speed of traffic must use the bicycle lane. In this action, there was no designated bicycle lane, but merely a schematic drawing of a bicycle along the Frontage Road, that had two chevron stripes. Certainly, it was not meant for all of the Frontage Road to be dedicated to the exclusive use of bicycles, since automobiles were meant to park along and travel along the street and there are stop signs at each corer to control such motor vehicle traffic to minimize collisions and injuries. Thus, the general rules of CVC Sections 21200 and 21802(a) apply to this case and plaintiff was subject to all the Code provisions applicable to drivers of vehicles and was required to ride in the right half of the Frontage Road. Calling the Frontage Road a “Bicycle Lane” would be misleading and would be confusing to the jurors.
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.