[*BCM*] Special rights?

Tom Revay trevay at rcn.com
Thu Oct 14 06:32:41 EDT 2004

At 02:22 PM 10/13/2004 -0700, Jym Dyer wrote:
>=v= Hey, this is great info!  Thanks for posting it.  Two
>comments, though.

You're welcome.

>=1= I think the UTC includes (or included?) a "bicyclists may
>not ride more than two abreast" provision.  California,
>thankfully, has not adopted this, but some other states have.

True.  The U - *V* - C is on-line at
http://www.ncutlo.org/ , but you have to be an NCULTO member to read 
it.  Bicycle-related sections are readable at
http://www.swcp.com/~nmts/laws/UVCBicycles.htm .

There's a movement to change the UVC to improve its bicycle-related 
provisions.  One of the participants is MassBiker Paul Schimek, who's also 
a subscriber to the Boston CM list.  You can read about the UVC reform 
efforts at
http://www.geocities.com/fredoswald/law-reform.html .  Paul also has a 
survey of various states' bicycle traffic laws, and recommendations on 
reforming them, at
http://www.massbikeboston.org/guide.htm .  That article took some real 
effort to write -- it's quite comprehensive.

Unfortunately, the UVC-less Massachusetts has one of the worst two-abreast 
laws, prohibiting such riding unless cyclists are actually passing each 
other.  MassBike has attempted to change this law to bring it at least up 
to the UVC standard, as well as to provide other provisions on car-door 
opening, right-hooking, etc., that would benefit cyclists.  In both of the 
last two legislatures we've had our bill reported favorably by the Joint 
Transportation Committee, only to have it die later.

> > The highway planners couldn't just kick bikes off the roads,
> > because those 1887 laws and court decisions were still in
> > operation ...
>=2= Some of the thanks for this goes back even further, all the
>way to the Magna Carta!  English Common Law is the oldest legal
>precedent in the U.S. (predating the Constitution), and it says
>that if a road had allowed people to use it, that right exists
>in perpetuity.

Correct.  Free subjects have always had the right to walk the King's 
highway (or El Camino Real, in your part of the world).

But see what happens if you try to base your traffic ticket defense on the 
Magna Carta ....


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