Valley Spokesmen Bicycle Club


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Rules of the Road

A bicycle, in general, must be operated on a roadway and in the same manner as a motor vehicle. Traffic citations are issued for violations of the vehicle code to bicycle riders, regardless of age or whether you have a driver’s license.The most common violations for which citations have been given to bicyclists:
  • Riding on the left side of the center of the road.
  • Failing to stop at stop signs, stop lights. Unclipping and touching your foot to the ground without coming to a complete stop does not constitute a stop.
  • Riding a bicycle at night without appropriate lights and reflectors.
The most common motorist violations for which bicyclists must be on the lookout:
  • Oncoming motorists making left hand turns in front of the bicyclists.
  • Overtaking motorists passing and turning immediately in front of the bicyclist.
  • Opening car doors. It is unlawful to open a car door on the traffic side unless it is safe to do so and can be done without interfering with traffic.
The popularity and enjoyment of group bicycle touring is developed around some common courtesies. The main concern of the touring group is that all members of the group get to their destination safely and pleasantly.

STOP AND HELP – other members of the group with any breakdowns that occur.
LEAVING THE GROUP - Tell the ride leader if possible, but in all cases make sure you let some other member of the group know.
RIDE A STRAIGHT LINE – Don’t weave, wobble or wander. It makes everyone behind you (including auto drivers) nervous and burns up more of your energy.
PASSING OTHER BIKES – Always call out “on your left” to let the bike riders ahead know you are going to pass. don’t try to sneak a pass on the right between a rider and the curb.
MAKING A TURN OR CHANGING POSITION – Look behind and check for other bikes and cars coming up from the rear.
USE HAND AND VERBAL SIGNALS - Since bikes are not equipped with brake or turn lights you must use your arms and hands to indicate your intentions:
Left arm straight out to the left indicates left turn. Left arm at right angle with hand pointing up indicates a right turn. Left arm at a right angle with the hand pointing down indicates slowing and stopping. The law requires these 3 signals. You may also use your right arm pointing straight out to indicate a right-hand turn. We go the extra mile in safety signals by using our hands and vocal chords to do the following:
  • Point out road obstacles, i.e. rocks, gravel, broken glass, drainage grates, and potholes.
  • Using your right arm to point, and then call out, car right when you see an automobile exiting from a driveway or intersection.
  • Always use your arms as pointers and your voice to draw attention to any impending obstacles.
Never think that someone else is loud enough for the cyclist in front of you to hear him, always add your voice and "pay it forward or backward" depending upon the situation. For example, when coming to a stop with 20 fellow cyclists, ALL 20 cyclists should be calling out, “Stopping”. This keeps everyone alert and being alert is "smart cycling".
  • "Car back" - used when you hear a car approaching from your rear. When you hear a fellow cyclist saying "Car back" you must also say it so the cyclist in front of you can hear it, and on up the line.
  • "Car up" - used when riding on a narrow roadway and you have a car approaching you.
  • "On Your Left" - used EVERY TIME you pass another cyclist. Always check behind you before passing and call out your intention BEFORE you are alongside the cyclist you are overtaking. NEVER pass another cyclist when a car is approaching from behind you. If another cyclist is passing you, please move as far right as is SAFELY possible. You must pass in single file, never in tandem or more, this is very unsafe, as you will be crowding into the oncoming traffic lane.
  • "Door" - used when riding along parked cars. Watch all cars that are parked and if you see someone in the driver's seat, call out "Door" to signal to the cyclists behind you that a car door could open at anytime.
  • "Tracks" - used when approaching railroad tracks. Always cross railroad tracks at a 90-degree angle to avoid getting your tires trapped in the tracks.
  • "Slowing" - used when slowing to make a stop or beginning to pull off the road to stop.
  • "Stopping" - used after you call out slowing and are ready to come to a full stop. If you are stopping to rest or stretch or even, god forbid, change a flat, it is crucial that you pull completely off the bicycle lane of traffic.
  • "Clear" - used when passing through an intersection that has NO stop signs on any corner. This is potentially a very dangerous situation. So slow before you proceed and look both ways before calling out "Clear."
  • "Turning" - used when making any type of turn and always in conjunction with the appropriate arm turn signal.
  • "Merging" - used when you have been stopped and are getting ready to rejoin the bike lane of traffic.


Club Rules of the Ride

Waiver Form
Members and non-members alike will sign the waiver form provided by the ride leader. You don’t have to, but it’s a good idea to call the ride leader to tell them you intend to join the ride.

Ride Duration

If you wish to know the approximate length of time for any ride - including rest stops, lunch stops, sight-seeing etc, - please call the ride leader.

Car Pooling
Car pooling is strongly encouraged, particularly on the out-of-town rides. Call the leader to see who is signed up for the ride to help you with car pooling arrangements.

Common Courtesy

While bikes and cars have equal rights on the road, many drivers are not comfortable sharing the road with bicycles. Remember to use courtesy toward other roadway users, and pay attention to ALL driving laws.

Ride Notification

If you sign up, but later decide not to ride, please inform the leader of your change in plans. Remember, if you do not sign up for the ride, and the leader cancels it for some reason, then the leader may not know how
to inform you of the cancellation.
 
Start Times
Some ride leaders are flexible concerning the ride start time, but some leaders want to keep to the ride departure schedule. Please plan on arriving fifteen minutes before the scheduled ride start time to give yourself time to dress and prepare your bike.




California Vehicle Codes

 21200.5~  Riding while impaired. Unlawful to operate a bicycle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
 21201(a)  Brakes. Must have one brake that will enable a wheel to skid on a dry, level, clean pavement.
 21201(B)  Handlebars. Must not be above level of shoulders in order to grasp the formal steering grip area.
 21201(c)  Bike Size. Must be able to safely stop with one foot on the ground and restart in a safe manner.
 
 21201(d)(1)
 21201(d)(2)
 21201(d)(3)
 Night Riding
Operating at night on a highway, headlamp visible for 300'
 Operating at night on a highway, red reflector on the rear must be visible 500'
 Operating at night on a highway, white or yellow reflector on front and rear of each wheel or pedal must be visible 200'
 21203~  No hitching a ride. No holding on to a motor vehicle while on your bicycle.
 21204(a)  Passengers. No person shall ride on other than upon or astride a permanent and regular attached seat.
 21208  Bike Lanes. Where a bicycle lane has been established, any person operating a bicycle upon the roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic shall ride within the bicycle lane.
 21202  No Bike Lanes. Where a bicycle lane has not been established, any person operating a bicycle upon the roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.
 21210
 No person shall leave lying on its side, on any sidewalk, or park in any manner which obstructs pedestrian traffic.
 21211  No person shall leave a bicycle lying on its side on any bike trail or park in any manner which obstructs bicycle or pedestrian traffic.
 21212(a)  Helmets. Any person under the age of 18 years shall not operate or ride upon a bicycle without a helmet which is property fitted and fastened.
 21650.1  Bicycle Operations~on roadway or shoulder of highway shall be operated in the same direction as vehicles are required.