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Who champions the rights of California bicyclists?

If you are a bicycling enthusiast in California, you probably understand the difficulty some riders face with disregard from motorists and the legal system in the state.

The Protecting Your Rights Initiative is focused on the third strategy in the strategic plan for CalBike. Their aim is to protect bicyclists by enhancing the respect they receive from both the system and those who prefer to drive their vehicles.

CalBike strives to prevent the laws from being unfairly enforced. This is often seen when police target minorities or those of low socio-economic status. Last year, they were able to alter the Vehicle Code allowing those who receive tickets for improper bicycling to enroll in bicycle education courses instead of having to pay fines.

By working together with California's Department of Motor Vehicles, changes can be implemented to improve driver testing as well as the driver's manual. CalBike offers advice and expert testimony to local police departments, the California Highway Patrol, judges and others when a cyclist's rights are being jeopardized. They also lobby against highways being closed by Caltrans.

Changing local and state laws can emphasize safety, as in the case of CalBike successfully championing the Three Feet for Safety Act three years ago that mandated motorists give enough space when they pass a bicyclist. The organization's goal for this year is clarification that it is legal for bicyclists to ride side-by-side in a single lane.

Safer bicycling means that there will be fewer risks of deaths and serious injuries to cyclists around the state. However, those who have been injured have legal avenues available to them to pursue compensation.

Source: California Bicycle Coalition, "Protecting your rights," accessed May 27, 201

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