California's bicycle clubs organized into a state federation in 1972 to protect bicyclists' interests statewide and to encourage, maintain, and improve bicycling conditions.

CABO (the "A" is pronounced long) fosters and promotes a favorable climate for bicycling in California by representing the interests of cyclists before the appropriate governmental bodies to protect their rights and promoting laws, policies, and actions that treat cyclists equitably.

In addition to the usual officers, CABO has Area Directors which mirror the boundaries of the twelve Caltrans districts. All are unpaid volunteers.

for a paradigm shift, read The Tragedy of the Commons of the Urban Arterial.

June 6th, 2017 Comments off

I recommend reading this paper co-authored by Michelle DeRobertis, a former CBAC participant among other activities. It is published in the June 2017 issue of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Journal.

Abstract – “The convergence of many issues makes it timely to reassess the role of the urban arterial: environmental concerns, climate change, complete streets, sustainability, urban livability indices, and indeed less per capita driving. While some might say technology will save us, this paper purports that something more fundamental needs to change.”

The authors’ recommendation seems to be for appropriate control of access/use to the public roadway/”Commons” to reduce motor vehicle use(abuse?) and provide better choices … some via coercive processes – charge for parking, etc..

The Tragedy of the Commons of the Urban Arterial.
You can click on the title of the article within this link: or perhaps

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CABO annual General Membership and Board Meeting, May 27th

May 22nd, 2017 Comments off

The annual meeting for general updates, the election of officers, appointment of Area Representatives, etc. is May 27th.
Is your membership current? It’s not too late to renew, signup, etc. Click above under membership or use

We will meet in person at the VIP Board Room for the Paso Robles Fair Grounds, upstairs in the Frontier Town area of the grounds; to the right of the main entrance. Participation by teleconferencing will be available for members beginning at 1 PM – for those members who will not be attending in person. Members may contact me directly for teleconferencing information. The official meeting will begin at 2 PM.

Renew and or add CABO memberships via or directly via

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Help support SB 672, traffic signals that “see” you

March 31st, 2017 Comments off

Here’s what we are pedaling to Calif. State Legislators. Copy and send to your State Senator if you agree.
Support for SB 672
Dear Chairman Beall,
On behalf of the California Association of Bicycling Organizations (CABO), I respectfully request a Yes Vote on SB 672. This Legislation if passed into law would remove the Sunset on then Assemblymember Fuller’s bill (AB 1581 2007-2008 Session) that required cities, counties, and Caltrans to provide traffic signals that detect bicycles and motorcycles when new or modified installation were made of on-demand/traffic-actuated traffic signals. The evolution toward light weight bikes and parts to increase riding efficiency and fuel economy makes this requirement even more important for safety in the future. The original bill, AB 1581, passed unanimously in both Houses, with no No Votes but currently Sunsets on January 1st, 2018.

Traffic actuated signals were not originally designed with bicycles and motorcycles in mind. Many traffic actuated signals are activated by detecting magnetic mass, which bicycles and motorcycles have much less of than automobiles. When an on-demand/traffic-actuated traffic signal does not detect and change for someone, they are at best unreasonably delayed or at worst they must enter the intersection against a red light- a dangerous situation for anyone. Over the last 10 years the use of traffic-actuated signals that detect bicycles and motorcycles has been successful at reducing these dangerous occurrences. Removing the Sunset will continue progress toward making travel safer for everyone in California!

Please Vote Yes on SB 672 and urge the other members of the Transportation and Housing Committee to also vote Yes on SB 672. Let’s all continue to improve traffic safety in California.
Thank you.

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Facebook donation matching opportunity

November 29th, 2016 Comments off

I have taken the opportunity to participate in the Facebook Donate Tuesday opportunity; donations are to be matched through this process. Try it out at

And/or renew your membership or donate directly via this web site under “membership” and thanks.

Ride on.
Jim Baross, CABO President

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Potential for erosion of road use ability!

November 1st, 2016 Comments off

I have been given OK to distribute the draft December agenda for the Calif. Traffic Control Devices Committee (CTCDC). The draft December agenda has some proposals to affect bicycling that you may find controversial and needing modification… or you may like them as is. See the attached agenda for yourself; search bicycle to find the issues within the large and long agenda.

Here is a link to their December draft agenda,!AnjdU7YRzTcf6FRqV2jFRWholT7N or!AnjdU7YRzTcf6FR0EuK9MMYayxUM . Or ask me to send you the file.
Sept meeting notes –

Of first concern to me is the apparent conflating the new Separated Bikeways, Class IV with Bike Lanes, Class II. The Calif. Association of Bicycling Organizations (CABO) worked hard to make it clear that Class IVs are not subject to the CVC 21208 requirements that are applicable to Bike Lanes. It is unfortunate and apparently contributing to Caltrans confusion that many people, including some bicycling advocates, mistakenly call Class IV bikeways “Protected Bike Lanes”! PLEASE STOP IT! People bicycling are required per CVC 21208 to bike within a Bike Lane except under limited circumstances. Class IV Separated Bikeways offer some improvements but people bicycling should NOT be REQUIRED to use them either by law or by misunderstandings due to their being titled or signed as Bike Lanes!

I will be collecting comments to compile and submit on behalf of the Calif. Bicycle Advisory Committee (CBAC) to Caltrans for potential inclusion with the final CTCDC agenda. Though the CBAC members and the CTCDC staff will decide what gets included, I encourage you to offer your comments, ideas, etc. for potential inclusion with the CBAC submittal. Send to

Categories: Miscellaneous Tags:

Why and how bicyclists are subject to traffic rules in California

October 13th, 2016 Comments off

Have you ever wondered why bicyclists are subject to following traffic laws in California? Many people think bicycles are legally vehicles, and that’s why, but that’s actually not the case. This is one of those complicated legalistic issues that all bicyclists in CA should know. So let’s explore the vehicle code to find out more.

Section 231 of the California Vehicle Code explicitly defines bicycles to be devices, not vehicles:

DIVISION 1. WORDS AND PHRASES DEFINED [100 - 681] ( Division 1 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )
231. A bicycle is a device upon which any person may ride, propelled exclusively by human power through a belt, chain, or gears, and having one or more wheels. Persons riding bicycles are subject to the provisions of this code specified in Sections 21200 and 21200.5.

Further, bicycles are explicitly excluded from the definition of a vehicle in Section 670:

DIVISION 1. WORDS AND PHRASES DEFINED [100 - 681] ( Division 1 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )
670. A “vehicle” is a device by which any person or property may be propelled, moved, or drawn upon a highway, excepting a device moved exclusively by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.

So bicycles are not vehicles, but bicyclists are subject to certain provision of the vehicle code, and we should find out more in Sections 21200 and 21200.5:

Section 21200.5 just addresses bicycling under the influence (prohibited), but CVC 21200 is much more interesting as it is quite explicit about bicyclist rights and responsibilities:

21200. (a) A person riding a bicycle or operating a pedicab upon a highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this division, including, but not limited to, provisions concerning driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs, and by Division 10 (commencing with Section 20000), Section 27400, Division 16.7 (commencing with Section 39000), Division 17 (commencing with Section 40000.1), and Division 18 (commencing with Section 42000), except those provisions which by their very nature can have no application.

Those bolded words, especially “by this division”, are key.

But before we discuss the bolded portions, we must recognize that a bicyclist is subject to the same provisions as is “the driver of a vehicle”, not “the driver of a motor vehicle”. The distinction may seem trivial but it’s quite significant in considering the applicability of sections like Section 23109 which prohibits people from participating in “a motor vehicle speed contest on a highway”. Now, is a bicycle race a “motor vehicle speed contest”? Of course not. Since no motors are involved, Section 23109 cannot apply to bicyclists.

To fully understand Section 21200 we have to know that that vehicle code is divided into named and numbered ”divisions”. Section 21200 is in Division 11 of the vehicle code, so “by this division” refers to “Division 11 of the vehicle code”. The title of Division 11 is “Rules of the Road”, so it makes sense that those sections should apply to bicyclists, and it covers CVC 21000 through 23336. But this also means that provisions outside of Division 11 – sections which are not part of the “Rules of the Road”, not within the range 21000-23336, do not apply to bicyclists (except for a few relatively insignificant sections outside of Division 11 we will discuss below).

In other words, sections dealing with vehicle equipment, like CVC 25250 (“Flashing lights are prohibited on vehicles “) do not apply to bicyclists, because they are in Division 12 (titled “Equipment of Vehicles”), not in Division 11.

Now, regarding that longer clause in Section 21200, “… and by Division 10 (commencing with Section 20000), Section 27400, Division 16.7 (commencing with Section 39000), Division 17 (commencing with Section 40000.1), and Division 18 (commencing with Section 42000),”:

  1. Division 10 is very short and deals with accidents and requirements for filing accident reports.
  2. Section 27400 (the only section in Division 12 which applies to bicyclists) addresses headsets and earplugs.
  3. Division 16.7 is about bicycle registration and licensing. Mostly arcane and inapplicable in most local jurisdictions.
  4. Divisions 17 and 18 define general vehicle code legal process (“Offenses and Prosecution” and “Penalties and Disposition of Fees, …”)

Finally, let’s look at that final clause in Section 21200: “except those provisions which by their very nature can have no application”. This clause limits the bolded portions even further in terms of how they apply to bicyclists. It cannot expand the scope of what vehicle code sections apply to bicyclists, but it does reduce the scope. For example, consider Section 22400 which is in Division 11:

22400. (a) No person shall drive upon a highway at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic unless the reduced speed is necessary for safe operation, because of a grade, or in compliance with law.
No person shall bring a vehicle to a complete stop upon a highway so as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic unless the stop is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.

This law clearly prohibits driving too slowly (“No person shall drive … at such a slow speed as to impede…”), but can anyone be found in violation for operating too slowly when he or she is operating about as fast as physically possible? How can one be required to comply with a law when it’s impossible to do so? The law cannot require one to travel at a faster speed than is feasibly possible; therefore, Section 22400 can have no application to bicyclists by its “very nature”.

In summary, in California, bicycles are devices, not vehicles, but bicyclists have the same rights as drivers of vehicles and must obey basically the same Rules of the Road (Division 11) as drivers of vehicles. In future articles we will look further into these “Rules of the Road” in Division 11, and closely examine those sections that are specific to bicyclists.

Categories: Legal/Legislative, Safety/Education Tags:

Report Motorist Harassment and Bad Behavior!

May 26th, 2016 Comments off

Safety tip of the week – REPORT aggressive motorists!
REPORT aggressive motorists! If a motorist threatens you with their deadly weapon – their vehicle – get their plate and go to the appropriate police or sheriff department and INSIST that a report is FILED. Attorney Seth Davidson explains why this is so crucial in his piece, Don’t take it lying down:

And a follow-up piece, The people police:

One report alone probably won’t accomplish much. Tragically, police really have to be pushed to pursue these cases. But once they have more than one report on the same driver, and aggressive drivers are likely to be repeat offenders, that’s a pattern, and even reluctant police may be spurred into action. So don’t take it lying down, get that report filed!

Feel free to copy/paste/edit and use this information any way you wish with your clubs.
You can write your own report and insist they file it. The key is to have this report pop up when somebody else files a report on the same license or car description, or the police look it up because of an actual crash. Without that history on file it’s likely to just look like a one-time incident or “accident”. We have to build up records on these sociopaths!

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CABO General Membership Meeting

May 23rd, 2016 Comments off

CABO’s annual General Membership and Board meeting is held every year on Saturday in Paso Robles, CA during the Great Western Bicycle Rally beginning at 1 PM. All CABO members and member organization representatives are invited to attend in person or to participate via teleconference.
For more information or to request teleconference access, contact me, CABO President Jim Baross, via Facebook PM, or via email to

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Calif. Bike & Ped Plan development – Open Forums

April 8th, 2016 Comments off

Caltrans is conducting Regional Forums across the state with stakeholders to support the development of the first California State Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan. The web site on this page has details.

Redding, Monday, April 18, 12:30
Oakland, Tuesday, April 19, 12:30
Fresno, April 22, 12:30
Riverside, May 2, 12:30
San Diego, May 3, 12:30
San Luis Obispo, May 5, 4:00
Los Angeles, May 10, 3:30
Folsom, May 11, ??

It’s probably a good idea to pack the halls. Tell a friend. Sign up!

Jim (sadly cannot attend any of these) Baross
CABO President
Bicycling Instructor/Advocate

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Modifying CVC 21202?

April 6th, 2016 Comments off

California Assemblymember Ting has introduced a bill, AB 2509, to clarify the Calif. Vehicle Code 21202 that too often gets described as the “ride as far to the right as possible” rule or “get out of the way” by some motorists and police officers. CABO is supporting Assemblymember Ting’s effort but also recommending two things.

Why not just deleted 21202 – it’s useless and dangerous, or consider our recommendations for the wording of a modified 21202.

Here’s what we recommended:
(a) A person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.
(b) Subdivision (a) does not apply to a person operating a bicycle in any of the following situations:
(1) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
(2) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
(3) When traveling in a lane that is too narrow for a vehicle to safely pass the bicycle within the lane with at least three feet of clearance.
(4) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge, subject to Section 21656, including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, and surface hazards.
(5) When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.
(6) When riding within a bicycle lane established pursuant to Section 21207.
(7) When riding within a travel lane where an official traffic control device indicates that the lane is a shared lane or that bicycles may use the full lane. (8) When bicycling two or more abreast in any situation described in sections (1) to (7), inclusive.
(c) A person operating a bicycle upon a roadway that carries traffic in one direction only and has two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as close to the left-hand curb or edge of that roadway as practicable.

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