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.

Deb Hubsmith gone but not forgotten.

August 20th, 2015 Comments off

We have, the USA has lost a vibrant advocate. About Deb Hubsmith,

“It is with a heavy heart today that the Safe Routes to School National Partnership mourns the passing of its founder, Deb Hubsmith. We will remember Deb always and celebrate the legacy of her life as the bold, visionary leader of the Safe Routes to School movement.”

Categories: Miscellaneous Tags:

CABO now supports AB 208

July 21st, 2015 Comments off

As I suspected newly amended AB 208 that CABO helped modify is subject to being mischaracterized as a change adding a restriction detrimental to people bicycling when it isn’t.

Here’s what a recent LA Times article stated, “The Senate voted Thursday to approve a bill requiring bicyclists on two-lane highways to pull over and let vehicles pass if five or more vehicles are backed up behind them. Assemblyman Frank Bigelow (R-O’Neals) introduced AB 208.”
Here’s the article,

You may be called upon to explain this, so …. Here’s more than you may want to know about what happened with this bill and why.

CABO successfully influenced changes to the originally proposed legislation, AB 208 (amendment to vehicle lane use law), that would have been to detrimental to bicyclists in California. Although the bill now does not significantly change the existing vehicle code sections, due to CABO’s effort it continues to protect bicyclist’s right to the road while achieving the bill’s author, Assemblyman Frank Bigelow’s objectives.

Here’s the bill, AB 208, as of July 9. It is still to be reheard in the Assembly after passing the Senate as modified.

Section 21656 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:
On a two-lane highway where passing is unsafe because of traffic in the opposite direction or other conditions, any vehicle proceeding upon the highway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time, behind which five or more vehicles are formed in line, shall turn off the roadway at the nearest place designated as a turnout by signs erected by the authority having jurisdiction over the highway, or wherever sufficient area for a safe turnout exists, in order to permit the vehicles following it to proceed.

The following explanation is from the Legislative Analysts introduction about the bill –

The amended Bill requires: on a 2-lane highway where passing is unsafe due to specified reasons, any vehicle proceeding upon the highway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time, behind which 5 or more vehicles are formed in line, to turn off the roadway at the nearest place designated as a turnout or wherever sufficient area for a safe turnout exists.

The back-story – we intervened to help Assemblymember Bigelow respond to his constituents complaints about being delayed behind bicyclists – narrow lanes, no shoulder, double-yellow centerline they feel that they cannot cross, 3′ minimum passing law – that had them upset. According to Bigelow’s staff, as originally introduced “AB 208 is current just a spot bill but we intend to use it to strengthen the relationship between bikers and cars.” But, their bill as initially introduced as a modification of the 3′ minimum passing law, would have required any bicyclists to pull off out of the way on multi-lane roadways, an expansion of the CVC 21656 requirement that is limited to two-lane roads (roads with one lane in each direction).

Here’s an explanation provided by CABO Government Relations Chair, Alan Wachtel about why the original AB 208 was a problem .

“AB 208 largely duplicates existing §21656, with the following differences:”

“§21656 applies “where passing is unsafe because of traffic in the opposite direction or other conditions.” This is already somewhat subjective for the driver being followed, though it’s clear enough in the most likely case where passing is prohibited by striping or signs. AB 208 replaces it with “If the driver of a motor vehicle is unable to comply with subdivision (d)” [i.e., passing only at a reasonable, prudent, and safe speed when traffic or roadway conditions prevent leaving a three-foot clearance]. How is a bicyclist to know whether a following driver is unable to comply? All that can be observed is whether the driver passes or not.”

“§21656 applies “On a two-lane highway.” AB 208 has no such limitation.”

“§21656 applies to “a slow-moving vehicle,” defined as “one which is proceeding at a rate of speed less than the normal flow of traffic at the particular time and place.” AB 208 applies to any “operator of a bicycle.”

“In §21656, if a turnout is designated, it must be by “signs erected by the authority having jurisdiction over the highway.” AB 208 does not specify how the turnout must be designated. Existing law does, however, already contain the highly subjective “wherever sufficient area for a safe turnout exists.”

“These differences create the potential for discrimination against bicycle transportation on multilane urban streets. Interestingly, however, AB 208 contains a get-out-of-jail-free card: “Section 40000.1 does not apply to a violation of this subdivision.” That section reads: “Except as otherwise provided in this article, it is unlawful and constitutes an infraction for any person to violate, or fail to comply with any provision of this code . . . ” So it wouldn’t be a violation to fail to comply! I’ve never seen anything like that before.”

“But of course this is all unnecessary, because §21656 already covers the five-in-a-row situation. Furthermore, the exceptions in §21202 for conditions “that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge” are expressly “subject to the provisions of Section 21656.” So there should be no doubt that that section applies to bicyclists.”

“So really nothing at all needs to be done, but the author, Frank Bigelow of Placerville, is trying to respond to the wishes of his constituents. I don’t see that it would do any harm to instead expand §21656 by adding “or bicycle” to the two occurrences of “slow-moving vehicle” (except to the extent that it always muddies the waters to call out bicycles explicitly in some places but not others).”

CABO opposed AB 208 as introduced. A modification to the bill was then made that instead made unacceptable changes to 21656, among which would have required bicyclists to pull off of the “highway” rather than the “roadway” – a significant difference that we opposed. In case you weren’t aware, Roadway is technically the traveled way but Highway refers to the full right of way including any space even beyond a sidewalk, shoulder, etc.

We got “highway” changed back to “roadway” and we (thanks to Serge Issakov) proposed better wording for CVC 21656 that was accepted to describe a slow moving vehicle. The change – ” any vehicle proceeding upon the highway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time, …”

The result; no harm to bicyclists since we already were subject to the provisions of CVC 21656 – see CVC 21200. The Assemblymember can show his constituents that he did something, changing CVC 21656. And, CABO may, with increased attention to the issues, be better able to get changes as we plan to do next year, as Alan W. stated, “The long-term solution is to modify the law regarding crossing double yellow lines. I’d bet Bigelow’s constituents would like that, too. But it would require careful negotiation with CHP and Caltrans to avoid a veto, and it wouldn’t be a quick win for Bigelow.”

Unfortunately there is still plenty of room for misunderstanding and mis-behavior for how people bicycling and motoring are to share limited spaces in various circumstances – When is a “lane too narrow to share”? What is the “normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time” when most of the traffic at that time is a group of people bicycling? What is “sufficient area for a safe turnout”? etc.

CABO recommends that courtesy prevails; that people wishing to travel faster than others be patient and only pass safely, and that people traveling slower – including bicyclists – should courteously allow faster traffic to get by when they can do so safely without undue delay.

Categories: Miscellaneous Tags:

Slow moving vehicles? AB208

June 15th, 2015 Comments off

Dear Assemblymember Bigelow:

I regret that I must write on behalf of the California Association of Bicycling Organizations ( in opposition to your bill, AB 208, as presently modified. CABO opposes AB 208 as an unnecessary and overly restrictive proposal. The intent of the bill may have been to help motorists that are delayed by people bicycling in narrow lanes. We point out that CVC 21654 and 21656, about slow moving traffic, should already be considered to be applicable to bicycles. Although perhaps not generally understood, in California Vehicle Code, when the term “vehicle” is used it generally includes bicycles.

Courteous people – including people bicycling – should always try to be as courteous as they can to allow others to pass when it is safe to do so.

We especially oppose the bill’s replacement of “roadway” with “highway” in CVC 21656 as this would, apparently inadvertently inappropriately, require all vehicles and bicyclists to leave any portion of the otherwise available highway right of way, including any paved roadway, shoulder, designated pullout, etc.

We recommend that clarity might more appropriately be provided by the Legislators to CHP and others about when a double yellow center line may be lawfully crossed to pass slow moving bicycles. A clarification could assist traffic to flow with less delay when a bicyclist must use a full lane on a two lane roadway that thereby delays some faster traffic. A provision provided that explicitly allowed the currently frequent and wide spread practice of motorists safely crossing or straddling a double yellow centerline to avoid hazards including passing very slow moving vehicles or bicycles would be very helpful.

Categories: Miscellaneous Tags:

What’s Caltrans doing about Cycletracks? Lots.

May 29th, 2015 Comments off

Report and impressions expressed below are those of Pete van Nuys, newly elected CABO VP.

Federal and state trends have brought us to the brink of new highway designs driven by environmental concerns and administered by the new California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA). Reporting directly to the Governor’s office, agencies under CalSTA include the CHP, DMV, CalTrans, OTS, and others.

CalSTA has directed major change in CalTrans’ priorities. Active Transportation emphasis has resulted in new policies and goals, among them a tripling of bicycle use by 2020 (though by what metrics I’m not sure). Nevertheless, it’s an ambitious goal.

And so we come to Cycletracks, the focus of this meeting. For cycletracks, or Class 4 Bikeways, are intended and designed to attract Californians who do not today ride in any significant way. Debates about their efficacy are irrelevant at this point– agencies throughout the state are competing with each other to become “bike friendly” and this latest concept is now one of the “tools in our toolbox” (if I heard that term one more time during this meeting I was going to throw a wrench at the speaker).

Cl. 4 bikeways are largely unknown in California: there are no standards for where they are appropriate, no agreed upon geometric dimensions, no set behaviors for bicyclists using them. To fill this void Caltrans has been tasked with publishing a guide. And while the form this document or documents might take has not even been determined, the agency must publish their guide by the end of 2015.

Usually the mucky-mucks at Caltrans would huddle with their consultants, draft their guide– typically in or a bulletin supplementing the Highway Design Manual and Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices– and put it out for those who build the roads to use. And those of us who use the roads they build would comment after the fact.

But someone at Caltrans realized that maybe when it comes to bicycle transportation “we” among the masses know more about the subject than they do. So they turned this process on its head, and summoned bicyclists, advocates, public works professionals, some CHP, planners, and consultants to sit down at the beginning of the process. And so we did.

There were none. This was an initial input process, to be digested by Caltrans Headquarters staff. And there was a lot to digest.

First, the Class 4 concept is much more complicated and costly than almost everyone assumed going in. And the anticipated end user challenges of intersection navigation only scratch the surface. The real safety concerns for the majority of those users– neophytes, untrained, undisciplined bicyclists– is a responsibility fraught with liability.

Those of us whose first concern was protection of cyclists’ right to the street stressed that cycletracks must not be mandatory and must not look mandatory. For instance, we stated that where a Cl. 4 is to be installed on a street with existing Cl. 2, that Bike Lane must remain next to the travel lane. If installed on a street with sharrows, the sharrows should remain.

Maintenance of point A to B efficiency should require that bicycle movement outside the cycletrack remain unimpeded. Bicycle signal faces should control only bicyclists within the cycletrack, not those using the roadway outside.

And maintenance of the pavement itself was a frequently discussed concern. As was ADA and pedestrian access across that pavement. Passenger side dooring. Delivery truck parking. Signage, marking, and behavior at unsignalized intersections.

Capital cost, time required to install, and the cost of correcting errors in design or installation was cited more than once, with the offered solution the ability to temporarily install with movable barriers, signs, and paint. This often led to the need for a clear means to experiment by local agencies and the need for liability immunity.

Fuzzy Language
Despite these concerns cycletrack advocates remain determined to push projects ahead, insisting on “flexible standards,” an obvious oxymoron. Fuzzy language was a consistent challenge at the meeting– Caltrans staffers were assigned to “captain” each table and get key ideas out of each discussion group and up onto flip charts. …

Facilitators handed out a Glossary of Terms to bring consistency into our discussions. Highlight of the day came early when Jim Baross [CABO President] pointed out that the name of these facilities, by statute, was “separated bikeways.” Every page in the Glossary referred to them as “separated bike lanes.”

A draft guidance is likely to be circulated before the final document. Whether the final emerges as a separate work, or is incorporated in the Highway Design Manual was not determined.

Personal Opinions
E-bike sales and the power of the free market will do more to put butts on bike seats than Class 4 bikeways. That point was almost completely ignored yesterday. But our roadways will look different in 10 years and the role pedal-only bicycles will play is uncertain.

The cost and complication, not to mention political climate of individual cities, will limit cycletrack installations, probably to city cores and select major arterials.

The words “culture” and “cultural change” popped up several times yesterday. It’s amazing that calls for education and communication came up so seldom.

Categories: Miscellaneous Tags:

Cycletracks – “Protected Bike Lanes” – ?

May 16th, 2015 Comments off

Caltrans is holding a “summit” for “stakeholders” May 27th on their development of a new type of bikeway, Class IV bikeways. Caltrans is required by recent legislation to develop Calif. Highway Design Manual design guidance for this new type of bikeway, Class IV. Many proponents erroneously are calling these “Protected Bike Lanes.”
CABO is a stakeholder.
What do you want Caltrans to hear from stakeholders?
Contribute to the discussion on

Categories: Miscellaneous Tags:

CABO asks that AB 28 be improved

April 22nd, 2015 Comments off

Dear Assemblymember Chu:
I regret that I must write on behalf of the California Association of Bicycling Organizations ( in opposition to your bill, AB 28 unless modified to better enhance traffic safety.

We recommend modifying the proposed change to CVC 21201 to allow a steady as well as a flashing red rear light, to retain the red rear reflector requirement, and to remove the option for substituting reflective clothing for the required red light and reflector. We make these recommendations for several reasons.
1. A steady red rear light is standard for all vehicles, internationally the solid red light means a unit of traffic in front is moving in your direction. This is standard for bicycles in many states. While a flashing light can be said to draw attention, it is easier and more likely for people to accurately judge the distance away from a steady light rather than an intermittently flashing light.
2. A reflector does not rely on external power, battery or dynamo, and is therefore always available to reflect back.
3. The description “Reflective gear” to be worn by the bicyclists does not provide enough specificity to provide for sufficiently conspicuous reflectivity. Also reflective material such as jerseys, jackets, etc. are worn by regular bicycles above the level of headlights and when worn by people using recumbent bicycles are not in position to reflect back.

We recommend that AB 28 be amended to change CVC 21201 (d. 1 & 2) as shown below.
(d) A bicycle operated during darkness upon a highway, a sidewalk where bicycle operation is not prohibited by the local jurisdiction, or a bikeway, as defined in Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code, shall be equipped with all of the following: (1) A lamp emitting a white light that, while the bicycle is in motion, illuminates the highway, sidewalk, or bikeway in front of the bicyclist and is visible from a distance of 300 feet in front and from the sides of the bicycle. (2) A flashing or steady red light visible from a distance of 300 feet in back of the bicycle, and a red reflector on the rear that shall be visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful upper beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle. The reflector may be an integral part of the light.

Thank you for considering our recommendations.
Jim Baross
CABO President

Categories: Miscellaneous Tags:

CABO opposing helmet requirement

April 7th, 2015 Comments off

Senator Carol Liu
c/o Robert Oakes
State Capitol, Room 5097
Sacramento, CA 95814

SUBJECT: Senate Bill 192 unless modified

Dear Senator Liu:

I regret that I must write on behalf of the California Association of Bicycling Organizations ( in opposition to your bill, SB 192, that “Anyone riding without a helmet could be cited for an infraction and fined up to $25, the same as current law for youth cyclists.”

Bicycle helmets certainly may contribute to safety in a crash or fall, but represent only the final area of protection when all other safety measures fail. We refer to the four levels of safety, focusing on the area’s most likely to prevent injury:
a. Prevention through following the rules of the road, as defined in the California Vehicle Code and other safety literature. This establishes predictability of actions by motorists and bicyclists.
b. Deterrence through bicycling best practices for attention, communication, anticipation, road positioning, visibility (e.g., lights and reflectors), and maintenance (primarily effective braking).
c. Escape through development of skills in bicycling defensively – emergency stops, counter-steering (taught in motorcycle training and required for license).
d. Survival – Use of safety equipment such as helmets, gloves, etc.

We do applaud and appreciate your concern and do support effective efforts to reduce bicycling collision injuries and fatalities that also promote Active Transportation – healthier, enjoyable, cleaner, and more sustainable travel choices for Californians.

You, as Chair of the Senate Education Committee, may find some of the ideas below worthy of consideration. We offer our support toward implementing ways that would productively provide for better bicycling and traffic safety in general.

1. Provide Active Transportation instruction and experience curriculum choices – bicycling and walking – as part of K-12 physical education programs.

People bicycling can avoid crashing and collisions with motor vehicles and resulting injuries by learning about and applying appropriate bicycling behaviors. Too many bicycling crashes are the direct result of poor choices by the person bicycling; wrong-way riding against traffic, failure to yield when entering traffic, non-compliance with traffic control signals and signs, etc. A program to provide information about traffic laws and bicycling safe and best practices would be very likely to significantly reduce bicycling collisions, injuries, and fatalities. And, smarter bicycling not only avoids crashes, it provides for personal and community health through reducing trips by motor vehicle.

2. Provide for the development of a California Highway Patrol approved Bicycling Handbook distributed by and through the same outlets as the DMV Driver, Motorcycle, Senior and other DMV handbook traffic guides.

We have assisted the Department of Motor Vehicles to improve and increase the amount of information about bicycling provided in their publications, including their Driver Handbook. We have recommended that the DMV develop and provide a Bicycling Handbook similar in format to the Motorcycle handbook. They have not yet followed through.

3. Remove impediments to bicycling related traffic citation diversion programs.

This would allow for cities and counties to implement bicycle citation diversion programs that emphasize an educational curriculum complementing the goals established in #1, above.

4. Support the California Strategic Highway Safety Plan programs to reduce roadway fatalities; education, enforcement, engineering Complete Streets, emergency response, equity in travel mode choice, and encouraging appropriate behavior in traffic.

Traffic related bicycling collisions involving motor vehicles also result from mistakes and unlawful behavior by motorists. Recently passed legislation encouraging 3’ minimum passing has brought new attention to the responsibilities people have for sharing roadway space. The relatively new roadway markings – Shared Lane Markings, Bikes May Use Full Lane signs, Green-highlighted and “buffered” Bike Lanes; and traffic control devices – bicycle-specific traffic signals, bicycle actuated traffic signals, etc. – are helping us all adapt to the value of increasing the travel mode share for Active Transportation, bicycling and walking.

5. Modify the Calif. Vehicle Code to define and explain the meaning of the new white pavement markings – Shared Lane Markings, commonly called Sharrows, the new white painted buffers spaces next to Bike Lanes, and the bright green paint meant to highlight Bike Lanes, and the intent of the new and approved regulatory signs that show a bike and the words “May Use Full Lane.”

Sharrows mean that that lane is a substandard width lane and cyclists can legally ride anywhere in it.
Buffers are to provide space between motorists and bicyclists, and between bicyclists and parked vehicles. Buffers may (and should) be carefully driven into and cross to turn right, to park, or to enter or leave the roadway or Bike Lane.

Bikes may use full lane signs are to inform motorists that people bicycling may be in the travel lane, and to inform people bicycling that they may ride far enough out into a lane to avoid roadside hazards and discourage close passing by others.

We of the California Association of Bicycling Organizations look forward to hearing about how we might help you to improve safety and ability for everyone. We want everyone to be able to choose to use bicycles for travel and recreation in California.

Categories: Miscellaneous Tags:

Adventure Cycling route success!

February 18th, 2015 Comments off

Apparently I am not doing much of a job getting credit to CABO for our work, but here’s the good news; the letter I sent on behalf of the Calif. Bicycle Advisory Committee requesting a meeting with Caltrans Director and inviting CalBike’s Dave Snyder to attend resulted in our being able to make our case to Caltrans Chief Deputy Director Kome Ajise on Feb. 4th. Adventure Cycling’s Virgina Sullivan participated via telephone. Mr. Ajise agreed to work with Caltrans District staff to find a way to make the bicycling route work. District staff surveyed to route choices with Adventure Cycling Wally Warner and SUCCESS!
It apparently “takes a village” to move Caltrans. Now seems like a good time to re-address other Calif. State Highways that prohibit bicycling but offer poor, none, or marginally available bicycling connectivity.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> forwarded message from Adventure Cycling <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< From all of us at Adventure Cycling, we wanted to share some good news! After a year of negotiations with Caltrans, we just leaned that the agency is going to open two sections of I-40 between Needles & Barstow that were previously closed to cyclists. In one case, the historic Rte 66 was closed to non-local traffic (washed out bridges, etc) and in the other, the road is in extremely poor condition. This success was made possible through the help of a number of people but let me begin with the most recent chain of events. Dave Snyder from the California Bicycle Coalition and Jim Baross of CABA [sic should be CABO] & California Bicycle Advisory Committee met with the Depty Director of Caltrans a couple weeks ago. Because of this meeting, the Caltrans administrator requested the district 8 staff meet with us last week. They (dist 8) agreed to an on-the-ground review of conditions. Wally Werner, our board president was able to join district staff last Friday and drove the entire section on both the historic route and I-40 (144-miles). Wally reported back as did the district 8 staff and today we heard back from Dist 8 that they are going to open up these two critical sections. It isn’t everything we asked for, but it’s the most important sections that we needed. This has been a long process and we’ve received a lot of great advice and support. We also must thank additional partners – ACA volunteers/members: Walt Farmer and Brian Sousa; Alan Thompson from Southern CA Assoc of Governments. Mark Friis from Inland Empire Bike Coalition, Eric Bruins from L.A. County Bike Coalition, board of supervisors from Ventura and San Bernardino counties and many, many more! The maps are still slated to go out the first week of March and we’ll be supplying addenda with the new information. We still figuring out how we will do this. In addition, Jenn will be posting a blog about this development and we’ll be updating our Call to Action page with a new map showing the route on and off the freeway. I’ll send you all a link once these go live. Finally – we pledge to work with CBC, CBAC and Caltrans to help develop a long-term solution to the freeway/adjacent route closure issue. Jim, Dave, please keep us in mind as you work on next steps. Cheers! Ginny Sullivan Director of Travel Initiatives t. 800 755 2453 or 406 532 2769 f. 406 721 8754 150 E Pine St, Missoula, MT 59802 Adventure Cycling Association Inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle

Categories: Miscellaneous Tags:

Bad Tickets?

February 11th, 2015 Comments off

How will we fight back against bad traffic tickets for lawful bicycling!?

Please offer some advice; how to best help cyclists contest bad traffic tickets – when a person is inappropriately cited when driving a bicycle as we recommend (Bike League, ABEA, etc.) CABO wants to help fight back. Should we develop a new Legal Defense Fund (LDF) for that purpose? Is there a better way?
Comments may be forwarded to me, CABO President, at

We are considering that monies collected for a LDF will be used toward efforts fighting tickets where cyclists are inappropriately cited. We have already helped other cases, though without incurring costs yet for professional/paid attorney support.

Below is some background and some text we are proposing to help people cited to prepare a defense. [CABO is not intending to provide legal advice or support except through services provided by Calif. Bar approved attorneys.]

At times law enforcement officers (LEO) issue inappropriate tickets or mistakenly harass bicyclists who are riding legally and correctly. When LEOs stop winning cases we expect that they’ll learn not to issue bad tickets. CABO has experience with bad tickets for riding side by side in narrow lanes and bike lanes, for not riding as far to the right as an officer thinks a bicyclist should, for not putting a foot down at a stop sign, and other mistaken reasons. CABO wants to hear about these incidents, help reverse bad tickets and perhaps help law enforcement to do better in the future.

Here are some things we recommend that bicyclists be prepared to do if stopped by a traffic enforcement officer. Again, CABO is not intending to act as or to provide attorney services, but CABO may be able to refer cited bicyclists to attorneys in their area.

Bicycling Ticket Fighting Tips (some elaboration of each follows list):
• First and most important! Follow the Law. Ride correctly as LCIs and CSIs teach.
• When stopped by law enforcement officer (LEO) stay calm and respectful
• Attempting to argue or to correct the LEO is often fruitless. If you try, don’t push it.
• Fully document as much of the exchange and circumstances as you can.
• Although valid ID is necessary, showing your driver license is not required
• Request LEO detail why you were stopped, what she/he saw and exactly where it occurred
• Afterwards document as much of the conversation as you remember
• Carefully photograph the entire situation. Approach, area of alleged violation, conditions and even traffic flow at that time. Perhaps wait to do this until after the officer has left the scene.
• Obtain witness contact information
• If you choose to contest the Ticket, CABO wants to help

First and most important! Follow the Law:
CABO discourages bicyclists from running stop signs, ignoring traffic signals, riding at night without lights and reflectors, wrong-way riding, failing to scan-signal-move safety, etc. Your safety matters and the publics’ perception is very important. Traffic Commissioners and Judges are subject to the same cultural bias as others. They drive on our roads and develop biases from what they see. Going into a trial with a judge having a negative perception of cyclist makes it a steeper fight for all of us. League Cycling Instructors and/or Cycling Savvy Instructors are trained and certified to provide information and training about lawful bicycling and best practices. Your having documentation of completion of bicycling traffic training may help convince a judge that you were intending to be acting lawfully.

Stay calm and respectful:
First, when stopped do not let your emotions get the best of you. There may be an opportunity to just get a warning or even convince the LEO what you were doing was legal, but be very careful – courteous and respectful. Officers deal with whiners and liars daily and most traffic enforcement officers consider their knowledge and opinions unassailable. Arguing is rarely successful.

Valid ID need not be your driver’s license:
You are not required to provide a California Driver License (CDL) for a bicycling ticket but you do need to show valid ID. If you choose to use your driver’s license, politely ask the officer to clearly record that the ticket is for bicycling. If properly entered into the judicial system, the bicycling violation should not assess points against your driving record, which can also affect your auto insurance rates.

Document as much as you can:
If the officer is likely to issue a ticket that you may decide to fight and you want a successful court challenge, use the interaction with the officer to fully document all of the facts that the officer uses to determine the ticket was warranted.

When stopped you may accept the ticket without protest, but politely ask the officer to explain what was observed, why the officer believed there was a violation, and where the officer first observed the violation? If you are with another person, politely ask for the other person to listen but not participate in the conversation. This could provide a witness at a hearing or trial. If the officer refuses, do not argue, but note this for possible use at trial. Immediately after the officer leaves document the entire conversation; use a recording device or paper. Next photograph the scene; include: the road exactly where you were stopped, the road situation exactly where the officer said the violation was observed, the roadway in between, pavement conditions, striping, parked cars, general conditions and even flow of traffic if possible. Get contact info for any witnesses to the situation. These may be good references for the judge. The officer and you may not recall all of the traffic and road conditions many months after the incident.

Use of Documentation:
Gathered information: photos, witnesses, and notes at the time of the ticket is the best evidence. You, or an attorney can use these in your defense.

During trial a great deal of information may be obtained from the officer during cross-examination. Examples are: training deficiency regarding cyclist’s rights of the road, the vagueness of vehicle code, lack of personal bike riding experiences, lack of cycling specific training, etc. The objective being, if found guilty, to get as much evidence favorable to your position into the record if you choose to appeal. Facts not in the trail record cannot be considered during an appeal.

How CABO can help:
Your next step will be deciding whether to pay the fine or challenge the citation. If you wish to proceed, this is where CABO or, more effectively, an attorney may offer to assist appropriate so you may; decide whether to fight, prepare for cross-examination of the officer, ready evidence along with the opinion of experts such as League Cycling Instructors or similar who can substantiate that your riding was lawful.

So, if you want to contest a citation or harassment for actions and/or behaviors we know to be lawful and appropriate, CABO wants to help. Contact CABO President,, through your Area Director, or organization’s representative to CABO.

Please help us. Fight back against bad traffic tickets.
Would you like to help us help others by joining and/or donating to CABO? We are in the process of establishing an easy – Paypal – means to donate specifically to our LDF. In the meantime join and/or donate to CABO at


Categories: Miscellaneous Tags:

Board Mtg. Jan 31st. What are your issues?

January 29th, 2015 Comments off

CABO’s first Board meeting of 2015 will be this Saturday, Jan 31st. This year I am inviting some CABO friends to participate after 8 PM when the Board’s business meeting should have concluded; meet and greet, share issues, concerns, and ideas for forwarding CABO’s interests – promoting and protecting bicycling for bicyclists in California. Forward your ideas and request to me for an invitation to participate. (Sorry I must limit the number on the call – so get your request in early to

Categories: Miscellaneous Tags: