Conference Interactive Program
To view the 2013 Annual Meeting Interactive Program
TRB 90th Annual Meeting (January 23-27, 2011)
Bicycle Planning and Policy
Jan 24 2011 7:30PM- 9:30PM
Hilton, International Center
Uniform Vehicle Code and State Statutes Governing Bicycling, 2010: Analysis of Definitions and Statutes (11-0409)
The legal framework in which the users of bicycles and motorized vehicles operate varies widely from state to state. For laws governing transportation, in particular laws governing vehicles on roads, the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Laws and Ordinances has created the Uniform Vehicle Code (UVC). The UVC was developed to serve as a framework that each state can adopt fully, in part, or ignore completely as they best feel serves their state. Most states have chosen to adopt the majority of the UVC without alteration, but the standards applied by various states to the operation of a bicycle tend to deviate from the UVC. This paper looks in depth at 14 different areas of the Uniform Vehicle Code and how the fifty states have each chosen to treat these areas through their state codes. This research was conducted as part of a comprehensive analysis looking at interactions between bicycles and motorized vehicles on rural roads, and focuses specifically on two areas: statutes affecting drivers when passing on the left (both inside and outside of designated no-passing zones), and statutes that specifically apply to bicycles. By making the Rules of the Road, especially regarding the operation of, and interaction with, bicycles nearly uniform, the goal of promoting safety is advanced, as vehicle operators and bicyclists can take knowledge obtained in one jurisdiction and confidently utilize it anywhere in the country. This consistency also mitigates the potential for confusion, as expectancy for operators of vehicles and bicycles will likely not be violated. From this research, it is apparent that not every state has placed the same priority on the safety of all their road users. This analysis has shown that while much progress is being made to alleviate these inadequacies, there is still much work to be done. Without a national focus on the uniformity of traffic laws related to bicycling, the continued patchwork covering the nation will remain, leaving serious holes that ultimately make the roads less safe for everyone.
Chapman, Jeremy R., Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Transportation Research Board. 500 Fifth St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © 2012. National Academy of Sciences. All Rights Reserved.