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Is it legal to cross the double yellow in California, USA?

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Is it legal to cross the double yellow in California, USA?

Old 07-08-20, 01:30 PM
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smashndash
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Is it legal to cross the double yellow in California, USA?

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/f...01120120SB1464

The 3 feet bill seems to explicitly allow it.

https://www.quora.com/Can-motorists-...for-Safety-Law

And yet I cannot find a SINGLE third-party source on the entire internet to confirm that it is legal to do so. People just say “slow down and wait until it is safe to pass”.

Help me clear this up once and for all. I might print out this bill and start carrying it in my car and on my bike, just to show people when they tell me they were legally forced to run me off the road or whatnot.
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Old 07-08-20, 01:47 PM
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SB 1464 was vetoed. https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/f...01120120SB1464

Scroll to the bottom.
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Old 07-08-20, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by smashndash View Post
https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/f...01120120SB1464

The 3 feet bill seems to explicitly allow it.

https://www.quora.com/Can-motorists-...for-Safety-Law

And yet I cannot find a SINGLE third-party source on the entire internet to confirm that it is legal to do so. People just say “slow down and wait until it is safe to pass”.

Help me clear this up once and for all. I might print out this bill and start carrying it in my car and on my bike, just to show people when they tell me they were legally forced to run me off the road or whatnot.
Here in Ohio it's been legal to overtake traffic traveling at half the posted limit or less on double yellow lines for a while.
Ohio Revised Code 4511.26 through 4511.30 outlines it pretty well, but there's no stated prohibition about crossing a double yellow line, either. That's always there case with legal codes, everyone wants to add something but they rarely take anything out.
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Old 07-08-20, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by smashndash View Post
https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/f...01120120SB1464

The 3 feet bill seems to explicitly allow it.

https://www.quora.com/Can-motorists-...for-Safety-Law

And yet I cannot find a SINGLE third-party source on the entire internet to confirm that it is legal to do so. People just say “slow down and wait until it is safe to pass”.

Help me clear this up once and for all. I might print out this bill and start carrying it in my car and on my bike, just to show people when they tell me they were legally forced to run me off the road or whatnot.
It isn't legal to cross the double yellow to pass a cyclist or another car.
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Old 07-08-20, 02:30 PM
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We have signs on the roads and highways stating that here. Many states have adopted the same or similar exception:
A motor vehicle operator may pass a bicycle traveling in the same direction in a nonpassing zone with the duty to execute the pass only when it is safe to do so.
But I guess if you can't find it in your states laws that's a problem. Most I've been too allow this. Can't think of any I went to that didn't.
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Old 07-08-20, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
We have signs on the roads and highways stating that here. Many states have adopted the same or similar exception:

But I guess if you can't find it in your states laws that's a problem. Most I've been too allow this. Can't think of any I went to that didn't.
In CA bicycles are basically considered motor vehicles for the purposes of traffic laws and the only exceptions to double yellow lines are in/out of a private driveway and u-turns.

CA's 3 foot law passed in 2014 doesnt change the prohibition of crossing the double yellow to pass a car or cyclist.

All that being said, you probably would not get a ticket if you passed a cyclist and it was safe to do so by crossing the double yellow line and gave three feet.
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Old 07-08-20, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
SB 1464 was vetoed. https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/f...01120120SB1464

Scroll to the bottom.
Ah shoot. Thanks. That really sucks. I guess that explains it.

Looks like the “Three feet for safety act” got gutted and passed as VC 21760.

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/f...tionNum=21760.

This is basically feel-good crap. How often are we getting skimmed when there’s plenty of room to pass legally? The main issue is specifically when there’s a double yellow and no bike lane. I CONSTANTLY get close-passed, so clearly this bill hasn’t done anything. People are more afraid of a cop seeing them put 2 wheels over the double yellow than they are of running a cyclist over. Spectacular.

Originally Posted by y2zipper View Post
It isn't legal to cross the double yellow to pass a cyclist or another car.
Thanks, also. Guess you’re right.

EDIT: Does anyone know if a cop has ever actually pulled someone over for violating the 3 feet rule when the only way to get around was to cross the double yellow? Like I get that skimming a cyclist when there’s no reason to is wrong, and most people won’t do that. But how often does the cop actually follow the letter of the law and give someone a ticket for squeezing between a cyclist and the double yellow?
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Old 07-08-20, 02:55 PM
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I read that you people out there have a lot of hot head drivers that hate cyclists. So maybe you shouldn't do it there. But here, I stay far enough from the edge of the road that they can't pass when traffic is coming the other way.

I started doing this a long time ago when a small vehicle pulling a boat trailer that was way wider than their car almost hooked me with the fender on the trailer. Haven't had an issue since.


P.S. bicycles most everywhere are considered vehicles and subject to most all the same laws of traffic that a car or truck driver must follow. There are just some interesting exceptions of certain laws in quite a few states.

Last edited by Iride01; 07-08-20 at 03:00 PM.
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Old 07-08-20, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
I read that you people out there have a lot of hot head drivers that hate cyclists. So maybe you shouldn't do it there. But here, I stay far enough from the edge of the road that they can't pass when traffic is coming the other way.

I started doing this a long time ago when a small vehicle pulling a boat trailer that was way wider than their car almost hooked me with the fender on the trailer. Haven't had an issue since.
Well... considering that it is illegal for people to cross the double yellow, and many people refuse to do it, people would have to line up behind me or I would constantly have to pull over and let people through.

I do pull over when there is someone behind me who actually tries (bless their heart) to follow the letter of the law and not cross the double yellow AND give me 3 feet. That is rare. I’d rather not pull over for every single car. I’d never get anywhere.

If I choose to be an a-hole and never pull over, or only pull over when there are 4 or more cars behind me... yeah that’s asking to be murdered.

These legislators, or at least Jerry Brown, are so out of touch with what happens in reality that it’s...

well, not so shocking, honestly.
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Old 07-08-20, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by smashndash View Post
Ah shoot. Thanks. That really sucks. I guess that explains it.

Looks like the “Three feet for safety act” got gutted and passed as VC 21760.

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/f...tionNum=21760.

This is basically feel-good crap. How often are we getting skimmed when there’s plenty of room to pass legally? The main issue is specifically when there’s a double yellow and no bike lane. I CONSTANTLY get close-passed, so clearly this bill hasn’t done anything. People are more afraid of a cop seeing them put 2 wheels over the double yellow than they are of running a cyclist over. Spectacular.



Thanks, also. Guess you’re right.

EDIT: Does anyone know if a cop has ever actually pulled someone over for violating the 3 feet rule when the only way to get around was to cross the double yellow? Like I get that skimming a cyclist when there’s no reason to is wrong, and most people won’t do that. But how often does the cop actually follow the letter of the law and give someone a ticket for squeezing between a cyclist and the double yellow?
​​​​​​California is gigantic and it depends where you are in the state. I do some organized rides in San Diego county and the way they enforced stop sign law for example is that they want you to get one foot down. At organized rides I have actually seen cops ticket drivers and cyclists for failing to obey traffic law, butin my experience police would be more keen on giving somebody a ticket for passing a cyclist too closely than they would for giving a ticket for passing over The line.

What the California 3ft passing law does do for us is that it clearly defines when a cyclist is allowed to take a lane. Basically, California allows a cyclist to use the full Lane when is isn't safe for a car to ride next to you and with the 3ft passing law that means that if the lane is not wide enough for me 3 ft and a car without the car being over the line I'm allowed to take the full Lane. the caveat to this is that most people don't understand that cyclists are allowed to take the lane. Lucky for me I live somewhere where there's a lot of really good bike Lanes built-in everywhere and there are enough cyclists where drivers are pretty damn good around me but a few cities over I know that just happens to not be the case.
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Old 07-08-20, 03:11 PM
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I don't abuse my privilege. At least I don't think so. I do pull over at times when there is something to pull over on safely. But I'm not pulling over for every car that wants to pass at the moment it appears behind me.

So far, no one here has spewed any profanity or waved a middle finger. Unless maybe I just couldn't see in those deep tinted windows <grin>

But if your state doesn't allow it, that's an issue you should get others calling their reps about.
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Old 07-08-20, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by y2zipper View Post
​​​​​​

What the California 3ft passing law does do for us is that it clearly defines when a cyclist is allowed to take a lane. Basically, California allows a cyclist to use the full Lane when is isn't safe for a car to ride next to you and with the 3ft passing law that means that if the lane is not wide enough for me 3 ft and a car without the car being over the line I'm allowed to take the full Lane. the caveat to this is that most people don't understand that cyclists are allowed to take the lane. Lucky for me I live somewhere where there's a lot of really good bike Lanes built-in everywhere and there are enough cyclists where drivers are pretty damn good around me but a few cities over I know that just happens to not be the case.
San Diego, especially north of Fiesta Island, is actually a fantastic place to ride. Most of it is newer development. Up here in the bay area, we have a lot of old mountain roads, though. A lot of places with no bike lanes.

My issue with this 3 foot law is that I have to be willing to be dead right. This law is gonna do jack for me when some crackpot decides to ram me because I’m taking the lane and I don’t have anywhere to safely pull over or don’t feel like pulling over for the Nth time.

People have gotten mad at me for taking a lane WITH sharrows when THERE ARE MULTIPLE LANES. It doesn’t get much worse than that.
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Old 07-08-20, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by smashndash View Post
San Diego, especially north of Fiesta Island, is actually a fantastic place to ride. Most of it is newer development. Up here in the bay area, we have a lot of old mountain roads, though. A lot of places with no bike lanes.

My issue with this 3 foot law is that I have to be willing to be dead right. This law is gonna do jack for me when some crackpot decides to ram me because I’m taking the lane and I don’t have anywhere to safely pull over or don’t feel like pulling over for the Nth time.

People have gotten mad at me for taking a lane WITH sharrows when THERE ARE MULTIPLE LANES. It doesn’t get much worse than that.
What what I find out in San Diego is that locals know the cycling lies really well and tourists get mad when you take a lane regardless of sharrows.

People have gotten mad at me too but nobody really wants the consequences of hitting a cyclist from behind. if the lane is wide enough for cars to give you three feet of clearance without crossing the double yellow line or if the line is striped in the middle you need to be on the right but if it's not then you need to be in the middle of the lane and take the lane.

I have learned over the years that being adamant and not being shy about taking my Lane when I need to take my Lane keeps me safer than being on the right. if a car is behind me and it's safe I'll slide over to the right to let them pass or give them some room if they want but sometimes I can't and they just have to drive behind me. The reality that people can't drive and don't pay attention when they drive does suck though.
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Old 07-08-20, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by y2zipper View Post
​​​​​​California allows a cyclist to use the full Lane when is isn't safe for a car to ride next to you and with the 3ft passing law that means that if the lane is not wide enough for me 3 ft and a car without the car being over the line I'm allowed to take the full Lane. the caveat to this is that most people don't understand that cyclists are allowed to take the lane.
There is a sign for that too. "Cyclist May Use Full Lane".

We have them on the Natchez Trace, which is a Federal Park Service jurisdiction. And it's been appearing on many of the roads and highways I drive on. Only a few on the roads in areas where I cycle.... go figure.

It's thought to get the message over a little better than "Share the Road"
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Old 07-08-20, 03:25 PM
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Good discussion! I also read Gov. Brown's veto rationale in that he doesn't want the state to be sued for head on collisions for 'allowing' unsafe passing. Just look at another state's vehicle code! As I said before, Ohio doesn't seem to make it illegal to cross the double line, but does make it illegal to drive on the left of the roadway in many cases. Safe overtaking is not one of those times. The key being safe. Like Iride01, I've confidently occupied the right tire track on the right side lanes (unless making left turns on multiple lane roads). I'm thankful that many, many drivers in my city consider me to be traffic and not an impediment, and dutifully wait for a safe time to pass. I also monitor traffic behind me so I can see a backup and plan to yield to traffic behind me when needed and safe. I ran into a website called I am Traffic that makes some good points.
The hardest part about this from the driver's perspective is that crossing that double yellow line is always taught as forbidden, to the point that drivers are unwilling to pass stopped buses with a clear and safe center left turn lane, causing quite the backup.
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Old 07-08-20, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Unca_Sam View Post
Good discussion! I also read Gov. Brown's veto rationale in that he doesn't want the state to be sued for head on collisions for 'allowing' unsafe passing. Just look at another state's vehicle code! As I said before, Ohio doesn't seem to make it illegal to cross the double line, but does make it illegal to drive on the left of the roadway in many cases. Safe overtaking is not one of those times. The key being safe. Like Iride01, I've confidently occupied the right tire track on the right side lanes (unless making left turns on multiple lane roads). I'm thankful that many, many drivers in my city consider me to be traffic and not an impediment, and dutifully wait for a safe time to pass. I also monitor traffic behind me so I can see a backup and plan to yield to traffic behind me when needed and safe. I ran into a website called I am Traffic that makes some good points.
The hardest part about this from the driver's perspective is that crossing that double yellow line is always taught as forbidden, to the point that drivers are unwilling to pass stopped buses with a clear and safe center left turn lane, causing quite the backup.
https://iamtraffic.org/engineering/c...e-yellow-line/

Good read. I think the point really needs to be driven home that crossing the double yellow is something that happens everywhere, and all the time. It’s better for cars and better for cyclists. It’s PURELY a matter of Jerry Brown being afraid of lawsuits - ie it seems the state’s interests take precedence over the cyclists’ and the motorists’. Disgusting.

Also, legislation ought to follow cultural norms, not the other way around. If people want to be able to cross the double yellow when safe, the law should allow it.
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Old 07-08-20, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by y2zipper View Post
In CA bicycles are basically considered motor vehicles for the purposes of traffic laws and the only exceptions to double yellow lines are in/out of a private driveway and u-turns.

CA's 3 foot law passed in 2014 doesnt change the prohibition of crossing the double yellow to pass a car or cyclist.

All that being said, you probably would not get a ticket if you passed a cyclist and it was safe to do so by crossing the double yellow line and gave three feet.
If you come upon an obstruction in the road, can you cross a double yellow to avoid it? If you com across a car with its flashers on limping slowly with a flat tire, are you legally bound to remain behind it? What about a mail truck stopping at every box?
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Old 07-08-20, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
If you come upon an obstruction in the road, can you cross a double yellow to avoid it? If you com across a car with its flashers on limping slowly with a flat tire, are you legally bound to remain behind it? What about a mail truck stopping at every box?
California does have an emergency exemption for crossing over which probably covers obstructions of the road and would probably cover a limping car with its hazards on. With the mail truck I would guess that it's not legal to pass it but I don't think it would be enforced that way.

But outside of that exemption and the left-turn exemption California vehicle code pretty much streets the double yellow lines has forbidden.l
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Old 07-09-20, 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by y2zipper View Post
California does have an emergency exemption for crossing over which probably covers obstructions of the road and would probably cover a limping car with its hazards on. With the mail truck I would guess that it's not legal to pass it but I don't think it would be enforced that way.

But outside of that exemption and the left-turn exemption California vehicle code pretty much streets the double yellow lines has forbidden.l
It often comes down to officer interpretation of the law, but I have a hunch the language of some law would implicitly allow going across the double yellow to pass a cyclist.
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Old 07-09-20, 07:12 AM
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You can cross the lines when safe to do so. Runner, biker, delivery truck, mail truck, slow tractor etc. Show me someone who has gotten a ticket for going around a slower road user.
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Old 07-09-20, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
You can cross the lines when safe to do so. Runner, biker, delivery truck, mail truck, slow tractor etc. Show me someone who has gotten a ticket for going around a slower road user.
...when safe...
There are probably hundreds of tickets written for going left off center without assured clear distance.
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Old 07-09-20, 03:44 PM
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Not familiar with California law, but fairly recent Indiana bike-related laws allow for vehicles to pass bikes even in a no-passing zone as long as it is safe to do so.

Related question: Why do we generally refer to 'double yellow' areas when the single yellow in the direction we are going is all that matters?
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Old 07-10-20, 11:39 AM
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It is legal in CA to cross the double yellow to pass a slow moving vehicle. A bike is considered a slow moving vehicle.
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Old 07-10-20, 10:31 PM
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Come on. All of you drive at some time or the other. Seriously, how eager would you be to put more than two wheels over a double yellow? Or cross it at all? Unless its some rural byway with 10 vehicles per hour in each direction I am not going over the line except for a very good reason. Passing a cyclist is NOT a very good reason!! I AM a cyclist. More so than most of you because I am completely car free and my bikes are my cars. I am on a bike every day of the week. I haven't been behind the wheel of a car in two years. So I am sympathetic to cyclist issues but too many of you create your own pain. If you are 'taking the lane' you will experience a very close pass when the driver goes past you with two wheels over. NO he is not going all the way over because he is exposing himself and anyone in a car he might hit head on to instant death. The great majority of drivers treat a double yellow like a brick wall and will not willingly go over it. Hitting a cyclist at speed isn't something they WANT to do, but ... it does happen. Bad, bad driver. 30 days in the time out corner. Some consolation. But getting rear ended isn't likely to happen to me because I FRAP without apology and it's worked for me. For decades. I recommend it as a best practice. Carry on.
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Old 07-11-20, 03:33 PM
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In NC passing cars have to give cyclists 4 ft clearance, and are allowed to cross the double-yellow to do so, as long as they can do it safely. There are road signs dotted around the place to this effect, although not enough. In my experience, most drivers will cross the double-yellow, but I’m not sure how many of them do it because they’re allowed, or they don’t realize it’s legal, but do it anyway because they don’t care - good for me either way - it’s the dipsh1ts that shave past me With a foot to spare that ruin my day
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