LADOT says “Don’t block the bike lane”

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation Bike Program office released this “Don’t block the bike lane” PSA last Thursday.

LA Dot Bike Program: Don't block the bike lane

The first to tweet a photo of this sign in the wild gets a free pair of LA DOT Bike Program socks. Are these available as stickers to slap onto offending trash cans?

The people on my street are pretty good about keeping their garbage bins out of the bike lane I use. The problem I see is the trash collection people who just toss the cans willy nilly.

I appreciate this message to people who may not otherwise think about blocking the bike lane with their trash cans, but I’m not sure the legal reference to CVC 21211 is correct. See if you can spot the problem.

California Vehicle Code V C Section 21211
Obstruction of Bikeways or Bicycle Paths or Trails


(a) No person may stop, stand, sit, or loiter upon any class I bikeway, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code, or any other public or private bicycle path or trail, if the stopping, standing, sitting, or loitering impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist.

(b) No person may place or park any bicycle, vehicle, or any other object upon any bikeway or bicycle path or trail, as specified in subdivision (a), which impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist unless the placement or parking is necessary for safe operation or is otherwise in compliance with the law.

Sections (c -f ) listing various exceptions omitted.

Did you see it? CVC 21211 applies only to “class I bikeways,” i.e. bike paths or trails. Bike lanes are called “class II bikeways” under Section 890.4 of the California Streets and Highways Code.

In conclusion, maybe not a legally enforceable thing, but still nice to get the word out that, hey, your trash bin is blocking my lane!


  1. But 21211(b) says “any bikeway” which would also include Class II bike lanes. It is followed up by “as specified in subdivision (a)” but one could say that only applies to the “bicycle path or trail” wording.

  2. When the bike lane is up against the curb, where are the garbage cans supposed to go?

    The 21211 wording is ambiguous. But 21208(a)(3) is clear:

    (3) When reasonably necessary to leave the bicycle lane to avoid debris or other hazardous conditions.

    The presence of a garbage can is clearly a hazardous condition that makes it reasonably necessary to leave the bicycle lane.

    Look ahead. Look back. Signal if necessary. When safe, move into the traffic lane. It’s not that hard.

    This is one reason physical “protection” is such a problem. Cyclists can’t get out to avoid obstructions.

  3. There must be some law regarding objects left in the middle of the car lane. I wonder if this is worded generally and could be applied to the bike lane also. Anything left in the middle of the car lane becomes an immediate crises generating tons of panicky 911 calls. Trying telling drivers to just chill out, signal and use the other lane to drive around the object…..and maybe someday someone will come move it. See how well that goes over.

  4. “There must be some law regarding objects left in the middle of the car lane. ”

    I don’t think there is, believe it or not. These are not freeways. It’s the public right of way. Even laws against littering are relatively new (1970s, if I’m not mistaken).

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