Outlaw Cyclists Run Rampant on City Streets

I didn’t realize until now that I break the law nearly every day:

12.60.010  Bicycle license required.

It is unlawful for any person to operate or use a bicycle, as defined in Section 39000 of the California Vehicle Code, upon any street in the city of Oakland without first obtaining a California Bicycle License therefor

I’m glad to see that I’m unlikely to do any jail time if I get busted:

12.60.080  Violation of Sections 12.60.010 through 12.60.060–Fine.

Any person who violates or fails to comply with the provisions of Sections 12.60.010 through 12.60.060 shall be subject to a fine of not more than ten dollars ($10.00)

7 Responses to “Outlaw Cyclists Run Rampant on City Streets”

  1. wordnerd says:

    “a fine of not more than ten dollars ($10.00)”


  2. dc says:

    Good point. If every revolution of the pedals were to be considered a separate infraction, it could get pretty expensive pretty fast.

    There are some other things in Oakland’s municipal code that been the source of much amusement, such as the following:

    9.08.080 Immoral dress.
    It is unlawful for any person in the city to appear in any public place nude or in the attire of a person of the opposite sex, or in any indecent or lewd attire.

    9.08.090 Bathing.
    It is unlawful for any person to bathe or swim in the waters of Lake Merritt in the city. It is unlawful for any person to bathe or swim in the waters of the Estuary of San Antonio or the Oakland Harbor, or any of the waters tributary thereto, within the limits of the city, unless such person is clad in a bathing suit, or for any persons to disrobe at any place in the city for the purpose of bathing or swimming except under some shelter reasonably protecting such person from public view.

  3. eric says:

    Ha! Does Section 39000 actually define bicycle use?

  4. nnyhav says:

    Perhaps you could get a bicycle helmet in violation of 9.08.080

  5. dc says:

    Eric: No, it defines “bicycle:”

    “Bicycle”, for the purposes of this division, means any device upon which a person may ride, which is propelled by human power through a system of belts, chains, or gears having either two or three wheels (one of which is at least 20 inches in diameter) or having a frame size of at least 14 inches, or having four or more wheels.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of cities still have laws on the books requiring bicycle registration. I think there may have been a period of time (maybe early 70’s, when bicycling was becoming a more widespread mode of transportation?) when bike registration was considered a “best practice.” (California Vehicle Code Sections 39001-39009 are all about bicycle licensing/registration, although they don’t mandate it, and Section 39011 specifies the $10 maximum for infractions. I’m not kidding.)

    nnyhav: I also wonder if one could get a bicycle helmet that would qualify as a “bathing suit” for 9.08.090. (Or maybe “bathing suit” is defined somewhere in the California Code too.)

  6. ruth gutmann says:

    There are times when people decide to ride their bikes — without helmet — on the narrow sidewalk of Beacon Street and it is easy to get hit by them.

    In Hannover, Germany, there are strips of side walk dedicated to cycling. The problem is that visitors do not know the significance of the slightly different paving. If you walk on their strip they do NOT stop for you. My friends fortunately pulled me away from those strips.

  7. Carol Polk says:

    When I was a kid on a bike in Texas, I was required to get a license sticker for it. It cost perhaps $1, which in the late 1940s/early 1950s was an investment. I thought it had two purposes, one to make it easier to identify a stolen bike (or make it less likely to be stolen) and the other to impress on us the responsibility to obey the traffic laws, just like our parents with their automobile licenses had to do. Things were simpler then.

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