Vehicle Code 21209 VC - Driving In a Bike Lane

If you’ve opened your mail one day to discover that you’ve received a Vehicle Code 21209 VC violation, you’re probably wondering what comes next. From what it is, to what it means, to how you got it, and what to do about it, the information that you need to know is covered below. Focus areas include:

What is Vehicle Code 21209 VC?

The best place to start is going to be with the legislature, of course. The California Legislature states: “No person shall drive a motor vehicle in a bicycle lane established on a roadway pursuant to Section 21207” For most people, this one is pretty simple — which is a great place to start! This code tells California drivers that they are not allowed to drive their vehicle in a marked and established bike lane on the road.

What does it mean to have violated Vehicle Code 21209 VC?

The sounds pretty great, of course, but the best way to understand what that looks like in real life, as a driver on the road, let’s put our imaginary California driver, Archie, into several imaginary scenarios to get a better sense of what this looks and feels like.

Archie is running late to work and wants to go and get a coffee from his favorite shop. He doesn’t have time to wait for a parking spot to open up in front or pull into the drive-thru. So, he veers into the bike lane, puts on his blinker, and then heads to have his coffee. A peace officer would then give him a citation for a Vehicle Code 21209 VC violation. He is using the lane to leave his car for a minute, even though it’s a designated bike lane. He is still technically “driving” his car in this example.

In another situation, Archie wants to get around an accident that happened ahead of him. Rather than waiting for traffic in the left lane to subside, he veers into the bike lane instead of going around the accident that way. A peace officer could then give him a Vehicle Code 21209 VC violation because he is deliberately driving through/in a bike lane. This would not apply if the peace officer directed him using signals to go around through the bike lane, of course!

There are a few exceptions to this to know about. Let’s say Archie is driving to work, and an emergency vehicle is behind him with its lights flights flashing. Archie must move out of the way, but the only way to do so would be the bike lane. Being careful not to cut anyone off in the bike lane, Archie signals and moves into the bike lane to allow the emergency vehicle past. Since this is an emergency situation, this would be exempt from a Vehicle Code 21209 VC violation.

The same thing would be the case of Archie was driving along, and a car on the other side of the street lost control and was suddenly on a direct collision course. Archie tries to stop to avoid this out-of-control car but is not able to do so enough. As a last resort, he is forced to pull into the bike lane to avoid being hit by the other car.

Or, Archie is driving in his lane, and the car behind him rear-ends him by mistake. Archie unintentionally swerves into the bike lane before hitting the curb on the other side as he struggles to get his vehicle back under control. Since Archie is unintentionally entering the bike lane, he wouldn’t be guilty of the violation.

Lastly, this violation wouldn’t apply in a situation where Archie is completing a turn or proceeding to a parking spot. These are legal exceptions of “driving” in the bike lane because of where the bike lane is placed. However, Archie would need to signal this indication and check for bikers in order to complete the turn safely and legally.

What can I do about this violation?

If you receive this violation, there will be a fine of up to $250, and you will have 1 point added to your driving record. You will also find out on that letter whether you are eligible to attend traffic school. If you are, you can pay the fee issued by the court and start attending the institution of your choice. There is more on this later.

If you feel you qualify for one of the exceptions listed above, however, you can choose to fight the violation with an experienced attorney to help you. However, most cases will need some sort of evidence to support this.

Other possible Vehicle Code violation connections

Some violations have others that are similar to, and therefore eligible to add, similar offenses. These will add further penalties to your record. There is one other Vehicle Code violation that can be related to a Vehicle Code 21209 VC violation. This is:

  • Vehicle Code 23127: Receiving this violation means that you are driving an unauthorized vehicle on a trail or a path.

Depending on the situation surrounding the reason for your citation, the peace officer or court may choose to add this one to your listed violation. They also may use this one instead of the one that you received. It greatly depends on what they determine to be best and most appropriate for the situation at hand.

Is this ticket eligible for traffic school?

Some tickets are eligible for drivers to consider attending traffic school. This will help mask points from their driving record. As introduced above, a Vehicle Code 21209 VC violation is eligible for traffic school!  This is because it is a moving citation and traffic school that will offer assistance and re-education to help you be a safer driver in the future. It will be listed as an option on your letter in the mail so that you know have the option available to you.

In order to have this successfully work for you, you must voluntarily attend traffic school and you must may the court’s fine before doing so. The school must be an accredited traffic school, like MM TRAFFIC SCHOOL, in order to get the DMV-issued credit that you will get when you complete and pass the exam at the end of the course. 

Attending traffic school is a great way to help address your driving technique and also enjoy the process of learning about traffic laws. We always aim to infuse traffic-related humor into all of our courses so that you’ll realize that education does not have to be boring or frustrating. With the right teachers and program, it can be fun, fulfilling, and — most importantly — memorable. If you have any questions or concerns on whether MM TRAFFIC SCHOOL is the right match for you, please contact us and we’ll be happy to give you more information on how it works.

Do you have more questions on our Vehicle Code 21209 VC violation?  We are also more than happy to explain that to you. If you want a more personalized approach, you can also contact the court that issued you your ticket, since they will be familiar with your case.

How can I avoid a citation for a Vehicle Code 21209 VC violation?

As with any potential traffic violation you may receive, the best thing that you can do for your driving record is to avoid the citation in the citation. When it comes to a Vehicle Code 21209 VC violation specifically, the focus on how to avoid it is going to be about two main areas of interest.

Firstly, take some time to do some reading about what a bike is intended for. Many people think it’s only there “just in case”. Or “just to make sure it’s available”. However, a bike lane is going to be as formal as a double yellow line or a shoulder for emergency vehicles. Understanding what the bike lane is for, and how bikers use it, will help you to appreciate its integral role in street design. This makes you less likely to see it as a space for your vehicle.

Secondly, you will want to always remember that it is your duty to protect other drivers. This includes those driving motorcycles in the bike lane, which is permitted, and bicyclists themselves. By choosing to use the bike lane however you wish, you are putting their safety and lives at risk. If you keep this in mind, it is a good way to help you make sure that you never consider driving in the bike lane just “just this once.”  Always remember: A Vehicle Code 21209 VC violation means that you are intentionally and deliberately driving in the bike lane for no “apparent” reason. If you are not doing so willingly, then you are not guilty of a Vehicle Code 21209 VC violation!




San Diego Ticket Fighter