The UVC

UVC — Uniform Vehicle Code. A placeholder article for all things UVC.  I don’t really understand the process, but it’s what I refer to as a quasi-official group/document, it has no weight-of-law, unlike e.g. the MUTCD, which is maintained by the federal gov’t, and incorporated by reference into Arizona (among many others) law.

The wiki article is very sparse; it links to the NCUTLO page, which still has a website but from what I understand is “on hiatus”; and the NCUTCD “inherited” maintenance for the UVC — see “evolution” below. See also azbikelaw.org/contrib/UVC/ for many old/historical references  to UVC, especially pre-2000 versions.

UVC 2000 “Millenial Edition”

I believe this is the “current edition”? Here is a full scan of the UVC 2000 “Millenial Edition” (15MB why so big? No graphics. Also includes some appendices and back-matter). i copied that from iamtraffic.org, this all by the way appears to not a copyright problem; all these documents seem to have the “Contents may be printed with attribution” in the footer.

Other possibly helpful parts/extracts/etc

Here are a couple of individual chapters (version?) that were listed with those 4/20/13 proposals (or see all local copies of docs beginning with “UVC”)

Traffic Laws Annotated

TLA is published by the US DOT / FHWA; and was prepared by NCUTLO. As such it is apparently in the public domain and freely available; Google Books edition (fully searchable); also a .pdf is available. Unfortunately, the most recent edition apparently is 1979, so it is mainly of interest for historical research, from the forward:

This book contains five chapters from the Uniform Vehicle Code … and compares state traffic laws with significant portions of those chapters, particularly the one on “Rules of the Road.” This book is not the Uniform Vehicle Code.” contains a handy compendium of UVC along with cross-references to all state’s laws, along with historical notes.

There is also this thing called the Resource Guide on Laws Related to Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety; seems to be circa early-2000’s, and seems to be a subset of the published TLA. It’s clunky to use, it is delivered as a .zip file that has a complied Windows help (.chm).

Modern (post 2000) Historical evolution

As explained by this page at NCUTCD:

When the unit which became the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (NCUTCD) was originally created, a unit known as the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Laws and Ordinances (NCUTLO) was also created. The first unit dealt with the engineering side of traffic control while the second unit dealt with the enforcement and adjudication. Today, as was recognized then, in order for there to be uniform traffic control devices, it is necessary that both engineering/applications and traffic laws be uniform.

Several years ago NCUTLO went into hiatus because of a lack of funding. The primary problem was that the Internet provided, at no cost, much of the information that was previously easily available only from the committee for the cost of an annual membership.

Since the engineering side of traffic control is ever evolving, the lack of a method for the enforcement and adjudication side to keep pace with the need for new uniform definitions and traffic laws creates the possibility that individual jurisdictions will interpret and enforce the engineering advancements differently. When this occurs, the possibility of uniformity of application and of road user understanding is lost.

In order for NCUTCD to fulfill its goal of uniformity for the benefit of the road user, it appointed a task force to review the Rules of the Road as found in Chapter 11 of the Year 2000 version of the Uniform Vehicle Code published by NCUTLO and to generate proposed amendments to these traffic laws as necessary to reflect the new engineering principles and applications as they appear in the current version of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

Post 2000 update proposals

The NCUTCD (National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices), at rulesroad042013.shtml has a proposed update (.doc format) to some bicycle stuff (or view proposal on web  but with some markup difficulties).

There are a bunch of mainly clarifications; bicyclists may but are not required to use shoulder; sidewalk bicycling treated as ped; two-abreast is not impeding when an adjacent lane is available.


On Wed, Nov 13, 2013 at 02:36:33PM -0500, Richard C. Moeur wrote:
>  Since NCUTLO has become dormant, NCUTCD has taken
> on the task of updating Chapter 11 (Rules of the Road)
> of the UVC, plus relevant parts of Chapter 1 (Definitions).
> No organization has taken on the maintenance or updating
> of the other chapters of the UVC.


> In spring 2013, NCUTCD published a draft of proposed
> revisions to the UVC affecting bicycle travel, and some
> comments were submitted, However, since this time, the
> Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has announced
> they intend to publish a new edition of the MUTCD in 2016,
> which means that the NCUTCD Bicycle Technical Committee
> (BTC) must now focus on developing MUTCD content for the
> next?edition. Once this is complete, the BTC will return to
> the pending UVC revisions, and take the appropriate steps
> to gain NCUTCD approval of changes for future publication.
> This likely won’t restart before spring or summer of 2014,
> though.

BTC Priorities 2014

This document was found floundering around on the internet; carrying a date of  btcpriority.pdf; among other items here is a UVC reference:

Revisions to Uniform Vehicle Code Chapter 11 (Rules of the Road) / Assigned to (John) Allen; E; ACTIVE; NCUTLO owned and developed  UVC, but became inactive in 2002 (after  publishing 2000 UVC). UVC “orphaned”  after this date. Other transportation, legal,  enforcement orgs contacted re maintaining  the UVC – no interest. NCUTCD agreed to update Chap 11 (Rules of Road) – other  UVC chapters still “orphaned”. Revisions to bicycle sections assigned to BTC.  Preliminary revisions drafted in 2012 –
comments received 2013. Topic was placed on hold 2013-2014 to focus on proposed content for next MUTCD – reactivated fall
2014.

2 thoughts on “The UVC”

  1. § 11—303-overtaking a vehicle on the left
    The following rules shall govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction, subject to those limitations, exceptions and special rules hereinafter stated: …
    (b) Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, the driver of an overtaken vehicle shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle on audible signal and shall not increase the speed of the vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.

  2. cyclists are drivers thread

    I’m not understanding the UVC’s FTR exception #4. (pasted below). From memory, I had thought it said something like bicyclists are excepted from riding at the far right when the *was* a RTO lane. Upon looking it up; that’s not at all what it says…

    § 11-1205—Position on roadway
    (a) Any person operating a bicycle or a moped upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as close as practicable to the right—hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:
    1. When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
    2. When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
    3. When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions including but not limited to: fixed or moving objects; parked or moving vehicles; bicycles; pedestrians; animals; surface hazards; or substandard width lanes that make it unsafe to continue along the right—hand curb or edge. For purposes of this section, a “substandard width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a motor vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.
    4. When riding in the right—turn—only lane.

    Patrick Smith I don’t recall ever seeing a RTO lane wide enough for a car and bike to share, so I would think #3 would cover not being FTR any place where there is a RTO lane.

    Wayne Pein Hmmmm. 4. seems like a recent addition to justify/mitigate keeping bicyclists in the RTO lane when bike lanes dump them into it.

    Ed Beighe i’m sort of fuzzy about where this all comes from; but from my understanding, this is the newest and last edition, the “Millenial Edition” put out in 2000. That is where i got that snippet from.

    Dan Gutierrez The 4th exception is the same as the CA exception, when approaching a place (driveways or intersections) where a right turn is authorized (to prevent right hook turns)

    Ed Beighe Dan, CA 21202 says “When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized”. That makes sense. The UVC language seems to say something completely odd and different

    Dan Gutierrez When did the UVC add that wording? Is that new? it is unlawful to drive a bike straight through a RTOL, except in a few odd states that have made such a destination positioning violation lawful.

    Ed Beighe i don’t know the historical story — what i quoted is from the “Millenium Edition of the UVC” (year 2000) so it’s far from new; somehow or other i found it at iamtraffic. It matches snippets dredged up from the NCUTLO and/or NCUTCD sites. here is a link: http://iamtraffic.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/UVC2000.pdf

    Tony Guy The code allows cyclists to center themselves in a right turn lane, implicit, when making a right turn from the lane. Proceeding straight in a right turn is contrary to code.

    Justin pointed out this document: January 11, 2000 UVC Changes which seems to imply the current #4 was added per an OBF proposal (god only knows why they/anyone thought this was a good idea).

    A ~1999 NCUTLO page states a withdrawn proposal by Riley Geary — LAB NCUTLO Rep, the “chuck smith” language is what got into the UVC 2000:

    I would also suggest using the CA Vehicle Code language as the basis for a fourth exception to 11-1205’s “ride as far to the right as practicable” rule, rather than Chuck Smith’s proposed language (4. When riding in the right-turn-only lane), since relatively few places where a right turn is authorized are actually marked as right-turn-only lanes

    Found this new-ish (2012?) proposal document of the Rules of the Road Committee of NCUTCD Bicycle position on roadway where right turns are authorized; among other changes, it suggests replacing the existing #4 with “4. When approaching an intersection where where right-turn movements are permitted, a bicycle may be ridden far enough to the left to facilitate such movements by overtaking vehicles.”

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