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 See also for many old/historical references  to UVC, especially pre-2000 versions.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, 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”)

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.

I don’t know if this is any newer, or any updated, but the NCUTCD BTC “Priorities List” dated 10/06/2017 states:

Revisions to Uniform Vehicle Code Chapter 11 (Rules of the Road)
Assignee: (John) Allen; E(dit complete)

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. Use of e-mail list to develop UVC content not as effective as anticipated.

There is a fairly long, indexed list of proposals, most currently from November 20, 2014 maintained by John Allen, the NCUTCD Bicycle Technical Committee representative at (note was /UVC, now /uvc-proposals folder)

The list (the same list?) used to be available at 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 via an archived copy on google docs  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.

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 (1968, Supp. II 1976) 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.

The preparation of this book was financed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, United States Department of Transportation, under Contract No. DOT-HW-8-01952.

There is also this thing put out by NHTSA called the Resource Guide on Laws Related to Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety; seems to be circa early-2000’s, it covers a subset of laws from the UVC that they felt related directly to bike/ped. It’s clunky to use, it is delivered as a .zip file that has a complied Windows help (.chm). Here are some conversions of the .chm file that were extracted using some linux tools (chm2pdf, htmldoc) and makes the info hopefully more readily accessible:


6 thoughts on “The UVC”

  1. §11—303(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.

    This provision has a long history, as described in the TLA (Traffic Law Annotated) [ebook page 124] it’s been in the code unchanged since 1934, it was in the 1926 and 1930 codes with similar language. This law or similar is on the books in all US states.

    Arizona ARS 28-723(2), adds: “…or blinking of head lamps at night”.

    CA added (when? it was after TLA 1979 was published) to clarify that shoulder use is never required to comply with the law CVC 21753 “This section does not require the
    driver of an overtaken vehicle to drive on the shoulder of the highway in order to allow the overtaking vehicle to pass”

    The NCUTCD RORC (Rules Of the Road Committee? Though I don’t see it listed, maybe it’s actually a sub-committee) has a change request/proposal that apparently never went anywhere. You can see the proposal here (here is a web viewable version), the rational seems reasonable but I’m not crazy about the actual proposal… “the overtaken driver shall not unnecessarily obstruct…” just seems like a recipe for more harassment:

    Comment: The current language in part (b) is an antiquated leftover from the days of Model T Fords and dirt roads. Then, people drove towards the center of such roads to avoid ruts at the edge. A faster driver would signal with his horn to alert the leading driver to move over. On modern roads, people normally drive near the right; therefore this instruction has little meaning. Use of horns must be reserved for emergency situations, not to intimidate slower drivers.

  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:

    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 (now via 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.” [that link is now dead; i have a local copy called ROR-Bicycle-position-on-roadway.doc as well as a copy of ProposedChangesToUvcChapters1and11Rev4-15-13.doc but they are not linked]

  3. UVC Chapter 11, Article III and ARS Chapter 28, Article 6 are nearly identical —
    Driving on the Right Side of Roadway, Overtaking and Passing
    There is one significant difference in the fundamental rule:
    §11-301, which is equivalent to 28-721, Drive on right side of roadway; exceptions.
    Part A in both is identical except that the AZ version completely lacks any exception for obstructions: “When an obstruction exists making it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the highway; provided [it can be done safely]”.
    This is significant because this rule is often used to justify passing cyclists, even where passing would normally be illegal, such as in a no-passing zone, a double-yellow solid line.
    Whether this is good or bad (or even a correct interpretation) is the matter of some debate.
    No matter how you slice it, it only affects the faster traffic; and not the bicyclist or other slow-moving vehicle.
    Many states have added specific exceptions to their no-passing laws; such as when the slower moving vehicle is going no faster than 1/2 the speed limit, and it’s safe, etc, etc. Example: Ohio Section 4511.31(B), which was added in 2006.
    The topic is treated very thoroughly by Steve Goodridge at “In most of the United States, a motorist is not clearly permitted to cross a solid centerline to pass a cyclist when it is safe to do so”.
    There is an IL case documented at which has some interesting observations, and even more interesting depositions of a deputy outlining their department’s harassment of cyclists for using the road. UPDATE: In 2017 Illinois has updated their codes, yet again, to add a may-pass-bicyclist-in-no-passing-zone, “The law adds clarity of Section 11-703…”

    This all ties to slow-moving road users, including but not limited to bicyclists.

  4. There’s a fairly major discrepancy between AZ law, and most of places in how red-light-running is defined. Most places follow the UVC

    UVC § 11-202(c)(1) Traffic-control signal legend, Steady red indication
    1. Vehicular traffic facing a steady circular red signal alone shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if none, then before entering the intersection
    ARS §28-645(A)(3)(a) Traffic-control signal legend, Red indication:
    (a) …shall stop before entering the intersection
    ARS §28-601(8)“Intersection” means the area embraced within the prolongation or connection of the lateral curb lines, or if none, the lateral boundary lines of the roadways of two highways that join one another…

    (Arizona’s definition of intersection is consistent with UVC §1-146)
    To put a fine point on it: in AZ, for the purposes of redlight-running, stop lines and crosswalks are immaterial.

  5. UVC (“millennium” edition) §11-704 Emerging from alley, driveway or building
    The driver of a vehicle emerging from an alley, building, private road, or driveway within a business or residence district shall stop such vehicle immediately prior to driving onto a sidewalk or onto the sidewalk area extending across such alley, building entrance, private road, or driveway, or in the event there is no sidewalk area, shall stop at the point nearest the street to be entered where the driver has a view of approaching traffic thereon.
    [Many historical notes; see Traffic Laws Annotated. The current/newest version is verbatim w/1968 revised and renumbered. It’s substantially the same as 1948 version]

    ARS §28-856. Emerging from alley, driveway or building
    The driver of a vehicle emerging from an alley, driveway or building within a business or residence district shall:
    1. Stop the vehicle immediately before driving onto a sidewalk or onto the sidewalk area extending across any alleyway or private driveway.
    2. Yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian as necessary to avoid collision.
    3. On entering the roadway, yield the right-of-way to all closely approaching vehicles on the roadway.

    PCC 36-110 Yielding right-of-way.
    The operator of a bicycle emerging from an alley, driveway, or building shall, upon approaching a sidewalk or the sidewalk area extending across such alley, driveway, or building exit, yield the right-of-way to all pedestrians approaching on said sidewalk or sidewalk area, and upon entering the roadway shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching on said roadway.
    (Code 1962, § 37-25.02)

    Other cities retain the original UVC-like title, e.g. Sec. 17-82 and 10-10-11 in Scottsdale and Mesa, respectively are titled “Emerging from alley or driveway”; and are substantially the same as Phoenix’s code.

    However in Tempe, they have, since 1987, Sec. 7-52; which was moved to, and slightly amended at 19-212c in 2019
    Sec. 7-52. Riding on sidewalks or bicycle lanes. (1987)
    (d) Any person riding a bicycle on a bikeway, sidewalk or bicycle path that is about to enter or cross a roadway shall yield the right-of-way to all traffic on such roadway.

    Sec. 19-212. – Riding on sidewalks or bicycle lanes. (2019)
    (C)Any person riding a bicycle, electric bicycle or non-human powered vehicle on a sidewalk or shared use path that is about to enter or cross a roadway shall yield the right-of-way to all traffic on such roadway.

    Here is a document prepared by Tempe city staff that purports to contrast local codes of Tempe, Phoenix, Chandler and Mesa; the claim is Tempe’s 7-52d is equivalent to the “emerging” rules which exist in Phoenix and Mesa (and apparently, couldn’t be found in Chandler codes).

    Phoenix: 36-110, Mesa: 10-10-11, Scottsdale 17-82

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