Talk about bifurcation. The US law can’t agree on anything.
Many people think that a bicycle is a children’s toy. As such, it should be riden on a sidewalk or somewhere else and that it should never, ever, come in contact with a car or traffic.
There is precedent for that idea. Unusual laws took effect in the 1960’s where the Federal Government took charge of certain vehicles and began mandating something new to the industry — safety. Crazy things began to be required, like safety belts in cars. But the law was fuzzy when it came to bicycles.
Imagine walking into a car dealership and wanting to buy a new car. After you pick out the one you want, you tell the salesman “Never mind the headlights, I don’t need them, I don’t drive at night.” and see how far you would get. Same with the horn, “Why do I need to pay for a horn? I never honk at anybody.” That’s the way it is in the US when you buy a bicycle.
Other countries see things differently and they have international laws to support their position. Germany has regulations for bicycles, the same sort of regulations that they have for cars. They rely on the Vienna Convention of 1968 which states that bicycles are vehicles.
The US is also a signatory to the Vienna Convention, but has relegated bicycles to the same agency that regulates toys, the CPSC. There was a big stink raised, back in 1975, by people that said that the CPSC was the wrong agency to regulate bicycles, but they (Forester) lost.
Since then, though, in all 50 states, bicycles are called vehicles. The issue has become a matter of states rights. All the states see bicycles a vehicles — the international law calls them vehicles — but the US Government does not.
Don’t you think that is odd?