California Bicycle Laws – What You Should Know
Although California motor vehicle laws control the use of bicycles on city streets, there is still confusion about what those laws require from bicycle riders. There are many important motor vehicle bicycle rules. We believe the following bike rules are the most important.
Riding with Traffic on the Right Side of the Road and Using Bike Lanes
- Riding with Traffic – If bicycle riders are on the road, they must ride in the same direction as traffic. If they want to travel in the opposite direction, they must walk their bikes on the sidewalk.
- Riding on the Right Side – Most of the time, bicycle riders move slower than traffic, so they must stay on the right side of the road.
- A bike rider may ride in the appropriate motor vehicle lane under these conditions:
- when they need to make a left turn
- when they’re avoiding terrible road conditions
- Using Bike Lanes – If riding on the road where bike lanes are available, and they are moving at a slower pace than traffic, bike riders must use the bike lanes whenever possible.
Riding on the Sidewalk
The state of California does not explicitly have any laws for or against bike riders on sidewalks. However, there may be local laws stating how bike riders should behave on sidewalks. Generally, riding on the sidewalk can be dangerous for bike riders, motor vehicle drivers, and pedestrians. For instance, drivers backing out of or pulling into their driveways may not see bicyclists who are riding on the sidewalk. Also, in populated areas, municipalities may not allow bicyclists to ride on the sidewalk because it may impede pedestrian traffic and cause accidents.
Yielding to Pedestrians
When riding near pedestrians, bicycle riders should follow the same rules as motor vehicle drivers. Whether pedestrians are illegally crossing in the middle of the street or legally using the crosswalk, bicyclists must always yield to pedestrians. Bicyclists, like drivers, must exercise care to help keep pedestrians safe.
Stopping Before the Crosswalk
Bicycles are governed by many of the same rules as motor vehicles. Bicyclists must stop before crosswalks, not inside or after crosswalks, so that pedestrians may cross safely. Remember, crosswalks are for pedestrians, not bikes or motorized vehicles. If you know someone injured in a bicycle accident, you can call a Los Angeles bicycle accident attorney.
Wearing Safety Gear, and Taking Precautions
When you go out to bike, remember to keep yourself and others around you safe with these precautions:
- Lights and Reflectors – Bicycles must have a light that is visible from 300 feet away and a reflector or flashing red light that is visible from 500 feet away. Bikes must have white or yellow reflectors on each pedal, or riders must have reflectors on their ankles or shoes, and the reflectors must be seen from at least 200 feet away. The bikes also must have white or yellow reflectors in front of and in the rear of the center of the bike. The reflectors must be on both sides of the bike.
- Approved Helmets for Bike Riders Under 18 Years of Age – All bike riders under the age of 18 must wear an approved bicycle helmet while on public roads, streets, pathways, or trails. But, all bike riders are encouraged to wear approved helmets to minimize head and neck injuries.
- Appropriately Sized Bikes – Bikes must fit appropriately so that the rider can quickly stop, start, and support the bike in an upright position while putting one foot on the ground.
- Brakes That Work – Bicycles must have at least one brake that allows the rider to skid the bike on clean, dry, and level pavement. Excellent brakes help to prevent accidents.
- Ability to Hear Traffic, Pedestrians, and Emergency Vehicles – Bike riders may not cover or have plugs in both of their ears. Riders must be able to hear all traffic and pedestrians.
- Three Feet for Safety Act – When passing, drivers must provide at least a three-foot buffer between themselves and bike riders. If the driver is unable to provide three feet of space due to road conditions or traffic, the driver must slow to a reasonable and prudent speed and may pass when it is safe for both the rider and the driver.
A growing number of energy-conscious people in California are riding bikes to save fuel, help the environment, to save money, and to enjoy the spectacular views that the state has to offer. As more bike riders take to the road, more accidents occur.
What Should You Do After a Bike Accident?
The first thing you should do after a bike accident is to seek medical care. Dealing with chronic pain, being out of work, and worrying about paying medical bills can be overwhelming. Once your injuries are evaluated, and treatment has begun, think about calling a bicycle accident lawyer Los Angeles for advice.
Most people don’t understand personal injury law and the complexities of personal injury claims. They don’t know what rights they have, or how to file and pursue a personal injury claim. If you or a loved one were injured in a bike accident, call M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. We are Los Angeles’ bicycle accident attorney with extensive experience in bike accident claims.