Bicycle riding is a popular form of exercise, recreation, and alternative mode of transportation in California. The Golden State has encouraged the use of bicycles by creating bicycle-friendly roads, streets, and bicycle paths. However, safe bicycling is more than having favorable conditions and wearing proper safety equipment. It’s also important for cyclists to learn the rules of the road. This will keep them safe and help them pursue compensation after a bicycle accident.
During this bicycle safety month, Setareh Law is equipping bicyclists with safety laws in California that can greatly reduce their risk of accidents, allowing them to enjoy a safe ride on the road. Let’s look at the critical California bicycle laws that cyclists should know during bicycle safety month.
6 Bicycle Safety Laws to Know
If you’re out riding on your bike, knowing the safety laws of the road can help save your life. Here are six bicycle safety tips you should know:
1. Adhere to the Vehicle Code
While bicycles are not defined as vehicles, they are required to follow the California vehicle code. Bicyclists have the same rights, duties, and responsibilities as vehicle drivers. Therefore, they have the right to ride on most public roads and must obey the same traffic laws as drivers.
This includes abiding by all traffic signs, signaling with their hand when making turns, stopping at all stops, and sharing the road. Other vehicles, including cars, motorbikes, and trucks, must also treat bicycles as other vehicles.
2. Ride Alongside Traffic
When on the road, riders must ride in the same direction as traffic. This makes it easier for other motorists to spot and avoid them, reducing the chances of a bicycle accident. You’ll also be required to ride on the correct side of the road and as close to the edge as possible. However, California cyclists can ride in the traffic lane in a few circumstances, which include:
- When making a left turn
- When riding faster or as fast as the traffic
- When overtaking another cyclist
- When avoiding hazards or obstacles such as parked cars
Typically, bikes move slower than other vehicles should ride on the right side and in the same direction as traffic, as this is safer.
3. Use Bicycle Lanes
Bike lanes are designated traffic lanes dedicated to separating cyclists from the traffic flow of other vehicles. In California, you must use the bike lane when on the road. Cyclists can only leave the bike lane when it’s safe and should give the appropriate signal to avoid accidents. While bike lanes are generally safer, it’s important to be cautious, as some motorists merge into a bike lane when making right turns.
4. Wear a Helmet
In California, you’re legally required to wear a properly fastened helmet if you’re under 18. This applies to both bicyclists and passengers. While it may not be required for individuals above 18, any cyclist should wear a helmet to avoid a life-threatening head injury in case of a bike crash.
5. California Bicycle DUI Laws
Like other motorists, California cyclists are not allowed to ride while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Riding while intoxicated is a punishable offense.
6. California Bicycle Requirements
Before going to the road, ensuring your bicycle meets the required standards is vital. This is important regarding safety and ensuring you abide by the state and local laws. Here are the requirements that bikes on the road must meet:
- The size of the bicycle should be such that a cyclist can stop, support it in an upright position with at least one foot on the ground, and have the ability to start it again safely.
- The bicycle must have an effective brake system that allows riders to stop on a dry level and clean pavement.
- The handlebars must be lower than the bicyclist’s shoulders.
- A bicycle should have a permanent and stable seat, unless designed not to use one. It should also have a separate attached seat for passengers.
Adherence to these requirements could help your personal injury claim in case of a bicycle accident that leads to injuries.
Consult an Experienced California Bicycle Accident Lawyer at Setareh Law
While bicycle riders can be safe by adhering to California bicycle laws, the negligent behavior of other motorists may put them at risk of an accident. To make it worse, the at-fault party and their insurance companies may try to blame you for the accident to minimize the damage caused. Therefore, it’s important to understand your rights and duties as a California bicyclist.
As you prioritize your safety on the road, skilled English- and Spanish-speaking bike accident attorneys at Setareh Law are here to protect your rights and help you seek compensation for your injuries and damages. We are a team of experienced lawyers dedicated to representing riders who have suffered injuries due to negligent drivers. Call us today at (310) 659-1826 or schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help you.