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Bicycling is a way of life for many individuals throughout California, and not just kids. Adults enjoy recreational bike riding all the time, and many individuals use bicycles as their regular mode of transportation to and from destinations. If you are going to be riding a bike in California, there are various laws that you need to be aware of to remain safe on the roadway.
In the state of California, bicyclists are typically considered motor vehicles and responsible for following the motor vehicle code (CVC 21200). Adult bicyclists have the same duties and responsibilities as vehicle drivers, including stopping at stop signs and red lights just like any other vehicle.
Bicyclists are responsible for riding in the same direction as the traffic. If a bicyclist has to travel in the opposite direction, they should walk their bicycle on the sidewalk.
If a bicyclist is riding at the same speed as traffic, they are allowed to ride in the traffic lane with the other vehicles. However, bicyclists typically go slower than surrounding traffic, so they should ride as close as practical to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.
If a bike lane is present, and if the bicyclist is moving slower than traffic, they are responsible for using the bike lane. Bicyclists can leave a bike lane after they determine it is reasonably safe to do so and after they give the appropriate signals.
Bicyclists are responsible for yielding the right of way to pedestrians inside or outside of marked crosswalks.
Crosswalks are designed for pedestrians, not bicyclists or cars. Bicycles should stop at crosswalks and allow pedestrians to pass when they have the right of way.
If a bicyclist is riding at night, the bike must be properly equipped with a white light visible at a distance of 300 feet in front of the bike. The bicycle must also have a red reflector or red light that is visible from the rear of the bicycle from 500 feet. There should be a white or yellow reflector on each pedal (or shoe or ankle) visible from the front and rear of the bicycle at a distance of 200 feet.
Any bicycle rider under the age of 18 is required to wear an approved helmet when riding. Any person 18 years of age or older is not required to wear a helmet. However, we strongly suggest that all bicycle riders wear helmets to maximize safety avoid sustaining serious injuries.
It is not uncommon for individuals to listen to music or podcasts while riding their bicycles, but they must ensure that one ear is uncovered at all times so they can hear any potential hazards on the roadway.
The bicycle must be functioning correctly, which means that all parts should work properly. Bicycles should have seats and two working pedals. The handlebars should function properly, and the brakes must work. Bicycles must be equipped with a brake that allows the cyclist to make one braked wheel skid on a level, dry, and clean pavement surface.
If you are in a bicycle accident and suffered injuries, consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Car insurance companies may try to take advantage of you, resulting in lower payouts.