Bicycle Laws in California

Bicycle Laws in California
January 02 08:02 2019 Print This Article

Bicycling is great exercise that has been shown to benefit the body in many ways, including strengthening the muscles and keeping the body fit. However, to enjoy your bicycle ride in California, you must be familiar with California bicycle laws. These laws are not only for bicycle riders but also for every driver in California, to prevent accidents.

Here are some vital California bicycle laws you should know:

  1. When to Take the Bike Lane

The law requires bike riders to stay as close to the right side of the road as possible. The only exceptions are when you are turning left or trying to avoid a road hazard or when the right lane is closed. Drivers should also know this law to understand that bike riders do have the legal right to take the lane. If you move slower than the traffic and there is a bike lane, you are required to use the bike lane.

  1. Riding on Sidewalks

The laws for riding on sidewalks are different for different cities and counties. Hence, you cannot just follow one rule because it differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. While sidewalks may seem like the easier route for bicycles, riding on them also poses certain risks, like being hit by a driver pulling out of a driveway who might not see you coming. Also, pedestrians make use of sidewalks, and you could run into one of them. Check the laws of your city, and if it allows you to ride on the sidewalks, then it’s legal. But you may also want to consider the risks of riding on sidewalks. Check to know more about riding bikes on sidewalks in California.

  1. Riding in the Direction of Traffic

California bicycle laws require bike riders to ride on the right side of the roadway in the direction of the traffic. Exceptions to this law include when driving on one-way streets, narrow roads, when you have to make a left turn, avoiding a road hazard, or when there is construction in the right lane.

  1. Using Hand Signals

The law has set certain requirements for bicyclists to use hand signals. For example, you indicate your intention to turn left by signaling your left hand horizontally to the side of the bicycle. To turn right, you simply repeat the same thing, using your right hand. Extend your left hand down to indicate a sudden decrease in speed, to avoid sudden accidents.

  1. Using Toll Roads

Bicyclists, under the California bicycle laws, are not allowed to use toll roads unless exempted by the California Department of Transportation.

  1. Using Headsets or Earplugs

California law does not permit the use of headsets or earplugs while cycling. Exceptions to this include authorized emergency vehicle operators and those who wear earplugs to protect their eardrums from loud noises. While these exceptions abound, those involved are required to wear a headset or earplugs that allow them to hear sirens or horns from an oncoming vehicle.

  1. Wearing a Helmet

The law requires all bicyclists below age 18 years to wear a helmet while cycling, especially in public areas. The helmets must be well-fitted and fastened and must meet California standards. This helps protect children should accidents occur.

  1. Throwing Items

It is generally illegal to throw items on the roadway in California, and this includes any person, passenger, motorist or cyclist. Littered items could cause injury or damage to pedestrians or bicyclists.

  1. Different Laws for Mopeds and Electrical Bikes

Different laws govern Mopeds and type 3 e-bikes as they could be more dangerous to other bikers. Low-speed electric bikes, type 1 and type 2, have similar rules to regular bikes, but there are also places in California where electric bikes of any kind are not allowed. Local authorities can make exceptions to the law as they deem fit. These bikes should only be operated by age 16 and above and require helmets. However, regardless of the kind of bike it is, neither is allowed to ride on freeways or expressways.

While you follow the California bicycle laws, you should look out for basic safety tips and take precautions to help prevent accidents.

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Donald Phillips
Donald Phillips

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