Bicycle Laws Every Rider Should Know

Riding a bicycle is an environmentally friendly and healthy way to get around. Contact the experienced attorneys at Sargent Law Firm to find out your rights if you have been involved in a bike accident. It is essential for any bike rider to be aware of the laws that govern their ride.

Where Can You Ride?

Where you are allowed on the roadway as a bicyclist depends on the speed at which you are going. If you are moving at the same rate traffic, you can ride in the same lane as traffic. California Vehicle Code 21202 outlines the rights of bike riders to “take the lane.”  This means that you must ride your bike as close to the right side of the road as possible. There are four exceptions to when you do not need to stay directly on the right side of the road. These are: (1) when you are passing another bicycle or vehicle that is traveling in the same direction as you; (2) preparing for a left turn at an intersection to go into a private road or driveway; (3) when it is reasonably necessary to avoid conditions in the roadway; and (4) when approaching a place where a right turn is located.

If there is a bike lane available on the road, the bike rider must ride in the bike lane. The exceptions to riding in the bike lane are the same discussed in the preceding paragraph.

Operating the Bicycle

Bike riders must follow the same rules of the road that motorists must follow. This includes obeying traffic signals and signs, yielding to pedestrians, and stopping before a crosswalk, not in the crosswalk.

If you are riding your bicycle at night, you must have lights and reflectors on the bike, or on your person. At night, either you or your person must have a white light that is visible from at least 300 feet in front of the bike. In addition to the right light, the California Vehicle Code 21201(d) also requires:

(1)  A red reflector or a solid or flashing red light with a built-in reflector on the rear that is visible from 500 feet away;

(2)  A white or yellow reflector on each pedal, shoe, or ankle visible from the front and back of the bicycle from 200 feet away; and

(3)  A white or yellow reflector on each side forward of the center of the bicycle, and a white or red reflector on each side to the rear of the center of the bicycle, unless your bike has front and rear reflectorized tires.

Additionally, all bike riders under the age of 18 must wear a helmet. It is in your best interest to wear a helmet all the time, even if you are over the age of 18, is important to reduce the risk of life-threatening injuries.

If you have been in a bicycle accident, contact the experienced bicycle accident attorneys at Sargent Law Firm. We will work hard to make sure that your case receives the care and attention it deserves.

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