If you’re a bicyclist, it’s important to be aware of general laws which apply to you in order to prevent bicycle accidents and to avoid tickets. States have different laws with regards to bicycles and bicycle safety, but there are some general rules you should know.
- Bicycles are considered vehicles for traffic law purposes. This means you should ride on the right side of the road, not the left, and stay off the sidewalk. This also means that you’re subject to DWI laws; in California this is addressed in Cal Veh. Code Ann. Section 21200 and 21200.5.
- Always wear a helmet to protect against head and brain injuries. With studies increasingly showing the negative effects of traumatic brain injuries, it’s becoming more clear how important it is to protect your head when engaging in sports.
- If bicycling at night, wear light clothes and make sure your bike has reflectors. Also consider wearing a reflective vest and putting lights on your bicycle.
Here are some more specific California laws you should know about:
- Your bike must have working brakes
- Your handlebars must not be higher than your shoulders
- If biking at night, you must have a forward-facing lamp and reflectors on your pedals, back, and four reflectors on the sides.
- You must stay as close to the right edge or curb as possible except when passing, turning left, or avoiding a hazard.
- You have to ride on the seat unless the bike is designed to be ridden otherwise.
- Bike riders or passengers under 18 must wear a helmet.
Motorized bicycles are governed by different rules, so if you have a motorized bike, you’ll need to be familiar with those laws. You can see the full text of the laws mentioned here.
Finally, use common sense. If it doesn’t seem safe to do something on your bicycle, don’t do it. Your health and well being is the most important thing. And if you have been injured or involved in a bicycle accident and need legal representation, contact us.