California State Law As It Applies to Bicyclists

Biker riding a bike

If you are a bicyclist in California, then you not only bear many of the same responsibilities, but also enjoy some of the same rights as drivers of any other motor vehicle. That being said, there are some very basic rules you must adhere to in order to keep both yourself and others safe when out on the road.

If you’re a bicyclist that finds yourself typically riding as fast as other traffic, then you are allowed to ride within your entire lane. However, if you’re someone who tends to move slower than other traffic, then you’re required to ride either in the bike lane or whichever lane is closest to the sidewalk, if there isn’t one.

As for operators of gas powered mopeds or electric bikes, capable of going 28 mph or higher; they are not allowed to be driven in bike lanes, on trails or pathways unless expressly authorized by law. That being said, if under 18, it’s important to note that you are required to wear a helmet no matter where you ride.

Any bikes, whether manual or electric, are not allowed to be either stopped or parked in bike path lanes nor left on sidewalks. Instead, they must be left in designated areas that allow for the continued free passage of motorists or pedestrians. None are allowed to be taken on freeways, expressways or toll bridges either.

To curb the risk of potential accidents due to distractions, while the state of California allows the use of either earplugs or headsets by bicyclists, they cannot be used in both ears. The use of handheld cellphones is, however, permissible.

Other bike laws provide for stiff penalties for bicyclists found to be riding under the influence of either drugs or alcohol. Also, any physical impairment, such as bicyclist carrying items that prevent him or her from having a least one hand on the handlebar, is considered illegal as well.

Much like motorists, bicyclists are required to yield to the right of way of pedestrians in crosswalks, whether they’re marked or not. Any blind or partially blind pedestrian, especially those utilizing a white cane or guard dog, must always be given the right of way.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a serious accident while riding either a bicycle or motorbike, a California bike accident attorney can provide advice and guidance in your legal matter.