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Bicycle Road Rules / Bike Laws

Every bicyclist and motorist should know the law. If you or a loved one were injured in or by a bicycle accident, then you may be able to recover compensation for the damages suffered. Get in touch with a bicycle accident lawyer at Heidari Law Group today.

bicyclist riding past road sign

Busy cities, especially congested cities like Los Angeles and Irvine, have various means of transportation sharing the same roads and highways. This could include cars, trucks, motorcycles, bikes, etc. Oftentimes, pedestrians also cross the street in areas where there are no crosswalks. These types of situations could be very dangerous and lead to severe accidents that can cause substantial body injuries.

Many Californians are not aware that there are several bicycle laws that have been put in place to protect those bikers that share the road with other cars and trucks. The most common assumption is that bikers always have the right of way. Another common assumption would be that cars have the right to drive around bikers who may share the same road. Many of these are misconceptions and is important that anybody who rides their bike on California streets is aware of the important bicycle laws in place.

Common bicycle laws

Below is a list of common bicycle laws that have been passed in several major cities in the United States.

  1.  Bicyclists should always drive in the same direction the traffic is headed. Failure to do so could result in a severe bicycle-versus-car case where the accidents have led to severe injuries. The law suggests that if a bicyclist had to drive in the opposite direction, the bicyclist should get off their bike and walk to a nearby protected area against traffic.
  2. Bicyclists should always drive on the right side of the road. Even if it is one way, bicyclists are advised to drive on the right side of the road since the right side is oftentimes traveling at slower speeds. Riding a bicycle on the far-left side of the road could lead to severe accidents with a high rate of speed that other cars are traveling at.
  3. Generally, laws require that any cyclist who is under the age of 18 must wear a helmet to protect themselves in case of any accidents. One of the worst injuries that could occur from a bicycle v. car accident is a traumatic brain injury.
  4.  A bicyclist should not wear anything that covers both their ears. For example, bicyclists could not have earbuds in both of their ears. Bicyclists should always be aware of their surroundings in cases where they need to hear oncoming traffic.
  5.  At night, bicyclists must wear reflective gear so they could be seen from a distance. This also includes reflective red flashing lights placed at the rear and at the front of the bike. Although it is not mandatory, it is advised that bicyclists wear reflective gear all night. It is also advised to have reflective lights placed on the actual tires of the bike.

California bicycle laws

Below is a list of California specific bicyclist laws and regulations:

  • Under vehicle code 21200, a bicyclist shares the exact same rights and responsibilities as someone who operates a motor vehicle. This means that a bicyclist should also obey all traffic signals and signs. This also means that a bicyclist could be arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • A bicycle must have a brake and handlebars. The bicycle size must be of an appropriate size to be able to transport the bicyclist from one place to another. Further, riders who are riding a bike might need to wear some type of reflective equipment.
  •  A bicyclist cannot hitch a ride by attaching themselves to another vehicle.
  • All bicyclists must place their hands on both handlebars at all times
  •  Under vehicle code 21208, a bicyclist must use the bicycle lane and should travel at safe speeds consistent with the other surrounding cars. A bicyclist just has the right to speed up when making a turn at an intersection or to avoid hazardous conditions.
  • Under vehicle code 22111, a bicyclist should use hand signals when making turns in certain circumstances.
  • Bicyclists are not allowed on highways or toll roads
  • Bicycles do not need to be registered in California, however, there is an option in getting a license to operate a bicycle.
  • Please note that at this time, California does not have laws set in place that frown upon the “California Roll” stop, which is essentially when a bicyclist slows down rather than comes to a complete stop at stop signs.

Vehicle Drivers’ Rights

California has also passed certain laws that regulate vehicle drivers in order to maintain a safe space for bicyclists. Below are some examples:

  • It is against the law for someone in a vehicle to throw trash towards a bicycle lane. Trash can include anything from pens, bottles, cigarettes, etc.
  • It is against the law for a vehicle to park in a bike path
  • It is against the law to pass a bicycle proceeding in the same direction when there is a distance less than 3 feet between the car and the bicycle

To learn more about what our Los Angeles bicycle accident attorneys do, please visit our page here.

Bicycle accidents

Bicycle accidents could get very dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, there were about 3.9 bicycle fatalities per million people. There are certain types of causes for bicycle accidents, along with the specific statute of limitations assigned to bike crashes. It is very important to note that if you do get involved in a bicycle accident, you should consult an attorney immediately to determine when you can bring your case forward. Waiting too long may result in your case being dismissed. For more information on bicycle accidents and how to obtain a bicycle accident attorney, please visit our page here. 

Different states have different rights granted to bicyclists. Since there are so many bicyclists on the road, the state of California is usually very bicycle-friendly and grants rights liberally to bicyclists on the road.

Bicyclists, similar to car drivers, should be afforded the same protections in law and in court. Our personal injury bicycle accident attorneys work to protect bicyclists when they have been unfairly deprived of a fair day in court. As we focus on the legal process and obtaining just compensation, we take the stress off our client’s shoulders as they focus on healing.

If you or a loved one have been hurt in a bicycle accident, call our personal injury attorneys for a free consultation. During this consultation, we will ask certain questions such as how the accident occurred, what the bicyclist was doing to protect themselves, and the other parties involved. After hearing the details, our attorneys will determine what the best legal strategy is to obtain just compensation. In bicycle accidents especially, medical bills are oftentimes much higher since the injuries are much more severe than a regular car accident.

We advise our clients to refrain from speaking to insurance companies until they have retained an experienced personal injury bicycle accident attorney. It is also important to retain an experienced attorney that is knowledgeable about the area. For example, we have attorneys located in almost every major city in California and Nevada. Our attorneys are well-versed in the bicycle laws of specific cities and states. They have years of experience trying bicycle accident cases. To see more of our recent case results, please visit our page here.

Contact the bicycle accident attorneys at Heidari law today to schedule a free consultation to review your case. Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which generally means that you will not have to pay for our services unless we win compensation for you.

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