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California Bicycle Laws & Safety Tips

Cycling has become an increasingly popular way for people to exercise and commute because it is not only has a better environmental impact but is also more inexpensive (than driving). However, while cycling is enjoyable and beneficial, it can also be dangerous as cyclists are often involved in accidents. Below, we will discuss safety tips as well as laws concerning cyclists.

Bicyclist Safety Tips

Even if you are very precautious, accidents still happen. According to the California DMV, over 100 cyclists are killed and over 10,000 are injured in collisions annually. If you plan to travel via bike, here are some safety tips that can help you protect yourself and others on the road.

  • Make sure you have the right size bicycle. To maintain good control of your bike, you will need the right size bike that is properly adjusted for you. When you purchase your bike, ask store attendants to help you determine what size is right for you and how to make needed adjustments (i.e. seat height, pedal placement, etc.).
  • Wear your helmet properly. Your helmet should rest upon the top of your head and not at an angle. Be sure to wear your helmet (and other protective gear) to avoid severe injury.
  • Use hand signals. If you are cycling alongside vehicles, pedestrians, or other cyclists, signal your turns, stops, and lane changes to help warn others.
  • Stay alert. Paying attention to your surroundings can help you have more time to react if a car stops suddenly, someone swerves into your lane, or you need to make an evasive maneuver.
  • Avoid wearing dark clothing at night. In addition to utilizing reflectors and lights, you should wear brighter clothes at night to increase visibility.
  • Travel in the same direction as traffic. Some people often suggest that cyclists face traffic as the ride so they can see oncoming cars, but this is not a good idea. You should ride in the same direction so that it is easy for you and others to make turns and pass one another while obeying the traffic laws.

Top 7 California Bicycle Laws Cyclists Should Know

If you plan to share the road as a cyclist, you must understand the traffic laws, specifically California bike laws. California Vehicle Code, Article 4, §§ 21200-21213 outlines the rules of the road for cyclists. There are quite a few bike laws; here are the top seven laws you should know.

  1. Cyclists must follow the same traffic laws as vehicle drivers, including but limited to not drinking and driving and obeying traffic signals.
  2. You must yield to pedestrians. While they should use crosswalks, you must still be careful and remain alert for those crossing outside of the marked crosswalks.
  3. You should not stop in the middle of a crosswalk.
  4. You must ride with lights and reflectors at night. While this is good for your safety, it is also legally required; you or your bike must have a white light visible from the front, a red reflector flashing light visible from the back, a white or yellow reflector on each shoe or pedal, and a white or yellow reflector light on each side of the front and rear of the bike (unless you have reflectors in your tires).
  5. You must wear a helmet if you are under 18 years old.
  6. You must have functioning brakes that allow you to stop on the pavement.
  7. You cannot wear earplugs or headphones on both ears. One ear has to remain uncovered so you can remain alert.

With over 30 years of experience and millions of dollars recovered for other clients, our attorneys can help you leverage the best possible amount of compensation. If you are involved in a bicycle accident, contact our firm online or at (916) 778-3228 today.

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