Skip to Content

Blogs from July, 2019


Bicycle safety laws can prevent cycling accidents that cause deaths or catastrophic injuries. California bicycle safety laws can also prevent accident injuries among children. While you or your family members are riding in California, it is important to follow these laws to maximize your safety. You should abide by the following laws at all times to avoid a bicycle accident.

California Bicycle Laws on Where You Can Ride

California laws require bicyclists to ride in certain places on the road depending on their speed and other factors. If you are riding as fast as traffic, then you can ride with traffic. When you are riding slower than traffic, you must be as far to the right-hand side of the road as possible.

If the lane is too narrow to safely share with other vehicles, then you can “take the lane.” However, keep in mind that “taking the lane” can provoke hostile actions (road rage) from motorists. There are also other scenarios where you do not have to be close to the right-hand side, such as if you are taking a left-hand turn, avoiding hazards in the road (including construction) or approaching an area of the road where right-hand turns are permitted.

You should use bicycle lanes in areas where they are available. In addition, California bicycle riders must follow all traffic laws, like stopping at stop signs and red lights.

Laws Regarding Your Bicycle

California bicycle laws require your bicycle to have functional brakes. Specifically, you must be able to conduct a “one-braked wheel skid” on level and dry pavement.

Your bicycle’s lights must be visible from the front at night to other motorists. California’s laws on reflectors and lights are very complex, and can be found on the Legislature’s website.

Your bicycle must be small enough for you to stop, and you should be able to support it with one foot on the ground. The handlebars on your bicycle cannot go past shoulder length. California law also requires most riders to use seats, unless the bicycle is designed to operate without a seat.

Laws on Operating Bicycles in California

California has numerous requirements for operating bicycles. Minors under 18 years old must wear bicycle helmets at all times. With the exception of hearing aids, you cannot wear headphones that cover both ears while riding.

You can receive a DUI on a bicycle, as California law bans cyclists from operating bicycles under the influence of alcohol or drugs. As a cyclist, you must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians at crosswalks and you cannot park your bicycle in a way that impedes the movement of pedestrians.

California Bicycle Helmet Laws

There are also bicycle laws on helmets. Helmets must be properly fastened and fitted. You should also make sure the helmet meets the standards required by the American National Standards Institute or the Snell Memorial Foundation’s Standard for Protective Headgear. The helmet must also have a manufacturer’s certification that it meets the required safety standards.

Contact Our San Jose California Bicycle Accident Lawyers

We have a lot more information about bicycle safety on our website. In addition, we also have a frequently asked question section that can help familiarize you with bicycle safety in California. Don’t forget to check out our other page on bicycle safety tips.

If you or a loved one suffered harm during a bicycle accident, then we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation. We can help explain your possible legal options for pursuing an injury or wrongful death claim. Call us at (408) 716-1668 or use our online case review form.