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UNDERSTANDING BICYCLE LAWS

Updated: Sep 1, 2023


Bicycling is a popular mode of transportation and recreation. However, it is important for cyclists to be aware of the local bicycle laws to ensure their safety and the safety of others.


Traffic Laws

Bicycles are considered vehicles and must follow the same traffic laws as motor vehicles. Cyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic and use designated bike lanes when available. Cyclists must obey traffic signals, stop signs, and yield to pedestrians.


Lighting and Reflectors

California law requires that the bicyclists have sufficient lighting and reflectors to ride a bicycle when it is dark on the highway, a sidewalk, or a designated bike path. These include the following.

  • A lamp that emits a white light in front of the bike, that is visible 300 ft in front of and the sides of the bike.

  • A flashing red light on the rear of the bike, that is visible for 500 ft behind the bike.

  • Front and rear reflectors tires (white and/or yellow).


Bicycles and Sidewalks

In California, bicyclists are allowed to ride on sidewalks unless there are local ordinances or signs that prohibit it. Bicyclists riding on sidewalks must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and give an audible signal before passing them. Bicyclists should exercise caution and ride at a speed that is safe for pedestrians when riding on sidewalks.


Bike Lane Usage

Cyclists are encouraged to use designated bike lanes when available. Motor vehicles are not allowed to park or drive in bike lanes, except for certain exceptions.

Right-of-Way

Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicles when it comes to right-of-way. Cyclists must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and yield to oncoming traffic when making a left turn.

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