Riding a Bicycle on California Streets? Useful Information to Avoid Accidents

Personal injury accidents come in all shapes and sizes. Depending on the type of vehicle involved, some accidents can be more catastrophic than others. Big-rig (i.e., trucking) accidents are often the most severe because of their size (see Truck Accidents: Cause and Effects), while accidents involving motorcycles and cars are more common because of the volume of these autos on the road (see Top Causes of Car, Truck and Motorcycle Accidents). But a large number of serious accidents occur when only one car or other type of vehicle is involved. These typically occur where a pedestrian is hit by an auto while walking on the road (such as in a cross-walk) or while riding a bicycle. When these accidents occur, the victim is often severely injured because they did not benefit from the protection of being inside a multi-ton vehicle (see Motorcycle Accidents: Increased Risk of Injury and Death). While bicycles and automobiles are quite different, they share many of the same legal obligations under California law while being operated on city streets. For the purpose of avoiding accidents, that often times result in serious injury or death, California law requires bicycle riders to do the following:

  • If you are riding slower than the flow of traffic, you must stay to the right side of the road so that car and other vehicles can safely pass.
  • If there is a bicycle lane designated on the road, you must use it, if you are riding slower than the flow of traffic.
  • You are not allowed to carry a ¬†passenger on your bike unless the bicycle has a separate seat.
  • You may only ride a bicycle if the seat on the bike is permanently attached.
  • You may not ride your bicycle without having at least one hand on the handle bars at all times.
  • If you intend to turn or change lanes, you must signal with your arm by using the same signals required of vehicle drivers.
  • You may not wear headphones in both ears.
  • You may not ride your bicycle on highways unless specifically designated (this is very rare)

The rules above are some of the most important laws California imposes to avoid accidents. There are many more that can be accessed at California Highway Patrol’s website. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident while lawfully riding a bicycle and is in need of help, contact our bicycle accident lawyer today for a free consultation.