Bicycle safety is the responsibility of both motorists and bicyclists in California. The National Highway Transportation Safety Association reports that between 2013 and 2018, about 720 bicyclists died in California. Bicycle safety laws help protect cyclists and motorists in Woodland Hills and everywhere in the state of California. Following are a few safety rules to remember.
Maintaining Proper Distance
In California, motorists have to stay a minimum of three feet away from bicyclists. The same law applies to bicyclists. This means that bicyclists should not be “drafting” behind motor vehicles and especially not “catching a ride” by grasping any part of a moving vehicle.
Riding Without a Bike Lane
Anyone who is moving slower than the speed of traffic must stay off to the side of the road so that motor vehicles can pass. If you’re bicycling on a road that doesn’t have a bike lane, you must stay to the right side of the road without hindering traffic. This means that bicyclists who are riding with buddies must ride in single file, not alongside one another and not “drafting,” where the front tire of the rider behind is alongside the rear tire of the rider in front.
Riding With a Bike Lane
On roads with a bike lane, it is the bicyclist’s responsibility to remain inside and to the right of (not on) the line demarcating the bicycle lane. If the bicycle lane is adequately wide, two bicyclists may ride alongside each other, as long as the rider on the outside is within the bike lane marker. Note that “packs” of riders are not permitted, especially since a large group of riders does not fit inside bicycle lanes. The exception is if large groups ride in organized pairs, where everyone is riding within the lane markings.
Riding on Sidewalks
In California, municipalities are permitted to create local rules regarding riding bicycles. For instance, in Los Angeles, bicyclists are allowed to ride on pedestrian sidewalks, as long as the bicyclist gives consideration and right of way to pedestrians. This means that if you choose to ride on a sidewalk in Los Angeles, you must ride slowly and carefully, without wanton disregard for those sharing the sidewalk with you.
Another bicycling law that you need to be aware of in California has to do with ensuring visibility. It’s the rider’s responsibility to ensure that they are reasonably visible to motorists and others on the road. At nighttime, this means wearing something with reflective properties or having illumination like a headlamp and bike reflectors. Wearing clothing with reflective stripes or similar is essential. There are adhesive reflective stripes that a rider can place on various locations on the bicycle. In the daytime, wear neon colors or other bright colors to ensure visibility.
Many of these laws are common sense, yet they are in place to protect both bicyclists and motorists. Bicycling is a fun and healthy activity and these laws make it possible for everyone to share the road safely. If you or your loved one needs legal representation for an accident involving a bicycle, please contact Mandell Trial Lawyers for assistance.