California Cycling Laws
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What Are the Cycling Laws of California?
In California, as well as most other states, a bicycle is treated almost as though it were a car, sharing the same rights and responsibilities of the road. This includes:
- Following the posted speed limit
- Yielding to pedestrians
- Obeying signs and signals
- Not operating a bicycle under the influence of drugs and alcohol
Additional Regulations and Privileges for Bicycles
The most important regulations that apply specifically to bicycles include:
- Bicycles are not allowed to ride on freeways.
- Cyclists are forbidden from carrying passengers, unless there is a seat intended to carry that passenger affixed to the bicycle.
- Individuals under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet.
California cycling law also permits cities and town to make their own regulation on the subject, so consulting with an attorney may be wise.
At times, cyclists are allowed to ride on sidewalks. However, the California Department of Motor Vehicles clearly indicates that pedestrians must be given the right of way, and the cyclist must always yield to them. It is also worth noting that, contrary to popular belief, operating a bicycle on the sidewalk is more dangerous than on the roadway, where it is intended to be used.
In an effort to raise awareness of rights and privileges of cyclist road usage, Governor Jerry Brown signed “Three Feet for Safety Act” into law to take effect in September of 2014. This regulation makes it the law to give cyclists at least 3 feet of space, or to slow down until it is safe to do so. Failure to follow this law will result in up to a $100 fine for the first offense, and more with each subsequent offense. If a collision occurs with a cyclist and the driver is in violation of this law, they will also face a fine of $220 dollars, as well as other civil or criminal liability.
What Other Area of the Law Concerns Bicycles?
Aside from fines issued for violating traffic laws, cyclists may face tort liability for injuries that are caused by them. Also, a cyclist may face criminal penalties if the behavior is particularly reckless, the violation is serious enough, or the cyclist causes a catastrophic injury.
Should I Seek Legal Help?
If you are injured while riding your bicycle, speaking with an experienced attorney may help you understand your rights. Covering compensation for your injuries can be a complicated process that requires legal assistance.
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Last Modified: 03-10-2014 11:17 AM PDT
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