Thursday, February 9, 2012

Quick Review of California Bicycle Law

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Bicyclists in California have rights and responsibilities just like any other motor vehicle drivers. However, despite this, some bike riders in the State are not fully aware of their rights and liabilities under the law, and because of this, accidents occur. It is a must for any biker to ensure his or her safety on the road, and one way to do it is to understand the law governing bicyclists.

Bicycle Lanes Are Your Friend

California is one of the states with most number and longest bicycle lanes in the country. Efficient use of bike lanes can lessen the cases of bicycle accidents in the State. As defined by the California Driver Handbook, a bike lane “is shown by a solid white line along either side of the street, four or more feet from the curb. The white line will usually be broken near the corner and the words “BIKE LANE” will be painted in the lane.”

Bike lanes are considered to be the safe haven of bicyclists when in roadways which is why they need to use it properly in order to avoid any traffic mishap. Consequently, it is a must for motor vehicle operators to recognize and respect bike lanes so as to avoid causing accidents.

The following are the eminent responsibilities of vehicle drivers concerning bicycle lanes as determined by California traffic laws:

• Consider designated bike lanes as other regular traffic lanes
• If there is a biker on the bike lane, never turn into the lane
• Never obstruct or block bicycle traffic by lessening the required width for bike passage
• Leave enough space for bicyclists in order to avoid traffic collisions
• Look out for bicyclists passing through before opening car doors
• Allow sufficient clearance and room for bikers’ movement

Your Responsibilities As A California Biker

Bikers have the responsibility to ensure their and other road users’ safety. According to California Driver Handbook, the following are the responsibilities of bicycle riders:

1. Ride efficiently – This includes riding the appropriate bicycle and riding responsibly. Bikers must only ride a bicycle that is well-maintained and free from any malfunctions. Furthermore, bicyclists must never ride under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs as per VC 21200.5.

2. Wear helmet – Under VC 21212, riders under the age of 18 are legally required to wear their bicycle helmets when riding. Adult bikers are also strongly advised by authorities and Los Angeles lawyers to wear helmet to avoid head injuries when an accident occur.

3. Be visible – Typically, motor vehicle drivers cannot visibly notice bicyclists when on roadway. Because of this, it is a must for riders to be visible. Bicyclists are advised to wear bright colored clothing and to install bike lamps.


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