The nature of biking is always changing. Many commuters are switching to bicycles for a healthy alternative route. Some bicyclists are also switching to electric or assisted bikes that operate both like a traditional bike and a motorized one. The concept of “biking” is also expanding to include the idea of mainstream electric scooters. But the one thing that never changes is that the devil is the details. Keep these details in mind if you’re on a California bike path:
Your bike might not be allowed on the bike path.
In general, bike riders need to stay on available bike paths. But this rule of thumb is for traditional, manually powered bikes. If you have an electric one, check which type, or class, it belongs. In Type 3 electric bicycles can reach an assisted speed of 28 miles per hour and should be driven on the road instead. Sometimes, local authorities change the rule, so check with your city.
But if you have a type 1 or type 2 bicycle, which can’t reach that top speed, the bike paths are safe to use. If local authorities would prefer you stay off of them, they’ll mark the path with a sign prohibiting motorized bikes.
When can you exit the bike path?
Once you know your bike is allowed on the path, you should stay in that cleared zone as much as possible. The only exceptions are when you’re making turns and avoiding hazards. If you’re planning a trip to a new location, check it out with a crowdsourced bike path app. While it won’t perfectly indicate potential problems, it can give you a better idea of recent construction projects and where authorized turn lanes are.
Bike paths are largely intuitive, and it’s easier to stay safe once you’re familiar with the route and lane markings. Check out the rest of our biking blog for more recommendations about safe and legal bike riding.