Bicycle Safety Laws in California

Bicyclists in California may be subjected to the same type of laws and rules that apply to other users of the road. Just because you’re riding a non-motorized vehicle does not mean that you can flout traffic safety laws. In fact, compliance with traffic safety laws is key to safety as a bicyclist in California.

As a bicyclist, you and your bicycle passengers below the age of 18 must wear a helmet while riding a bicycle. The helmet must be approved by the Department Of Transportation.

Bicyclists are also prevented from wearing earplugs, or headsets while riding. These can prevent a bicyclist from hearing approaching cars, or other accident cues. However, exceptions apply to hearing aids.

California’s laws also ban riding under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and prohibit bicyclists from carrying items that prevent them from keeping at least one hand on the handle bar while riding.

Bicyclists also have an obligation to yield right way to pedestrians, when they come across pedestrians at marked crosswalks, or unmarked crosswalks at intersections. Accidents involving bicyclists and pedestrians can have serious consequences, and there is no excuse for bicyclists to neglect pedestrians in or outside a crosswalk. Look out for pedestrians when you’re nearing intersections.

While riding, always ride your bicycle on the right side of the roadway, and in the direction of traffic except in certain situations, like while making a left turn or passing. A bicyclist may not be allowed to ride on sidewalks in all counties. First check, whether the California County allows bicyclists to ride on sidewalks, before doing so. Riding on the sidewalk comes with a risk of injuries involving pedestrians.