Bicycling on Sidewalks

The San Diego Union Tribune recently reported that it is commonly thought that sidewalk bicycling is always illegal. In reality, however, only 4 cities in San Diego County – Escondido, Carlsbad, Vista, and National City – have forbidden bicycling on sidewalks.

In fact, looking nationwide, laws vary wildly on whether bicycling on sidewalks is allowed, prohibited, or completely unaddressed. Bicycle riding on the sidewalks is permitted in most areas of Chicago’s Highland ParkMinnesota law does not expressly prohibit bicycling riding on sidewalks, but it can be prohibited in business districts or by city ordinance.

In the absence of dedicated bicycle lanes, many riders report feeling safer when riding on the sidewalk instead of on a busy street. But while that might be the case, NPR notes that doing so puts pedestrians at an elevated risk of collision. According to local news, a woman in Escanaba, Michigan was injured as she walked out of a building and a cyclist that was riding on the sidewalk struck her. While an Escanaba town ordinance currently prohibits bicycles on the sidewalk, historically it has not been enforced.

Cyclists themselves are at a higher risk of being hit by cars pulling out of driveways or at crosswalks when they ride on sidewalks. In addition, obstructions on or damage to sidewalks can cause significant injuries. For example, one cyclist suffered spinal injury and lost teeth after he was launched 28 feet by a tree-damaged sidewalk.

If you prefer to ride on sidewalks, make sure you are allowed to there. And, as always, be cautious! If you find yourself with questions or injured and in need of representation, contact us!

Illinois Passes New Law On How to Safely Pass Cyclists

Thanks to cycling advocacy groups throughout the state, Illinois will now have a new law for motorists that will not only help to improve cyclist safety but improves traffic flow as well. This law comes after years of motorist likely unknowingly breaking traffic laws or just putting cyclists in danger because they simply don’t know how to deal with a common occurrence – passing them.

Effective January 1st, not only will cyclists be permitted to use road shoulders instead of just the traffic lane, but motorists will also be able to pass them in no-passing zones. Passing cyclists has been an issue in almost every state. In most states, including Illinois, when a motorist approaches behind a cyclist in the traffic lane going much slower than the posted speed limit, most drivers are unsure of what to do. Do they violate the law and pass in a no passing zone? Do they try and pass them in the same lane anyway, putting the cyclist in danger? Hopefully, now they will know.

However, this new law is not without its stipulations. First and foremost, when passing any cyclist, whether they are in a traffic lane or move over to ride on the road shoulder, requires three feet of clearance between the car and the bicycle in order for drivers to pass them in any circumstances. However, in no passing zones, in order to legally cross over into the oncoming traffic lane, the cyclist must be going at least half of the posted speed limit.

While this will do wonders to help riders and drivers in Illinois safely share the road with each other, it is likely accidents will still happen. Not everyone hears of updated road rules after all. If you have been in a bicycle accident in the Los Angeles area, contact us today.

Should There Be a Bicycle Tax?

There’s a new slogan coming out of a few select lawmaker’s offices – “We share the road, we should share the costs.” This slogan speaks to what could be a growing trend of a “bicycle tax” that states that adults should pay a small tax on bicycle purchases that go to local governments to support transportation costs. As you would expect, opinions are highly mixed on the issue.

This new tax comes immediately from Oregon where they passed a law that states that adult bicycle purchases over $200 now have to pay an additional $15 to the state to support road costs. Now other towns in Colorado are looking at passing a similar law, and if it succeeds, it could be coming to your bike-friendly town next.

Naturally, bicycle riders and bicycle shop owners lean against the law since it would likely affect a person’s decision to purchase a bike. However, non-cyclists and lawmaker’s argue that it is only $15 and as car drivers, they have been paying such taxes for years. With many cities now putting in dedicated bicycle lanes for cyclists, many are calling for them to help pay for it.

Naturally, this will likely be the cause of much debate over the coming years. Cycling is a body and Earth-friendly way of getting around, and those who care for the environment want to encourage more people to make the switch. However, would a small tax discourage it?

Regardless of the cost of buying a bicycle, people will likely still do it, and this means accidents will still happen. If you have been the victim of bicycle discrimination or a serious accident, contact us today. The Law Office of Gary Brustin is dedicated to supporting the rights of cyclists.

New Ohio Cycling Law Regarding Red Lights

Ohio is one of the most unsuspecting states to be bicycle friendly, but with more riders taking to the road in their largest cities like Cleveland and Cincinnati, the state’s government has been forced to take notice. This has led to a slew of new cycling friendly laws including this latest one that allows cyclists to still get around despite aging infrastructure.

The problem on many city streets in Ohio is that bicycles often have a problem triggering a light change at the detector. This means that a cyclist and the cars behind them could be forced to wait until a car in the other lane triggers the change. However, with the new law, cyclists can now bypass this.

The new cycling law states that in the event of this situation if the cyclist is able to check that both directions are clear, they can ride through a red light. However, cars will still have to wait unless there is a clear malfunction with the light. This law was so desperately needed that Governor John Kasich attached an emergency clause so it went into effect right away.

Attached to the bill, was another new motor vehicle and cycling law that required motorists to give at least three feet of passing space between their vehicle and a bicycle, joining more than a dozen states that already have similar laws.

While this is great news for riders in Ohio, accidents are still bound to happen. No matter how safe a state makes it for cyclists, uninformed motorists will still be a danger. If you were hurt in a bicycle accident and need legal representation, contact us today.

Bicycle Laws – Stop or Yield?

Bicycles are subject to all of the same laws as automobiles when riding on the road. For the most part, this is entirely for the safety of the cyclist, but it also helps keep traffic flowing and predictable. Although this has been the longstanding law, there is one key amendment that is taking shape early 2017 in California that could shake things up.


According to California Assembly Bill 1103, cyclists would be allowed to legally treat stop signs as yield signs.

“This bill would … authorize a person operating a bicycle approaching a stop sign, after slowing to a reasonable speed and yielding the right-of-way, to cautiously make a turn or proceed through the intersection without stopping, unless safety considerations require otherwise.”

While controversial, this bill may prove to increase the safety of the discerning cyclist if used properly. “The longer it takes for a bicyclist to pass through an intersection, the greater likelihood that they’ll get hit by an oncoming vehicle …” said Jay Obernolte, one of the assemblymen who introduced the new measure.

However, there are some that disagree:

“Joel West, an Oceanside resident who has worked in his community on transportation issues, said the bill is a bad idea that will encourage bad habits. If enacted, he predicts that instead of cautiously riding through stop signs, bicyclists will completely blow through them because the law gives them the discretion to determine what’s safe.”

No matter what the verdict is, it is evident that potential revisions are coming to the longstanding laws for cyclists on the road.

Don’t hesitate to contact Gary Brustin with any questions regarding local cycling laws.

Michigan Roads Potentially Made Safer for Cyclists By New 5-Foot Buffer Rule

If you are cycling the road in Michigan this year, your ride could become significantly safer than it has been. Well, at least if a potential bill gets made into law. This new bill is currently in legislature which would require drivers to give more breathing room to cyclists as well as adding enhanced safety instructions for handling cyclists being included in state driver’s education courses.

The guidelines in question would require drivers to give Michigan road cyclists a set 5-foot buffer when passing them on roads that do not have a set bicycle lane. Currently, the state has no set mandate on how far vehicles needs to be when passing a cyclist. Most people go with the good rule of thumb of “not hitting the cyclist” when passing, but this leads to a number of close calls and terrifying accidents.

Like in most states, these close calls and contentious relationship between cyclists and drivers comes from a lack of knowledge on how to handle road cyclists. By making a five-foot mandatory buffer, it will allow more drivers to know that they can’t pass a cyclist unless they can do it safely. Ultimately, this teaches them that it is not the cyclists’ responsibility to “move over.”

Going a step further, if this buffer is made into law, then it will be taught in driver’s education courses and drivers caught breaking the law may be forced to attend education courses to rectify their mistake.

While this law will cut down on cycling accidents, it likely won’t stop them altogether. However, there are still people out there that represent the rights of cyclists. If you have been in a cycling accident and need legal advice, contact us today.

California Law Bans Headphones for Cyclists

If you are a cyclist cruising down your regular cycling strip to work in California with your headphones on and your favorite songs blaring through them, as of the first of the year, you have officially been breaking the law. Unaware cyclists are already finding punishment over this new law that some call overbearing.

According to the Section 27400 of the California Vehicle Code, cyclists are now prohibited from wearing a headset, earplugs, or earphones in both ears, something that many cyclists do to drown out street noise. However, as many have already found out, breaking this new law will net a fairly hefty $178 fine.

While many are outraged at such prosecution of a victimless crime, there are other cyclists that realize there are victims of wearing headphones. The victim’s are the cyclists themselves. So long as they are mindful, a cyclist listening to music probably won’t end up hurting anyone. However, that also means they won’t hear any vehicles coming up behind them. This puts them in grave danger of not being able to react to a negligent motorist. Of course, there would be no need for such laws if motorists were better trained to share the road and more bicycle lanes were installed throughout major cities.

While there won’t be much fighting these fines, if you are a cyclist that has been in a cycling accident due to the negligence of those who need to share the road with you, contact us today. The Law Office of Gary Brustin fights for cyclists and their right for their share of the road.