Understanding California Bicycle Laws

California bicycle laws are in place to protect the health and safety of cyclists when it comes to helmet requirements, lane sharing, and other bicycle equipment rules and regulations. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, our personal injury lawyers in San Diego, CA, can help you determine the most prudent way to pursue your case an how the laws in place can be used to protect your interests. If you ever find yourself in an accident, whether with a motor vehicle or another bike, contact our law firm to discuss your case with an attorney.

Where Can Cyclists Ride in California?

Cyclists can typically ride on off-road trails as well as on any street. Some local jurisdictions may prohibit cycling on freeways or expressways. Local jurisdictions also have varying laws on whether cyclists may use sidewalks. In general, if a road has a bike path, that is the safest place to ride.

On-road cyclists must keep as far to the right as possible, except when turning or passing, and follow the basic rules of the road. This means stopping at traffic signals and stop signs, among other rules. California law does not require on-road cyclists to ride on the shoulder of any roadway or highway, and in some cases, doing so could be more dangerous.

Equipment Requirements for On-Road Bicycles

California has various equipment requirements for on-road bicycles. While not all of these are necessary for off-road cyclists, many are good to have in both cases. On-road cyclists must ensure their bicycles are equipped with:

  • Brakes that allow one-braked-wheel skids on dry pavement
  • Handlebars that do not extend higher than the cyclist’s shoulders
  • A white headlight, visible from the front, attached either to the front of the bicycle or to the cyclist
  • A solid or flashing red reflector attached to and visible from the back of the bicycle
  • White or yellow reflectors, either on both pedals, the cyclist’s ankles, or shoes
  • White or yellow reflectors on each side of the front and back half of the bicycle (not required if front and back tires are reflectorized)
  • Permanent, standard bicycle seat

All cyclists are required to use a bicycle of an appropriate size and weight. The cyclist must have the ability to stop and have one foot reach the ground.

Helmets can reduce the risk of severe head injuries by as much as 85 percent in accidents involving a car or another cyclist.

California Bike Helmets Laws

California requires all cyclists under the age of 18 to wear a helmet that meets established safety standards. Adults over 18 years of age are not required to wear a helmet while cycling, though it is strongly encouraged, especially for on-road cyclists. Helmets can reduce the risk of severe head injuries by as much as 85 percent in accidents involving a car or another cyclist.

Understand How Laws Affect You

Understanding the bicycle laws in California can protect you in the case of an accident. If you have questions about these laws, or if you were injured in a bicycle accident, contact San Diego Injury Lawyer online or call (619) 272-4028 today to schedule a consultation.