Have you noticed the growing number of people who have embraced bicycling nationwide? Whether for recreation or transportation, it’s not uncommon to see bicyclists sharing the road with drivers. That’s why more than ever it’s important to know the rules of the road. Here are ten laws that help bicyclists and drivers coexist:
1. Equal Rights
Did you know bicyclists are not required to ride on the sidewalk? It’s true! Bicyclists have a legal right to ride on the street. In fact, bicyclists have all the same rights and responsibilities as drivers in vehicles. CVC 21200
2. Three feet for safety
To safely pass a bicyclist in a car,just remember to keep a three foot buffer. Here’s why: In 2014 California passed a law requiring drivers to give bicyclists three feet of space before passing. "Three Feet for Safety Act"
3. Bicyclists and pedestrians
When it comes to pedestrians, bicyclists must follow the same rules as vehicles. You should always be on the lookout. Bicyclists are required by law to yield to pedestrians in both marked and unmarked crosswalks. CVC 21950, CVC 21952, CVC 21954
4. Stop signs and red lights
Bicyclists must follow the same rules as vehicles when it comes to stop signs and red lights. Be sure to come to a complete stop and never enter the crosswalk when approaching an intersection. Remember, it’s important to leave crosswalks free to enter for pedestrians. CVC 21200
5. Right is right
Do you know which side of the street to ride your bike? You should be sure to ride on the right side of the road and in the same direction as traffic (CVC 21650). Also, be aware of the speed of traffic as you may need to reposition yourself for safety.
6. Taking the Lane
When the lane is too narrow for both the bicyclist and a vehicle to travel safely side by side you may take over the lane and ride in the center of it. This can prevent the unsafe passing of vehicles. CVC 21202
7. Shine bright like a diamond
When biking at night, front white headlights and reflectors are required by law (CVC 21201). However, feel free to use additional lights and reflectors to help ensure that you will be seen by all drivers at night.
8. Biking while intoxicated
It’s commonly known that driving while intoxicated is illegal. However, not many people realize that bicycling while intoxicated is also illegal, especially in California (CVC 21200.5). Under no circumstance should you ride your bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
9. Sidewalks in your city
In general, you should avoid riding bicycles on sidewalks whenever possible. In California, each city has its own law regarding sidewalk riding. Be sure to check with your city to find out the rules and regulations for riding bikes on sidewalks.
10. Be alert and focused on the road
Do you like to bike while listening to your favorite jams? Just keep in mind that earplugs or headsets can’t cover both ears while riding (CVC 27400). Also, don’t let whatever you are listening distract you from the road. Remember to be alert and stay focused!