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What equipment does a bike legally need to have?

As a bicyclist in Los Angeles, you have a responsibility to conduct rides safely and conscientiously. Not only does this lower your risk of accidents, it also sets an example for fellow bicyclists and drivers, who often cast blame on bicyclists without knowing all the facts.

Part of being responsible is outfitting your bike with the proper equipment. According to the California Bicycle Coalition, some equipment is even mandated by law. Here are a few things you need to remain compliant while riding.

Lights and reflectors

A white headlight must be attached to the front of your bicycle or your person for nighttime riding. Bikes must also have reflectors placed in multiple areas, including red reflectors on the back of the frame. White or yellow reflectors must be placed on each pedal or on your shoes or ankles. White or yellow reflectors must also be placed on both sides of the front of the bike, while red or white reflectors must be placed on both sides of the back of the bike.


All bikes on the road must have working brakes. Additionally, brakes must be capable of making a single-brake skid under normal conditions, meaning on dry, level ground.


Unless the bike is intentionally made without a seat, it must have a permanent seat attached. If you are taking a child under 40 pounds along as a passenger, their seat must be designed in a way that protects them from the moving components of the bike.


The handlebars on your bike must be a certain size to be considered legal. They cannot be higher than your shoulders.

The right equipment keeps you safe and secure when riding. It also allows you to make the proper maneuvers and adjustments should you encounter a careless driver on the road. While you cannot avoid all accidents, taking the right precautions will minimize your risk.