California law governs the way you ride your bicycle just like your rights to drive a vehicle. The California Vehicle Code outlines the law on topics such as bicyclist rights, proper equipment and where individuals have permission to ride.
These laws help promote the safety of bicyclists and those around them, so being familiar with the regulations may help increase road safety and prevent serious accidents.
Using the bicycle lane
Individuals who move as fast as traffic may ride their bikes wherever they please. Bicyclists who ride slower than the traffic on roads with bike lanes must utilize the lane.
If there is no lane, then cyclists must ride as close to the right side of the road as they can. This does not apply when preparing for a left turn, or passing or avoiding hazards in the road.
Riding with traffic
The California Vehicle Code dictates that bicyclists have to ride in the direction of traffic and on the right side of the road. This rule does not apply if construction causes road closures, or when cyclists are making a legal left turn, riding on a narrow road or one-way street, or passing other traffic.
Permission to ride on sidewalks rests in the hands of the ordinances of individual counties and cities. For example, within the City of Los Angeles, you may bike on a sidewalk as long as you do not disregard the safety of other people or property.
Lastly, remember that you may not ride your bicycle or motorized bike on expressways or freeways or cross a toll bridge.