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4 California bike laws you may not know

As a cyclist, you understand the potential risk you face from vehicles on the road, but you may forget that you too can harm pedestrians, drivers or other riders if you do not follow traffic codes.

Here are four California laws that you may not know you need to follow when cycling on roadways.

1. Do not ride with both ears obstructed

Staying alert and aware while cycling is essential to protecting yourself and others from injury, which is why cyclists are not allowed to ride with headphones or earplugs in both ears.

2. Stay to the right of the lane or in a bike lane

You should always travel in the same direction as traffic and stay to the right of the lane. Additionally, you must use bike lanes on roads that include them. However, the law makes exceptions if you are:

  • Preparing to make a left turn
  • Avoiding hazards or pedestrians
  • Passing another bicycle
  • Traveling at the same speed as traffic

3. Wear a helmet if you are a minor

If you are under the age of 18, you must wear a helmet while riding your bike in California.

Though you are not required to as an adult, you should still wear recommended head protection. Seventy-eight percent of adults who suffer a head or neck injury were not wearing a helmet, according to Consumer Reports.

4. Stop before crosswalks

Bicycles can cause serious injuries to pedestrians. Just like vehicles, you must stop before crosswalks to protect pedestrians and allow them ample room to cross.

In addition to the state laws, local municipalities may have their own bike regulations. Make sure you know the laws in your local area.