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California bicycle culture: safety, laws and preparedness

The bicycle culture includes commuters, delivery personnel and recreational riders. Los Angeles and surrounding counties offer perfect bicycling weather. Orange County, for example, offers over 1,000 miles of spectacular trails. The California environment, however, is not without its challenges.

Local cycling enthusiasts offered their observations, which federal and local bicycling statistics and laws corroborate.

Bicycle Safety

“The biggest threats to our safety are aggressive and distracted drivers,” claimed Rider A, a frequent navigator of Los Angeles roadways. Research confirms that 30% of bicycle accident injuries are a result of car collisions. Bicyclists account for 1% of travelers in the United States, yet bicycle crashes result in more injuries and deaths than motor vehicles. To address these alarming statistics, California enforces strict safety regulations for both drivers and cyclists.

Bicycle Laws in California

Rider B, a seasoned Santa Monica cyclist, stated, “Cyclists have California laws, just like car drivers.” Examples of specific bicyclist regulations include:

  • Equipment
  • Roadway use
  • Sidewalks

Cyclist preparedness

Rider C, an Orange County trail cyclist, stressed the importance of diligent preparation. “Don’t get caught on a remote trail with a broken chain or a flat tire. Check and secure all your gear ahead of time.” Go Safely, California recommends:

  • A properly fitted helmet
  • The “ABC” check: Air, Brakes and Chains

Learning about bicycling regulations may enable you to understand your legal rights in the event of an injury. Bicyclists can also generate public and political support for bicycling, making cycling a joyful and safer adventure for all riders.