Max Draitser - Southern California Bicycle Attorneys

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Laws to help cyclists avoid injuries

Despite its vast stretches of open roads and exceptional weather, Los Angeles retains its reputation as one of the unsafest cities in the nation for cyclists. However, bicycles are becoming a primary method of transportation as more commuters are forgoing the confines of public transit or automobile travel due to high gasoline prices.

Therefore, adequate bike lane maintenance and laws addressing the following are some of the ways the county promotes bicycle safety to reduce injuries and fatalities.

Cycling under the influence

Under California law, it is unlawful to operate a bicycle on a public road while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In addition, CUI violations may lead to a $250 fine and a criminal conviction that leaves a permanent stain on the offender’s record.

Mandatory bike lane use

Los Angeles cyclists must use available bike paths and enter other lanes to pass vehicles under specific hazardous conditions. In addition, two-way bike lanes are one of the city’s attempts to prevent cyclist injuries from automobile dooring. Finally, mandatory contra-flow bike lane use on some roads prevents accidents when cyclists are easily visible when moving in the opposite direction from other traffic.

3-feet for safety

Motorists must maintain at least three feet between their vehicles and bicycles they pass on a highway. Otherwise, they must slow down to safely travel ahead of a bike. Drivers may receive fines between $35 and $220, depending upon whether their violation of this law leads to someone’s injury.

Blocking bike paths

Vehicles may only stop or stand along a bike path when loading, unloading or not obstructing cyclists’ safe passage. Otherwise, violators can expect to receive tickets.

Advocates for bicycle safety promote essential laws and defend the rights of cyclists who sustain injuries due to negligent motorists.