Bike riding has grown significantly as a form of transportation for people of all ages. This environmentally friendly and healthy option also means riding alongside motor vehicles.
Some arterial highways in the Los Angeles area have more than 50,000 vehicles on the road daily. That makes knowing and following bike rules essential to staying safe on the road.
Follow motor vehicle laws
California bikers traversing city streets or highways must adhere to general motor vehicle laws. Key driving rules include:
- Stay in the same direction as traffic and on the right side of the road
- Stop at crosswalks when a pedestrian is crossing the street
- Use signals when turning or crossing lanes
- Follow right-of-way rules and yield appropriately
In addition, bike riders are not permitted on freeways.
Avoid riding on sidewalks
With so much traffic, some bicyclists consider riding on sidewalks. This is an unsafe practice and may be against the law. Cities and counties determine their own bike sidewalk laws, but it is often best to avoid sidewalks altogether. For example, Irvine, Huntington Beach and Newport Beach prohibit bikes on sidewalks.
Maintain visibility when riding at night
Though night riding presents more hazards, established state laws help keep bicyclists and motorists safe. The bicycle must have red rear reflectors or lights visible from 500 feet away and a white light on the front visible from 300 feet away. The bike must also have reflectors in various places to ensure visibility.
Even when bike riders follow the law and use caution, they have little control over what motor vehicles do. When an accident happens, the injured cyclist may need compensation to help cover the associated medical expenses.