Navigating California roads can be challenging, especially with the increasing number of bicyclists sharing the streets. To ensure safety and prevent accidents, both drivers and bicyclists must understand the right-of-way rules.
California law considers bicycles as vehicles, which means bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers.
Bicyclists in traffic lanes
When riding in traffic lanes, bicyclists have the right of way, just like any other vehicle. Drivers must yield to cyclists when they are in the same lane and respect their right to use the road. Unless they are driving at the same speed as vehicle traffic, bicyclists should ride as close to the right side of the road as possible, except when passing, preparing for a left turn or avoiding hazards. They must also signal their intentions to turn or change lanes.
Bike lanes and intersections
California roads often have designated bike lanes to provide a safe space for bicyclists. When a driver approaches an intersection, they must yield to bicyclists in the bike lane before making a right turn. Similarly, bicyclists must yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections. It is essential for both drivers and cyclists to be cautious and attentive at intersections to prevent accidents.
Sidewalks and crosswalks
In some areas, bicyclists may use sidewalks and crosswalks. However, local ordinances vary, so it is crucial to know the rules in your area. When riding on a sidewalk, bicyclists should yield to pedestrians and give an audible warning before passing. When crossing at a crosswalk, some municipalities require cyclists to dismount and walk their bikes across, following the same rules as pedestrians.
Both drivers and bicyclists can take steps to ensure safety on California roads. By understanding the right-of-way rules and practicing defensive driving or riding techniques, everyone can contribute to safer roads in California.