Under California Bicycle Laws, What are San Diego Cyclists’ Responsibilities?

Rules of the Road for Bikes

San Diego bike accident lawyer on California bicycle law all cyclists should know. Understanding California cycling laws and utilizing smart bicycle safety will help minimize the chances of bike injuries or an accident.

Most California bicycle laws treat cyclists like motorists. This means cyclists must obey lane designations, STOP signs, traffic lights and DUI laws.

Bike accident lawyer Joshua Bonnici is an avid cyclist and sponsor of the San Diego Bike Safety Portal. He has seen the devastating consequences that San Diego bicycle accidents have on individuals and their loves ones.

Use this quick reference guide to answer questions you may have about California bike laws. It should help you better understand your rights as a cyclist biking in San Diego. If you have questions about your legal rights after an accident, call us for a free consultation.

Bicycle Helmet Laws in California

Cyclists under the age of 18 must wear a helmet. The bicycle helmet laws in California are very important. There are risks to riding without a helmet. A minor spill while riding could lead to irreparable injuries.

Wearing a helmet makes sense for all cyclists, no matter what age. Protect yourself by wearing the proper cycling gear. This includes a properly fitted bicycle helmet.

California Bike Lane Laws

In many situations, bike lane rules suggest that cyclists ride in the bicycle lane when one is available. If a bike lane is not present, ride as far to the right as possible.

Constantly survey your surroundings and anticipate your next move. This will make a difference when you must ride outside the bike lane. Exceptions may include avoiding road hazards or moving into the center of the lane.

Hand Signals for Bikes

All bicyclists are required to use hand signals before stopping, turning or changing lanes. Signal your intentions to motorists. It is courteous and actively elicits their cooperation in your bike safety.

Allow yourself plenty of time to signal before changing lanes or making a turn. Try to establish eye contact with motorists as you deliver clear hand signals. Scan, signal and “negotiate” with motorists before you move into traffic.

Bike Light Laws in California

Equip your bike with lights and reflectors for night riding. Under California Vehicle Code 21201, your bike must have the following equipment for cycling at night:

  • A white headlamp that is visible for a minimum distance of 300 feet from the front and sides of the bicycle;
  • A red reflector on the bike rear that is visible for a distance of 500 feet;
  • A white or yellow reflector on the bike’s pedal or the cyclist’s ankle or shoe, which is visible from 200 feet;
  • A white or yellow reflector on each side forward of the bicycle center and a white or red reflector on each side behind the bike center. This is not required on bicycles with front and rear reflectorized tires.

See our illustration of this California bicycle law below:

Image of a bicycle with lighting requirements in San Diego

Have Legal Questions? Our San Diego Bike Accident Lawyer Can Help

Hopefully, following these California bicycle laws will enhance your bike safety. For a governmental source, you can go to the California Department of Motor Vehicles website to learn more about bicycle laws. You can also click through our site for useful bike information from the perspective of an experienced San Diego bike accident lawyer.

If you or a family member is in a San Diego bike accident due to a motorist’s negligence, our firm wants to help in any way we can. Please schedule a free consultation with us today so that we can explain your best options.