Bike Light Laws in California

San Diego Bike Accident Lawyer Explains What the Law Requires for Cyclists

San Diego bike accident lawyer explains California bike light laws, and how they can help you to avoid a bike crash.Cycling in and around Southern California is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy our beautiful state. However, sharing the road with cars can be a challenge. This is especially true in the evenings when drivers may have a difficult time seeing a cyclist. To combat these issues and keep everyone safe from bicycle accidents, California has several bike light laws. These require you to make sure your bicycle has equipment designed to make you more visible.

Bike lights are just one of the safety tools all cyclists should use to stay as safe as possible on the road. No matter what time of the day or night you like to bike, make sure you always wear a bike helmet that fits properly. Additionally, you should follow all traffic signs and lights just as you would if you were driving. If you have any questions about cycling accidents or California bicycle laws, then San Diego bike accident lawyer Frederick M. Dudek is here to help.

What Are California’s Bike Light Laws?

Having lights on your bicycle is not just a good idea; it is the law in California. Before you head out, make sure your bike meets all safety requirements. This is especially important for those who cycle to work. As seasons change and the days get shorter, you might find yourself biking in the dark, even when you did not plan on it. If you are cycling at night, or any time when visibility is poor, California bicycle laws require your bike to have certain safety features. These include:

  • A front light. You must have a white light on the front of your bike that is strong enough to be seen from 300 feet. This light not only acts as a headlight to let you see where you are going, but it also makes it easier for approaching drivers to see that there is a cyclist nearby.
  • A red rear light or reflector. On the back of your bike, you must have a red reflector or light that can be seen from 500 feet away. Since cyclists should ride with the flow of traffic, it is more likely that a car will be behind you. Thus, it is important that other cars can see you from the back. You may even want to purchase a red light that blinks for even more visibility.
  • White or yellow reflectors on the pedals. Your front light and back reflector helps drivers see you are in the road. However, the reflectors on your pedals (or shoes) can help them judge the width of the space they should leave to keep you safe.
  • White or yellow reflectors on each side forward of the center of the bicycle, and a white or red reflector on each side to the rear of the center of the bicycle. Reflectorized tires on the front and rear may be substituted for the side reflectors.
  • See the diagram below which summarizes the requirements of California Vehicle Code 21201.

    Image of a bicycle diagram with lighting requirements in San Diego

Make sure to charge any lights you buy for your bike. Also ensure that the lights are strong enough to allow you to see far enough ahead of you. If you cannot see upcoming obstacles in your path, then you will not be able to adjust your course to avoid them. A headlamp that attaches to your helmet, in addition to your bike’s front light, can give you a wider range of vision.

What Else Can I Do to Avoid a Bicycle Accident at Night?

Your bike lights go a long way toward making sure drivers can see you on the road. However, the more visible you make yourself, the better your chances are for avoiding a bicycle accident injury. For example, it is a good idea to wear bright, reflective clothing to make it even easier for others to see you. Yellow or bright green are the best clothing choices. Additionally, reflective materials will catch the light of oncoming traffic, making your presence very obvious. Colors such as red, black, gray and blue are not advisable, since they will not stand out in darkness.

If you usually wear sunglasses when cycling, invest in a pair of clear protective glasses for night rides. These will keep the wind out of your eyes. This then allows you to see more clearly without obscuring your vision with tinting.

A San Diego Bike Accident Lawyer Can Help After an Accident

All the reflective clothing and expensive bike lights in the world are not always enough to prevent a bicycle accident. As an avid cyclist himself, San Diego bike accident lawyer Frederick M. Dudek understands the risks bike enthusiasts face. He knows California bicycle laws. He also has a record of success helping cyclists recover compensation to help pay repair costs and medical bills. If you need help after a bike accident, then do not hesitate to call our personal injury attorney at the Dudek Law Firm APC for help.