Understanding California’s Bicycle Laws: What You Need to Know

Understanding California’s Bicycle Laws: What You Need to Know

Cyclists biking in the cityWith school back in session, we thought it might be a good time to remind San Diego of the laws regarding bicycling. Biking is becoming more and more popular as a means of commuting to work and to school, but unless you are already an avid biker, you may be unaware that some common behaviors are against bicycle laws and open you up to greater possibilities of injury.

Common (Illegal) Bicycle Behaviors

  1. Rolling through stop signs is illegal. There have been recent efforts from lawmakers to legalize what’s known as the “Idaho stop,” where cyclists are allowed to treat stop signs as if they were yield signs, but to date the efforts have not gone through. Some studies suggest that legalizing the Idaho stop would actually reduce the rate of bicycle accidents.
  2. Where are you allowed to ride? California law requires bicyclists to use bike lanes when possible, except when making a left turn, passing or avoiding road hazards. And you are supposed to ride on the right side of the road, with traffic. There are some exceptions to this, such as when passing, turning left or riding on a one-way road.
  3. Is it legal to ride a bike on the sidewalk? There are no statewide laws in California forbidding the practice. However, local municipalities may prohibit it. The best way to know for sure is to look for signs saying that bicycles are not allowed on sidewalks. You can also check with city hall. In San Diego, bicycle riding is allowed on sidewalks except in business districts.

You can learn more about the laws of cycling in California by following our blog.


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