STAYING SAFE WHILE CYCLING
To avoid personal injuries while cycling in Sacramento, it is crucial that cyclists have their bikes in good working order. Riders should stay in their bike lane, and that they know their rights and responsibilities.
For your own safety, our bicycle accident attorney wants you to familiarize yourself with the traffic laws involving bicycles. The following are important excerpts from the California Vehicle Code (VC) relating to the operation and equipping of bicycles.
Before reading any further, know that if you’ve been injured in a Sacramento bike accident, don’t wait. Call Sacramento Bicycle Accident Lawyer Sette Law firm and speak to our bicycle accident attorney today! for a free and confidential case evaluation.
BICYCLE DEFINED – CVC 231
- The California Vehicle Code defines a bicycle as a “device upon which any person may ride, propelled exclusively by human power through a belt, chain, or gears and having one or more wheels.”
- In California, cyclists are subject to the Vehicle Code provisions specified in sections 21200 and 21200.5 (see below).
BICYCLE USE – CVC 21200 AND 21200.5
- 21200: A person riding a bicycle upon a street or highway in California has rights. They are the same rights, and is subject to the same provisions that apply to persons driving a vehicle. This includes provisions concerning driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- 5: It is unlawful to ride a bicycle on a street or highway while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or the combination of the two. If arrested for this violation, a cyclist has the right to request a chemical test. The test will determine the drug or alcohol content of a person’s blood. If convicted, a fine of no more than $250 will be given.
EQUIPMENT REQUIREMENTS – CVC 21201
- No bicycle shall be operated on a roadway unless the cyclist has ensured the bike is equipped with a brake that allows the operator to make one braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement.
- No person shall operate on the highway any bicycle with raised handlebars that would force the operator to elevate their hands above the level of their shoulders in order to grip the handles.
- No person shall operate upon any highway a bicycle that is too large for the operator to safely stop the bicycle, support it in an upright position with at least one foot on the ground, and be able to start riding again.
- Every bicycle must have the following if cycling in the darkness:
- A lamp emitting a white light that illuminates the highway, sidewalk, or bikeway in front of the bicyclist. The light must be visible from a distance of 300 feet in front and from the sides of the bicycle.
- A red reflector or a flashing red light on the rear of the bike should be visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear of the bicycle.
- A white or yellow reflector on each pedal, shoe, or ankle is visible from both the front and rear of the bicycle from a distance of 200 feet.
- Reflectorized front and back tires, or a white or yellow reflector on each side of the front of the bicycle and a white or red reflector on each side of the rear of the bicycle.
- In lieu of rule #1, a lamp attached to the operator emits white light and is visible from a distance of 300 feet in front and from the sides of the bicycle.
DUTY OF BICYCLE OPERATOR: OPERATIONS ON ROADWAY – CVC 21202
- Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway (To prevent bicycle accident), except under any of the following situations:
- When passing another bicycle or motor vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
- When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or onto a private road or driveway.
- When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge.
- When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.
- Any person operating a bicycle on a one-way street or highway with two or more marked traffic lanes may ride near the left-hand curb or edge of such roadway as practicable.
HITCHING RIDES – CVC 21203
- No person riding upon any motorcycle, motorized bicycle, bicycle, coaster, roller skates, sled, or toy vehicle shall attach the same or themselves to any streetcar or vehicle on the roadway.
RIDING ON BICYCLE – CVC 21204
- A person operating a bicycle upon a highway shall not ride other than upon or astride a permanent and regular seat attached thereto unless the bicycle was designed by the manufacturer to be ridden without a seat.
BICYCLING ON ROADWAYS – CVC 21650.1
- A bicycle operated on a roadway or highway shoulder shall be operated in the same direction as vehicles are required to drive upon the roadway.
BICYCLING ON FREEWAYS – CVC 21960
- The Department of Transportation and local authorities may, by order, designate portions, prohibit or restrict the use of bicycles on freeways or any portion thereof.
- Such prohibitory regulation shall be effective when appropriate signs giving notice thereof are erected upon any freeway and the approaches thereto.
HAND SIGNALS – CVC 22111
- When operating a bicycle, all required signals given by hand and arm shall be given from the left side of a vehicle in the following manner:
- (a) Left turn—hand and arm extended horizontally beyond the side of the vehicle.
(b) Right turn—hand and arm extended upward beyond the side of the vehicle, except that a bicyclist may extend the right hand and arm horizontally to the right side of the bicycle.
(c) Stop or sudden decrease of speed signal—hand and arm extended downward beyond the side of the vehicle.
TOLL CROSSING – CVC 23330
- Except where a special permit has been obtained from the Department of Transportation, bicycles shall not be permitted on any vehicular crossing unless the department by signs, indicates that bicycles are permitted upon all or any portion of the vehicular crossing.
HEADSETS AND EARPLUGS – CVC 27400
- No person operating a bicycle can wear a headset covering, earplugs in, or earphones covering, resting on, or inserted in, both ears. This prohibition does not apply to:
- A cyclist wearing personal hearing protectors. These are in the form of earplugs or moulds that are specifically designed to attenuate injurious noise levels. The plugs or moulds, however, cannot inhibit the wearer’s ability to hear a siren or horn from an emergency vehicle or a horn from another motor vehicle.
- A person using a prosthetic device that aids the hard of hearing.
LICENSE REQUIREMENTS – CVC 39002
- A city or county may adopt a bicycle licensing ordinance or resolution. It may provide that no resident shall operate any bicycle on any street, road, highway, or other public property within the city or county. Unless such bicycle is licensed in accordance with this division.
- Any bicycle not licensed under this division may be additionally regulated or licensed. This is pursuant to a local ordinance or licensed upon request of the owner.
- It is illegal for any person to tamper with, destroy, mutilate or alter any license indicia (marking) or registration form, or to remove, alter, or mutilate the serial number, or the identifying marks of a licensing agency’s identifying symbol on any bicycle frame licensed under the provision of this division.
THROWING SUBSTANCES ON HIGHWAYS OR ADJOINING AREAS – 23111 CVC & 23112
- No person in any vehicle shall throw or discharge from or upon any road, highway, adjoining area, public or private. These items include any lighted or unlighted cigarette, cigar, match, or any flaming or glowing substance.
- No person shall throw or deposit upon a highway any bottle, can, garbage, glass, wire, nails, paper, or any substance. Also, these are likely to injure or damage traffic using the highway.
NOTE: Some of the sections of the laws listed above have been reworded slightly and/or abbreviated. For exact language, refer to the referenced sections in the California Vehicle Code.
In addition to these state laws, many communities have local ordinances. Check with your local police department regarding bicycle registration, licensing, and regulations (sidewalk riding, etc.) in your area.
If you’ve been injured in a Sacramento bike accident, don’t wait. Call Sette Law firm and speak to our bicycle accident attorney today! Get a free and confidential case evaluation.Sacramento Bicycle Accident Lawyer. Follow us on Facebook here.