You are driving your car along Fair Oaks Blvd. in Sacramento, California. Suddenly, you see a bicyclist occupying your car’s lane of travel. When you look closely, the cyclist is riding without a helmet, and he’s biking somewhat fast. He has one headphone in his ear, and he isn’t even riding in the bike lane conveniently placed to the right of your lane. You pause and ask yourself, “How can this cyclist’s conduct be legal?” Believe it or not, this cyclist is riding his bike in a legal manner.
The laws for California cyclers are quite different than cycling laws in other states so it is important that all automobile drivers and bicyclists fully understand these specific laws.
Where are bicyclists allowed to bike on the street?
Bicyclists must ride closest to the right side of the street as possible, including the bike lane, if they are biking slower than traffic. However, if a bicyclist is able to maintain the speed of the traffic, he can bike anywhere within the street.
Does a bicyclist have to signal when he or she is about to turn?
Yes, a bicyclist must always signal. Much like an automobile driver, a cyclist must provide some sort of signal indicating when he or she will turn left, right, and stop. Generally, a cyclist motions other motorists with hand signals.
Do bicyclists have to wear a helmet?
Yes and No. Only bicyclists under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet.
Can a cyclist ride his or her bike across the crosswalk?
In order to cross a crosswalk, a cyclist must walk their bike across the street.
Can bicyclists operate a cell-phone while biking?
Yes. Although automobile drivers and motorcyclists aren’t permitted to use cell phones while driving, bicyclists are allowed to use a handheld phone while biking.
Are cyclists allowed to use headphones while biking?
Yes and No. Bicyclists are not allowed to wear headsets covering both ears, but it is legal to insert a headphone in one ear.
Can bicyclists bike under the influence?
No. If a cyclist is caught cycling under the influence, then he or she could be fined at least $250.
Although the law is somewhat forgiving for bicyclists, bicyclists should take every reasonable precaution to be safe. After all, a cyclist can also be liable for causing a traffic accident where others may suffer severe injuries.
We at Curtis Legal Group wish you all a safe biking experience as you cycle through California!