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California Bicycle Laws That All Cyclists Should Know

There is a surprising amount of confusion about the laws surrounding bicyclists, even questions as basic as “where can cyclists ride”? The State of California has passed laws regulating most aspects of cycling and these laws are applied statewide. This means that, in large part, the rules affecting cyclists in Los Angeles are the same as in San Diego.

There is some variation in the law with regard to bike registration requirements and restrictions on riding on the sidewalk between cities. You should be sure to look up these laws in any city in which you plan to bike.

Below are some basic, statewide laws that will help clear up any confusion and keep cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers safe.

What Laws Are California Cyclists Required to Follow?

What are California Cyclists NOT Required to Do?

Generally, it is required that cyclists stay to the right side of the road and use bike lanes whenever possible, but there is no requirement that cyclists do this at all times. Cyclists may ride in different areas of the road:

These exceptions are the same for both the requirement that cyclists drive on the right side of the road and the requirement they use marked bike lanes where possible.

Laws Regarding Bicycle Accidents in California

Sometimes, even when all cycling laws are followed, accidents still occur. Bike accidents can vary dramatically in scope and severity. Cyclists are most at risk of being in an accident with a motor vehicle at intersections or when cars are entering the road from the right.

In California, drivers of motor vehicles owe the same duty of care to cyclists as they do to other drivers. This means that if the driver’s negligence caused the accident, you are entitled to recover for your injuries and other losses related to the accident. Even where the cyclist was partially at fault, he or she may still be entitled to recovery. A California personal injury attorney can evaluate your case and help represent you in any claim against the driver to ensure you receive all of the compensation you are entitled.

Andy Gillin received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California at Berkeley and his law degree from the University of Chicago. He is the managing partner of GJEL Accident Attorneys and has written and lectured in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury law for numerous organizations. Andy is a highly recognized wrongful death lawyer in California.