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Which laws should cyclists know in California?

Riding a bicycle is not only good for your health and wellness, but it is also good for the environment, as it reduces harmful vehicle emissions. That is why many states, including California, have enacted laws to ensure cyclists can navigate roads safely and securely.

While motorists must obey traffic signs and operate their vehicles safely when driving alongside bikes, cyclists must also follow certain rules. The California Bicycle Coalition explains bicycle rules and regulations, so you can stay safe.

Know where you can ride

Cyclists maintaining the same speed as vehicles can ride anywhere they wish in the lane. However, if you are going slower than the surrounding traffic, you must use any marked bike lanes in the area. Exceptions include if there is an obstruction in the bike lane or if it separates from the road you are traveling on. Regardless of whether you are using the bike lane, you must always drive along with the flow of traffic.

Make sure your bike is well-equipped

All bikes must have certain safety features, both to keep you safe and to ensure you remain compliant with the law. Bikes should have working brakes, appropriately sized handlebars, and high visibility during nighttime riding. This requires a combination of reflectors and lights, which signal your presence to motorists.

Know how to operate your bike safely

Any cyclists or passengers must wear a helmet if under the age of 18. Cyclists are not allowed to ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They are also not permitted to ride with earphones and must always provide the right of way to any pedestrians they encounter.

Following these rules is important, but it cannot guarantee that you will avoid all accidents. This highlights how important it is for drivers to remain alert and aware behind the wheel, especially when riding alongside cyclists.