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Cyclists and drivers must follow specific laws when sharing the road

California has many cyclists, as the weather makes it easy to bike to work, train for cycling competitions or go out for a leisurely ride over the weekend. To keep cyclists safe, the state enacted several laws. Some include rules that cyclists must follow, and there are also some for drivers when sharing the road with cyclists.

Laws for cyclists

The California Legislative Information outlines the rules of the road for cyclists. With some exceptions, cyclists must follow the same laws as motorists. Bike riders should move in the same direction as traffic, and the rider must obey street signs and lights. If cyclists are moving at the same speed as traffic, they can ride wherever they want inside the lane, but if they are moving slower, they must stay on the right side of the road or take the lane if there is no room for both bike and vehicles. If there is a bike lane present, cyclists must use it.

Cyclists must also properly equip their bikes. For example, bicycles must have a brake and handlebars that do not go higher than the cyclist’s shoulders. At night, either the bike or the rider must have a white headlight and reflectors on the front, back and sides.

Cyclists must wear a helmet, and they cannot wear headphones in both ears. While it is illegal to ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but, unlike motorists, they can use a cellphone.

Laws for drivers

Motorists should always keep an eye out for cyclists, particularly at intersections, while entering or exiting a parking lot or before opening their street-side door while parked on the street. Drivers must also give sufficient space, and the National Conference of State Legislatures describes the safe passing law. This law states that drivers must give cyclists at least three feet of space while passing.

Not following these rules risks negligence

Those injured while riding a bicycle can take legal action if the driver in the motor vehicle was at least partially responsible for the injuries and property damage. While bicyclists injured on the road should first get medical help, a personal injury attorney can help victims secure compensation for time away from work, related health expenses, and the pain and suffering endured by the rider.