California is the perfect state in which to live if you wish to make biking your main source of transportation. However, as one of the most populated states in the nation, most California streets boast high amounts of vehicle, bicycle and foot traffic at any given time of day. For this reason, it is essential that everyone — from pedestrians to bicyclists to drivers—thoroughly understand their rights and responsibilities.
According to CalBike.org, you can ride wherever you want so long as you are moving as fast as traffic. If you are moving slower than traffic, and if the lane is not wide enough for you and a vehicle to share it, you have the right to “take the lane.” However, you must ride as far to the right as possible to allow vehicles to pass. Exceptions to this rule exist if you plan to pass or turn, or if you wish to avoid a hazard.
If a road has a bicycle lane, you must use the designated lane. However, the same exceptions as above exist for this rule as well.
You must ride with traffic when riding on a roadway. Exceptions to this rule exist when you ride down a one-way street, when you make a legal left turn, when you ride on a street that is too narrow, when you plan to pass or when the right side of the road is closed due to construction.
California law does not allow you to park your bike on a bicycle path, and nor does it allow you to ride your bike on a freeway, expressway or across a toll bridge. County and city ordinances dictate whether or not you can ride your bike on the sidewalk.
This article is for educational purposes only. You should not use it as legal advice.
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