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Bike Riding In LA / Bike Law And Vehicle Code


Under the California Vehicle Code, all bicyclists are regarded with the same rules and regulations as motor vehicle drivers, with only a few exceptions. In certain counties you may have a lot of freedom as to where you can ride your bike. However, that doesn’t mean that it is safe to do so. 

Listed below are a few areas where you can ride your bike and the rules regarding those spaces. 

  • The Bike Lane ( CVC 21208 ).This may be an obvious choice to some, but when moving slower than traffic it is always suggested to use the bike lane, except when making left turns, passing hazardous obstructions or otherwise instructed. 
  • Riding with Traffic ( CVC 21208). It is mandated that bicyclists move with traffic and stay along the right side of the road, unless they are making a left turn, are avoiding road construction or if the street is one way. 
  • Freeways (CVC 21960). All bikes, including motorized bicycles are not permitted on the freeway or expressways. 
  • Toll Bridges (CVC 23330). Riding a bike on a toll bridge is illegal unless otherwise instructed by the California Department of Transportation. 
  • Bike Path. A welcome area dedicated for cyclists. However, you are prohibited from stopping or parking your bike on the path.

Can I Ride My Bike On the Sidewalk?

Generally speaking, the California Vehicle Code states that bicyclists are owed the same rights and responsibilities as all motor vehicle drivers. However, there are rules specifically allocated to bicyclists to keep them safe on and off the road. 

According to LAMC 56.15, the City of Los Angeles permits riding on the sidewalk so long as it not done with a “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property”. Although some cities within LA County disallow sidewalk bike riding, others may limit that to only “business districts”. Business districts include almost all buildings that are not used as single family homes. 

Bicycle Equipment 

Bicycles have experienced a multitude of evolutions over the years, from design types to electrical motors and improvements. As the alterations on bikes require specific laws here are the minimum requirements for your average bicycle:

    1. Size (CVC 21201 ©). Bicycles may range in size, but must be small enough so that the rider can start and stop it with one leg off the ground.
    2.  Brakes (CVC 21201(a)). All cyclists must have a workable braking system that allows the rider to stop without skidding on dry, level, clean pavement. 
    3. Lights (CVC 21201(d)). Night time riders must have a visible headlight on the body of their bicycle. 
  • Reflectors CVC 21201 (d)). Night time riders must:
    1. Have a red reflector visible from the back 
    2. Have a white or yellow reflector on the pedals or bicyclist’s shoes 
    3. Have a white or yellow reflector on the front of the bicycle  and on each side of the bicycle
 
  • All riders under the age of 18 must wear a helmet 
  • Can not wear earplugs or headsets that cover both ears
  • Using cellphones while riding is permitted 
  • Cyclists can not ride if they are over the legal limit for drugs and alcohol 
  • Cyclists can not park or leave their bike on the sidewalk or anywhere that obstructs normal commuters 

Contact Us To Find Out How We Can Help

If you have sustained injuries in the city of Los Angeles as a result of a bicycle accident, an attorney at our firm can help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us today at (213) 927-3700 or email info@westcoasttriallawyers.com to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.



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