Riding a bike is an increasingly popular way to get around Los Angeles. California has certain laws on the books that are intended to keep cyclists safe. Whether you are riding a bike, walking, or driving on Los Angeles roads, it is important to understand these laws. Knowing your rights and obligations will help to reduce the number of bike accidents in the city.
Here are the most important bike laws you need to know if you bike, walk, or drive in Los Angeles.
- 1 Ride With the Direction of Traffic
- 2 Use Bicycle Lanes Whenever Possible
- 3 Don’t Stop In the Middle of a Bike Lane
- 4 Don’t Ride on Freeways
- 5 Minors Must Wear a Helmet
- 6 Don’t Ride Under the Influence
- 7 Bicyclists Must Yield to Pedestrians
- 8 Bicycles Must Be Outfitted With Reflectors and Lights
- 9 Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Lawyers
Ride With the Direction of Traffic
Bicyclists must ride with the flow and direction of traffic. For example, if you are traveling south you must ride alongside vehicles that are also traveling south. Keeping the direction of traffic consistent helps to reduce accidents. Bicyclists are more likely to be injured if riding against the flow of traffic.
Use Bicycle Lanes Whenever Possible
Los Angeles has recently embraced the growing demand for bicycle infrastructure. Many roads are now equipped with lined and/or dedicated bicycle lanes. If you are riding a bicycle on a street that has a bike lane, you are required to use it. You can exit the lane and drive alongside vehicles if it is necessary to avoid a hazard, pass slower bicyclists, or make a left-hand turn.
Don’t Stop In the Middle of a Bike Lane
Bicycle lanes are there to keep cyclists safe while traveling alongside larger vehicles. If you stop and take a break in the middle of a lane you put other riders at risk. If you must stop or park, you are required to find a safe space away from the road and bike lane. If necessary, you can move to a nearby sidewalk.
Don’t Ride on Freeways
Bicycles are prohibited on certain roadways in Los Angeles. Major freeways were designed to accommodate high-speed traffic and can be incredibly dangerous for bicycle riders. Prohibitions on bicycles can also extend to motor-assisted bicycles. When you are mapping out your route, try to stick to back roads with dedicated bike lanes and those with the least amount of traffic.
Minors Must Wear a Helmet
Anyone under the age of 18 riding a bicycle in Los Angeles is required to wear a helmet. Studies have shown that wearing a helmet significantly reduces the risk of suffering a catastrophic or fatal injury in the event of a crash. While adults are not legally obligated to wear a helmet, it is encouraged. Your ability to recover compensation could be jeopardized if you could have prevented your injury by wearing safety gear.
Don’t Ride Under the Influence
You cannot legally drink and ride in Los Angeles. State law prohibits riders from sharing the road while they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Riding a bike while intoxicated significantly increases the risk of a serious accident. If you are under the influence while riding, you may not be able to recover compensation for any accident-related injuries.
Bicyclists Must Yield to Pedestrians
When you ride a bike in Los Angeles, you will often find that you are riding alongside pedestrians. Things can get complicated when bike lanes and pedestrians walkways intersect. State law requires bicyclists to yield the right of way to pedestrians in most situations. If a pedestrian is in a marked crosswalk or roadway, you must stop and allow them to cross. However, pedestrians cannot jump out in front of bicyclists and create an immediate hazard. Everyone sharing the road must use caution and care.
Bicycles Must Be Outfitted With Reflectors and Lights
Bicycles can be hard to see at night. California state law requires bicycle riders to wear and/or install certain safety features on the bikes to increase visibility.
The following reflectors must be visible on a bicycle after dark:
- Red reflector visible from the back of the bike.
- Yellow or white reflectors on each pedal and/or a rider’s shoes.
- Yellow or white reflector visible from the front of the bicycle.
The following lights must be visible on a bicycle after dark:
- Solid or flashing red light visible from the rear of the bicycle (in addition to or instead of red reflectors).
- White headlamp visible from the front of the bike (installed on the bike or worn on a helmet).
If your bike is not equipped with the proper safety devices you may not be able to recover all damages you suffer in a crash. Contributing to the accident can hurt your ability to recover compensation.
Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Lawyers
As a Los Angeles bicycle accident victim, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the Los Angeles Accident Center for help understanding your legal rights. Our lawyers will review the details of your accident and determine who is to blame. We will fight to get you the money you deserve even if you contributed to your own injuries. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.