Bicyclists in California Have Rights

A cyclist on an busy city street

Los Angeles is a great place to get out on your bike and enjoy the beautiful scenery while reducing your carbon footprint in the process. The State of California recognizes the dangers inherent to getting around on bikes – without the protections offered by cars and other vehicles – and affords bicyclists rights that are intended to help keep traffic moving smoothly and safely for all who travel on our roadways, including those bicyclists. If a negligent motorist leaves you injured in a bike accident, an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer can help.

Your Rights when You’re on Your Bike

When you head out on your bike, you enjoy many of the same basic rights and responsibilities that motorists do. Consider all of the following:

  • If you are able to keep up with the flow of traffic, then you may join traffic on any road.
  • If you are traveling more slowly than traffic on the road is, you must stick to designated bike lanes. 
  • When you are required to use a bike lane, you may only leave the lane (and join traffic) when you are passing another bike or a pedestrian in the bike lane.
  • When you’re on your bike, you’re required to travel on the right-most side of the road – while moving in the same direction that traffic is flowing. Exceptions include when you are making a left turn or are passing.

When you’re on your bike, you’re far more vulnerable to the dangers of the road and should always put safety first.

Motorists’ Responsibilities

Motorists are responsible for steering clear of bike lanes, which are specifically intended for those traveling on bikes. Exceptions to this rule include:

  • When a motorist is entering or leaving the roadway
  • When a motorist is pulling over to park
  • When a motorist is preparing to make an upcoming right turn

Even for these exceptions, however, the driver in question is required to first look around and ensure that it is safe to cross over a bike lane. 

The Three Feet for Safety Act

The dangers inherent to bike lanes are not lost on lawmakers in California, and as such, the right of way belongs to the bikers who ride in them. This is part of the state’s Three Feet for Safety Act, which also requires all motorists to allow a safe distance (that does not interfere with the bicyclists’ safe passage) between their vehicles and any bicyclists in bike lanes – whenever entering into bike lanes or overtaking bicyclists riding in bike lanes. The minimum distance required is three free, but factors such as traffic, visibility, the effects of inclement weather, and vehicle size and speed must be taken into careful consideration. 

Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Today

The intrepid personal injury attorneys at Jahrmarkt & Associates – proudly serving Los Angeles and all surrounding areas – understand the urgency of your case and are committed to skillfully advocating for the compensation to which you are entitled. To schedule a free case evaluation, please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at 310-226-7676 today.