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NORTHERN CALIFORNIA NEVADA CYCLING ASSOCIATION
Pedestrians have the right of way on walkways.
It's against the law to ride your bike on freeways where signs prohibit entry. It's also illegal to ride the wrong way on a one-way street, or against traffic on a two-way street.
"Right of way" means permission to go head of somebody else. As the driver of a vehicle, you must yield the right of way in the same situations that motorists do. If you don't know when to yield to pedestrians and other vehicles, read the "California Drivers Handbook".
If your break a traffic law, an officer might stop and warn you or possibly give you a traffic ticket. What happens when police stop you for the wrong reason? If polite persuasion doesn't work and you know the California Vehicle Code, make your case in court.
Local ordinances may prohibit riding on the sidewalk.
If you do use a sidewalk you should walk your bike, even where it seems like the best place to bicycle.
The law requires a strong headlight and a rear reflector or tail light at night or when visibility is poor. Wear light-colored clothes with reflective tape for extra protection.
You may need to stop suddenly at unexpected times. In rain, allow three times the normal braking distance.
When overtaking a bicycle, making a left turn, avoiding a road hazard or other obstruction or you are afraid a motorist might turn across your path, you may temporarily merge WITH CAUTION into the adjacent automobile lane for safety or better visibility.
Rules of the Road
Bicyclists must ride with traffic. Motorists are not looking for bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the road.
Watch for road hazards such as broken glass, gravel, and potholes
Follow and obey signs, signals, and pavement markings.
When you're on a bike in the middle of all those cars, it's easy to defy traffic rules because you can maneuver better, and almost no one will stop you. This is how most bicyclists get into collisions. When you break traffic laws motorists never know what you'll do next, so they're not sure how to avoid you. But if you act like a vehicle--signaling turns, turning from the correct lanes, and stopping at red lights and stop signs--drivers can predict what you'll do.
Every adult can bicycle in our traffic. If you're concerned, practice by riding on quiet side streets and in parking lots. Then practice on major streets early on weekend mornings. We've listed a few skills that'll help you ride in traffic.
When you're waiting for a car to pass you before you cross an intersection or change lanes, the driver might not realize you're yielding. Wave at the driver to go ahead. Also, when drivers yield to you--even when they're supposed to--it's a good idea to thank them by waving and smiling.
Do not go straight in a lane marked right-turn-only.
When the lane is too narrow for a car to pass you safety, ride in the middle of the lane.
Bicyclists must follow the same laws as motorists. Stop at red lights and stop signs just as you would in a car.
Bicycling Rules You Should Know
Bicyclists are required to follow the same road rules as motorists. This is important for your personal safety. A major concern many bike commuters have is the potential dangers of riding in traffic. Fact is, 85% of all serious bicycle crashes don't even involve a moving car. Among the remaining accidents, the vast majority are avoidable. Cyclists who learn and obey the rules of the road have 80% fewer collisions than those who do not. Here are essential safety tips:
Use Hand Signals
Whenever you change lanes or turn, signal with your arm. If you are about to move in an unexpected way--like around a bunch of glass--point over to the part of the road you're moving to. Also signal when you're about to slow down--you don't have brake lights! California law says you must signal 100 feet before making a turn--tricky if you're also shifting and braking. Try to put your arm out in between the other stuff you're doing, but not if you'll lose control. Instead, yell.
Choose the Best Way to Turn Left
This page was last updated on January 23, 2012