If you’re on the road in California, whether on a bike, walking, or driving a car, you need to be familiar with bicycle right of way rules. Because bicycles are so much smaller than motor vehicles, accidents can cause serious injuries to bikers. But since we all share the road, you may questions about who has the right of way, and when?
Are Bicycle Right of Way Rules Similar to Those of Pedestrians?
Many people think that cyclists have right of way rules that are similar to pedestrians. However, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, bicycles have the same public roadway rights and responsibilities as cars, trucks, and other motor vehicles. Pedestrians, on the other hand, are said to always have the right of way when encountering bicycles and motor vehicles.
Who Has the Right of Way – Bicycles or Cars?
Between bicycles and cars, the right of way rules are the same as if two motor vehicles were meeting. If both a bicycle and car approach a four-way stop intersection, the one who arrived first has the right of way. Bicycles must signal turns in the same manner as motor vehicles, either with electronic blinkers or hand signals. Using signals helps other people on the road know that right of way rules are being followed by the cyclist.
Motor vehicle drivers often cause bicycle accidents because they do not yield right of way to bicycles at stop signs, right turns, when passing, and in other situations on the road. It’s important to remember that bikes should be treated as if they were other cars. This can prevent a serious accident between a cyclist and motor vehicle driver.
Bicycles Must Comply With Rules of the Road
Like car drivers, cyclists must abide by all of the rules of the road. However, there are exceptions made for the unique nature of bicycles.
- When a traffic signal is controlled by a sensor that cannot detect the presence of a bicycle, the cyclist may cross at the sidewalk.
- may not weave in and out of traffic, even if traffic is stopped.
- may use the right lane of roadways or the bicycle lane.
- should ride in the same direction as traffic.
- should not stop in the middle of the road or on bike paths. When cyclists must stop, they should move to the shoulder of the road or path.
- are prohibited from using freeways and expressways, except specific roadways authorized by the California Department of Transportation.
- may not use toll bridges unless specifically permitted by the California Department of Transportation.
- All bicycles must have brakes and handlebars.
- Bicycles ridden at night must have lights and reflectors.
Preventing Accidents by Knowing Bicycle Right of Way Rules
Thousands of people are injured in bicycles accidents annually, and more than 100 are fatally injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Many of the crashes could be prevented if cyclists and motor vehicle drivers understand bicycle right of way rules.
Talk to a Bike Accident Lawyer at Los Angeles Bicycle Law
If you or a loved one was injured in a bicycle accident, you need a skilled bike accident attorney on your side. The lawyers at Los Angeles Bicycle Law understand bicycle right of way rules, and we know how hard it can be to prove that someone else caused your accident. We will listen to your story, investigate your case, and help you prove that you deserve compensation after a crash. Call us today at (424) 230-3240.