What both bicyclists and motorists need to know about sharing the road to avoid crashes

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2021 | Bicycle Accidents |

Bicyclists often don’t have to worry about how they operate their bicycles when they only ride inside their local park or neighborhood. Vehicles either generally aren’t permitted in these areas, or there are so few around that they’re not a major concern. Plus, drivers tend to be moving more slowly in those areas and on the lookout for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Things are much different when bicyclists venture out onto Los Angeles’ busy roadways. California Vehicle Code (CVC) 21200 outlines where bicyclists can lawfully ride their bikes. Motorists must know about them to avoid striking and injuring bicyclists.

When bicyclists can share the road with motorists

Contrary to popular belief, all bicyclists do not have to use protected bike lanes. CVC 21208 spells out how bike riders generally only have to do so only if they’re traveling at a slower rate than traffic and when:

  • Swerving to avoid hazards
  • Passing
  • Preparing for a left turn
  • Approaching a right turn only area

CVC 21202 spells out how bicyclists must otherwise keep to the right side of the road when sharing the road with passenger cars in each of the above-referenced instances or when they’re unable to share their lane due to its narrowness. Many motorists don’t realize that bicyclists have a right to take the lane and crash into them due to this.

Bicyclists must travel on the right side of the road and in the same direction as other traffic. CVC 21650 outlines a few exceptions to this rule, such as a road closure due to construction or cycling along a one-way street. State lawmakers leave the decision to allow bicyclists to operate their bikes on sidewalks up to individual cities to decide. 

CVC 21960 prohibits all bicyclists from cycling on freeways; however, CVC 23330 does allow bike riders to cross toll bridges when authorized to do so by the California Department of Transportation. 

There are countless other requirements bicyclists must adhere to, such as cell phone and earphone use and carrying requirements. All of these rules aim to keep bicyclists safe. 

How you should proceed if a motorist struck you

Bicyclists can suffer some pretty significant injuries if a motorist strikes them. An attorney may advise you how California law allows you to recover compensation if you get hurt due to a driver’s negligence.