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Bicycle Law of the Day: CVC 21453 (Steady Red Light)

The California Vehicle Code requires a cyclist facing a steady red light to come to a complete stop at a marked limit line, or if none is present, before entering the crosswalk on the nearest side of the intersection (CVC 21453).  If there is neither a marked limit line nor a crosswalk, a cyclist must stop before entering the “intersection.”  The cyclist must then remain stopped until the light changes.

However, if the cyclist desires to turn right (or left onto a one-way street from a one-way street), the cyclist may begin to proceed (after coming to a complete stop) even before the light has changed, unless there is signage prohibiting the turn.  Nevertheless, the law requires the cyclist to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within the adjacent crosswalk AND to any vehicle that is approaching closely.  The cyclist may then proceed with the turn if it can be accomplished with reasonable safety.

A cyclist found to be in violation of any of the provisions of this law can be exposed to substantial civil liability and civil penalties, regardless of whether an ensuing accident is also partially caused by the negligence or recklessness of another cyclist, pedestrian, or motor vehicle driver.

– Bay Area Bicycle Law