What Does CVC §21205 Mean for California Cyclists? – Bicycling with Bags

There’s an interesting law tucked away in California’s Vehicular Code (CVC) that forbids cyclists from carrying any object that interferes with their ability to drive. Listed in CVC §21205, this code clearly states it’s illegal for cyclists to hold an object with both hands while riding.

CVC §21205 reads: “No person operating a bicycle shall carry any package, bundle or article which prevents the operator from keeping at least one hand upon the handlebars.”

It’s important to note, however, that §21205 allows cyclists to hold packages provided they can still maintain control of their bicycle. This means you must have at least one hand firmly on your bike’s handlebars at all times.

Although this law might come as a surprise to some riders, it’s actually quite common across the nation. Other states like Texas, Illinois, and Florida have similar rules that require all cyclists to always keep at least one hand on their handlebars.

Learning to ride a bicycle with one hand is actually a good skill for any beginning cyclist to learn. Not only does this skill make riding more convenient, it’s also a crucial aspect of cyclist safety.

For example, you need to take one hand off of your bike to properly signal your intentions to other motorists when turning. Taking one hand off of your bike’s handlebars could also help you turn around to check for motorists.

Anyone in California who wants to learn more cycling safety tips should read through this webpage put together by the California DMV. In addition to learning how to properly signal, this article will teach you how to use the state’s bicycle lanes and make left turns.

To read the full text of this law, check out this link to CVC Article 4 §21205.

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