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California law allows cyclists to ride in traffic with motor vehicles and are treated as vehicles for the purposes of traffic codes and rights-of-way. However, the law also states that if the cyclist is unable to keep up with the flow of traffic, then riding in the bike lane (where there is one) is required (CVC §21208).

However, there are exceptions that are there to keep the cyclist safe:

  • If the bike lane is blocked by debris, objects or cars,
  • Hazardous to ride in the bike lane,
  • The cyclist is making a left turn
  • The cyclist is making an authorized right turn

In many of the downtown regions—especially in the larger cities like San Francisco and Oakland—the traffic typically goes slow enough to accommodate a cyclist riding in traffic, however, when the traffic is too fast, then the cyclist needs to be in the bike lane for their protection.

Safety is Reason for Bike Lane Laws

Numerous studies show that when a cyclist uses a bike lane, they are 50 percent less likely to get in an accident, and when that lane is a protected lane (meaning it’s separated by a physical barrier from the traffic lane) then that number goes to 90 percent.

So riding in the bike lane is safer for the cyclist from being struck and injured by the larger and faster motor vehicles.

Contact a Bay Area Bicycle Lawyer

Bay Area Bicycle Law is the only personal injury law firm in Northern California to specialize exclusively in representing injured cyclists. Years of advocacy for bicycle victims have seasoned our attorneys with the necessary skills, knowledge base and familiarity to handle bicycle accident cases with the utmost level of professional expertise.

Contact us today for a free consultation by email or by calling 415-466-8717. California cyclists who are injured by negligent drivers are entitled to a wide array of compensation. We will always offer you legal advice which is in your best interest.