Cycling is becoming a popular alternative to driving in many Bay Area cities, and this trend looks to increase in the future. Cities in the region are putting in more bike paths and lanes and have plans for many more in the future.
However, not all roads are going to get bike lanes and the further the road is outside the urban areas, the less likely it will be to have a bike lane added.
This puts many cyclists riding the two-lane highways that connect the area’s towns and cities. This puts cyclists at greater risk due to the higher speed limit and in many cases narrower roads and shoulders that are common on suburban highways.
Cyclist Killed on Half Moon Bay Highway
On Monday, November 18, 2019, a 59-year-old cyclist died while riding on near the Half Moon Bay coastline. The accident happened on Airport Street near Stanford avenue when the cyclist was struck by a Toyota Sienna.
According to the California Highway Patrol, the cyclist was riding northbound on Airport Street when the minivan hit him while traveling southbound on the same road. It’s unknown what caused the accident, but the CHP has ruled out alcohol and drug use. The accident is still under investigation.
California Law on Highway Cycling
In California, a bicycle is considered a vehicle under the state’s vehicle code and has all the rights and responsibilities that a motor vehicle has. A cyclist can get a ticket the same as any driver, and a cyclist has just as much right to the road as any motorist does.
However, the law also requires that if the cyclist can’t keep up with the flow of traffic, then the cyclist must use the bike lane if available, or is required to ride on the far-right of the right lane going in the direction of the flow of traffic.
Since most highway speed limits are 50 or higher, a cyclist just simply can’t keep up, so the cyclist has to move to the right side of the road going in the direction of traffic wherever there are no bike lanes.
Another law allows cyclists to ride on the shoulder in highways and on freeways where riding is allowed. Motor vehicles are not allowed to ride on the shoulder, and the exception for bicycles recognizes that in many cases, it’s safer for a cyclist to ride on the shoulder.
Five Ways to Ride Bike Safely on a Bay Area Highway
- Obey the Law: The laws are there to protect cyclists, and following them will keep you safer.
- Ride with the Flow of Traffic: Some riders believe that it’s safer to ride against the flow of traffic when riding on a highway so the rider can see the traffic coming at them. Not only is this against the it’s dangerous as it greatly increases any impact with a vehicle.
- Reflectors and Lights: California law requires reflectors and lights on a bike when riding at night, but reflectors can help during the day as well. Any increase in visibility will reduce the risk of an accident.
- Ride at a Safe and Comfortable Speed: Don’t try to ride faster just because cars are riding by faster. When riding on a highway, you need to stay in control of your bike, and this might mean slowing down just a bit.
- Wear a Helmet: Many cyclists don’t like to wear helmets. However, when riding on a highway where the impact is possibly much higher because of the speed of the cars, consider protecting your head with a helmet.
Northern California’s Bicycle Accident Lawyers.
Bay Area Bicycle Law works with clients all over the State of California and is one of the state’s only personal injury law firms working exclusively with injured cyclists.
We handle cases in your area, and there are many benefits to working with a specialist.
Years of advocacy for bicycle crash victims have seasoned our attorneys with the necessary skills to handle bicycle accident cases with the utmost level of professional expertise. We will always offer you legal advice which is in your best interest. Contact us today for a free consultation.