Is a Rear Reflector Required by Law on Bicycles in California?

According to California Vehicle Code (CVC) §21201 d-2, you must place a red reflector on the rear of your bike if you’re traveling at nighttime. These rear reflectors are only legal if they can clearly be seen 500 feet away when struck by street lamps.

CVC §21201 d also states that cyclists riding at nighttime must place a white safety light on the front of your bike while riding at night. This white light should be clearly seen 300 feet in front of and to the sides of the cyclist. You could also legally wear this light on your person (e.g. on a helmet) if you don’t feel comfortable placing it on your bike.

Cyclists should also know that CVC §21201 d-3 requires them to place white or yellow reflectors pedals on the bike’s pedals or wear the reflectors on your shoes or ankles. These reflectors should be seen at least 200 feet away.

California law enforcement also requires bikes to have white or yellow reflectors on the front-center side of the bike and one red or white reflector on the back-center side of the bike. If your bike already has reflectors on your tires, then you can ignore this rule.

When In Doubt, Walk

While you may not want to hear it, road safety experts recommend cyclists who don’t meet the above criteria to walk with their bikes at night in California. Numerous studies have shown that bicycling at night is far more dangerous than any other time during the day. Some claim 50 percent of all cyclist fatalities occur at night. Please prepare ahead of time before riding your bike at night.

Bay Area Bicycle Law

Representing clients in San Francisco, the Bay Area, Oakland and everywhere in northern California, Bay Area Bicycle Law is the only personal injury law firm to specialize exclusively in representing cyclists. Our attorneys have extensive experience working on bicycle crash cases. By devoting our careers to this niche, we can guarantee the superior service required to win your case. If you or a loved one has been involved a bicycle crash anywhere in California, contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.

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