Do Bicyclists Have to Ride With Traffic in California?

According to California Vehicle Code (CVC) §21650, all cyclists must travel in the same direction as traffic. Any cyclist who wants to head in the opposite direction of traffic is required to walk with his/her bicycle on the sidewalk.

To further increase safety, cyclists are encouraged to ride on the right hand side of the road as close to the curb as possible. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. A few of the common exceptions include times when you have to make a left turn, pass a cyclist who is going slower than you, or when there’s construction going on in the right-hand lane. It’s also legal to avoid the right lane if it will prevent creating “unsafe” conditions.

You can read more about these rules and restrictions in CVC §21202.

Ride With The Traffic For Your Own Safety

No matter where you are in the USA, road safety experts always recommend riding a bike with traffic and, if possible, on the right hand side. Rear-end collisions are far less common than getting hit in the front or side while on a bike, so there’s no logical reason to fear traveling with the grain of traffic. Please keep in mind that you are a vehicle on the road, thus it just makes sense that you’d follow all the rules and restrictions motor vehicles do.

Believe it or not, it’s five times more likely cyclists will get into a crash if they don’t follow basic rules like riding with the flow of traffic. The likelihood of getting involved in a crash while on a bike is even higher if you consistently ride on the left side.

If you need more helpful safety tips on riding your bike on the roadways, please check out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s official webpage right here.

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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