Laws for bikes aren’t terribly complicated, and you can save yourself a lot of trouble by being familiar with them. In a few important cases, the law protects you for riding safely, even when it might inconvenience automobile drivers.
- California Bike Law sections – the actual legal text, it’s not that long.
- Bike Law 101 in San Francisco – a helpful page by the SF Bike Coalition, including laws, theft prevention, what to do in a collision, and more.
- Bicycles and the Law – a more thorough legal discussion for you law students out there.
In case that’s too much for you, here are the simple straightforward things you need to know about the law and Bike Party:
- Ride sober – drinking or using drugs and riding a bike is similar to a DUI and it’s a hefty ticket.
- Use lights – a white front light is required, a red back light is a good idea.
- Ride like you know how to drive – the sidewalk is the most dangerous place to ride, and unpredictable moves are the fastest way to go down. Ride in a straight line in the appropriate traffic lane.
- Wear a helmet – it’s required if you’re under 18, but it’s a good idea for everyone.
- You have every right to be in the middle of the right lane- Don’t let drivers intimidate you. If it is hazardous (or you need to pass etc) on the right, you can legally ride in the MIDDLE of the right lane.
- Running Red Lights and Stop Signs- Yes, you can get a ticket.
- Be positive - there’s a lot of discretion involved in police issuing tickets, and being a jerk usually doesn’t help anyone.