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California Bicycle Lane Laws

California Vehicle Code § 21200 et. seq. outlines traffic laws that apply to bicyclists. Although persons riding bicycles generally must obey the same traffic laws as any other motorists, California does have some specific vehicle code provisions that apply only to the use of bicycle lanes. Some of these laws apply to bicyclists, but others apply to all motorists.

CVC § 21208 generally requires bicyclists to use the bicycle lane when they are traveling slower than traffic. However, there are exceptions to this rule, as bicyclists are not required to use the bicycle lane in any of the following situations, when they are:

• Making a left turn
• Passing
• Avoiding hazardous conditions
• Approaching a place where they can make a right turn

Furthermore, bicyclists are not required to use “protected” bike lanes. If there are posts or parking spaces that separate a bike lane from the street, it is no longer a bike lane. Rather, it is a separated bikeway, and you can ride your bicycle outside it if you choose, no matter the reason. In this situation, CVC § 21208 is inapplicable.

When you exit a bike lane, you first must decide whether it is reasonably safe for you to do so, and then give the appropriate signal before doing so.

If a bike lane passes over a crosswalk for pedestrians, whether it is marked or not, bicyclists must yield or exercise due care for pedestrians. Likewise, even if pedestrians are not in the crosswalk, but in the bike lane, bicyclists also must take care to avoid them if possible.

Motorists also must obey specific laws concerning bicycle lanes. Under CVC § 21209, motorists may not drive their motor vehicles in bicycle lanes, except where necessary to park where permitted, to enter or leave the roadway, or to prepare for a turn that is less than 200 feet from an intersection. However, operators of motorized bicycles can drive in bike lanes at speeds that are reasonable given the circumstances, provided that they do not endanger the safety of bicyclists.

Bonnici Law Group has the experience, knowledge, and reputation that you want and need when you are injured in a bike accident. We are here to help you build the most substantial claim possible for compensation and obtain a positive outcome in your case. Do not hesitate to contact Bonnici Law Group at 858-261-5454 or help@bonnicilawgroup.com.

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