A bicyclist can receive a ticket for many moving violations, including but not limited to:
- Running stop signs
- Running red traffic signals
- Impeding traffic
- Riding against vehicular traffic
While a bicycle is not considered a vehicle in California (it’s considered a “device” according to Ca Vehicle Code (CVC) Sec. 231) they are held to most of the same standards as vehicles on the road. See CVC 21200 sections for bicycle specific laws, including language stating that “a person riding a bicycle upon a highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle.”
If you receive a ticket while riding your bicycle in California, investigate the ticket by doing the following:
- Double check the CVC section cited on the ticket: Confirm the validity of your ticket by researching the vehicle code and determine if you were rightfully cited. If you were not, then you may be able to challenge the ticket in traffic court.
- Make sure the ticket lists you as a bicyclist, not a motorist: Your ticket should state that you were cited while riding a bike and not while driving a motor vehicle. This way the citation should not show up on your driving record because you are not required to have a driver’s license to ride a bicycle. If your ticket does not state “bike” or “bicycle”, make sure the court is aware that the citation is bicycle-related to avoid any marks on your driving record.
- Make notes and collect evidence: Record where the violation occurred and where the issuing officer was when it happened. Was traffic busy or were you alone on the road? Take photographs of the scene and the conditions of where you were riding. You will be able to use this information if you need to challenge the ticket in court.
Lastly, CVC 1803(b)(6) says that the clerk of court shall report traffic violations to the DMV except it’s not required for certain violations, and those received while riding a bicycle are not required. However, while it is “not required” does not mean that it cannot happen if a court clerk decides to report the violation. Should you find yourself in court challenging a ticket, you can always request that the clerk not report the ticket to the DMV, as it is not required according to CVC 1803.
After it’s all said and done, a bike ticket should not show up on your driving record. Tickets can be challenged in court, but just like motor vehicle tickets, make sure you’ve done your homework before your court date and you may be able to get your fine reduced.
After your time in court is done and everything settles out, check your driving records just to be sure. Sometimes there’s a clerical error and you’ll have to contact the court again to get the citation removed.
If you were involved in a bicycle accident or ticketed on your bicycle and don’t believe it is accurate, the best thing you can do is consult a bike accident attorney as soon as possible! Whether you’ve suffered injuries or not, it’s vital that you know your rights so that you can move forward with the process. We hope this blog helped you understand how a bicycling ticket is handled and what to do if you are ticketed. At Bonnici Law Group, we have years of experience helping protect the rights of cyclists. Let us help you obtain the best outcome possible! Give us a call at (619) 259-5199 or click here for a free consultation.