Bicycle Accident: Frequently Asked Questions

bicycle, bicycle faqs

Does a bicycle rider have the same rights and duties as car drivers?

Answer: Yes. 

Does a bicycle rider have to drive in the same direction as cars?

Answer: Yes, bikes must travel on the right side of the roadway in the direction of traffic.

Does a bicycle rider have to follow traffic signals, including stop signs and lights?

Answer: Yes.

Does a bicycle rider have to obey the posted speed limit?

Answer: Yes.

Does a bicycle rider have to signal when changing lanes?

Answer: Yes.

Can a bicyclist use headphones while riding?

Answer: A bike rider cannot wear a headset or earplugs in both ears, only one ear.

Do bicyclists have to yield to pedestrians?

Answer: Yes.

Does a bike need lights?

Answer: Yes. A bicycle must have a front light that is visible from a distance of 300 feet at night, and a rear red reflector.

Can a bike be ridden on the sidewalk?

Answer: It depends on the city. Some cities prohibit riding on the sidewalk. Others do not. As examples, bicycling on sidewalks is permitted within the City of Los Angeles as long as the cyclist does not show a willful and wonton disregard for the safety of persons or property. Santa Monica prohibits riding on the sidewalk.

Does a bike need a functioning brake?

Answer: Yes.

Do adults need to wear a helmet?

Answer: No. Adults 18 years of age and older do not need to wear a helmet. 

Can a bicyclist drink alcohol and ride?

Answer: No.

Can a bicyclist ride next to parked vehicles?

Answer: Yes. But bike riders should ride far enough from parked cars to avoid being hit by an opening door. 

Can a bicyclist use a crosswalk?

Answer: Yes. A bike operator can cross as a pedestrian.

Do bicyclist have to use a bike lane?

Answer: Yes, if traveling slower than traffic.

Can a bicycle be ridden on the freeway?

Answer: No.

Can a bike have passengers?

Answer: All riders must have a permanent, regular seat.

Can a bicyclist hitch a ride on a car?

Answer: No.

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