The Law, as applicable to bicycling

California Vehicle Code Bicycle Reference Summary:

  • Bicyclist Rights (CVC 21200) Bicyclists have all the rights and responsibilities of vehicle drivers.
  • Alcohol and Drugs (CVC 21200.5) It is against the law to ride a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Equipment (CVC 21202 and 21204) Bicycles must be equipped with at least a brake which allows operators to execute to a wheelskid on dry, level, clean pavement. Handlebars must not be higher than the rider’s shoulders. Bicycles must be small enough for the rider to stop, support it with one foot on the ground, and restart safely. At night bicycles must be equipped with a white headlight or white light attached to the rider and visible from the front. Bicycles must also have a rear red reflector and white or yellow pedal reflectors. There must be a white or yellow reflector on the front of the bicycle visible from the side, and a red or white reflector on the rear of the bicycle visible from the side. All riders must have a permanent, regular seat. Bicycle passengers under 40 lbs. must have a seat which retains them in place and protects them from moving parts.
  • Use of the Roadway (CVC 21202) Bicycles traveling slower than the normal speed of traffic must ride as close to the right side of the road as practicable except: when passing, preparing for a left turn, to avoid hazards and dangerous conditions or if the lane is too narrow.
  • Hitching Rides (CVC 21203) Bicyclists may not hitch rides on vehicles.
  • Carrying Articles (CVC 21205) Bicyclists may not carry items which keep them from using at least one hand upon the handlebars.
  • Motorized Bicycles (CVC 21207.5) Motorized bicycles may not be used on trails, bike path, or lanes.
  • Bicycle Lane Use (CVC 21208) Bicyclists traveling slower than traffic must use bike lanes except when making a left turn, passing, or avoiding hazardous conditions.
  • Obstruction of Pedestrians (CVC 21210) Bicyclists may not leave bicycles on their sides on the sidewalk or park bicycles in a manner which obstructs pedestrians.
  • Bikeway Obstruction (CVC 21211) No one may stop on or park a bicycle on a bicycle path.
  • Helmets (CVC 21212) Bicyclists and passengers under age 18 must wear an ANSI or Snell approved helmet when a passenger or riding upon a bicycle.
  • Direction of Travel (CVC 21650) Bicyclist must travel on the right side of the roadway in the direction of traffic.
  • Freeways (CVC 21960) Bicyclists may not ride on the freeways where prohibited.
  • Toll Bridges (CVC 23330) Bicyclists may not cross a toll bridge unless permitted by signs.
  • Head Phones (CVC 27400) Bicyclists may not wear earplugs in both ears or a headset covering both ears, except hearing aids.

County of Los Angeles Code:

  • Sidewalks (§15.76.080) prohibits riding bicycles on sidewalks, except as specified.

Governmental Agencies relevant to bicycling

Local Bicycling Advocacy Organizations

  • LACBC – Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition
    • Representing the Los Angeles area, LACBC works to improve road conditions, encourage bicycle commuting, and promote safety programs. LACBC helps to assure that bicycling is a part of an integrated transportation plan throughout the Los Angeles area.
  • Active CVG – Bike San Gabriel Valley
    • ActiveSGV’s mission is to support a more sustainable, equitable, and livable San Gabriel Valley.
  • MCM – MultiCultiMobility
    • In collaboration with Metro, MCM are currently conducting Spanish Bicycle Safety workshops throughout Los Angeles County. The goal of this program is to educate Spanish speaking cyclists on proper road biking procedures and inform riders about their lawful rights.
  • East Side Riders Bike Club
    • The mission of East Side Riders is to prevent kids from gangs and drugs, help those in need or less fortunate and educate all who seek to enrich the community.
  • California Bicycle Coalition
    • Their mission is to enable more people to bicycle, creating safer, healthier and more prosperous communities for all. Their vision is of millions of people riding bikes every day in California. Their goal is to double the amount of bicycling in the Golden State by 2017 and triple it by 2020.

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