California Road Rules and Regulations for Bicyclists

California bike lane rules and laws specify that cyclists must use bike lanes if available. However, a few exceptions to when cyclists can ride outside the bike lane include the following:

  • When a cyclist passes or overtakes a pedestrian, vehicle, or another bicycle within the lane
  • When a cyclist can’t safely maneuver without going outside the lane
  • When a cyclist prepares for a left turn at an intersection
  • When a cyclist approaches an area where a right turn is allowed

California bike lane rules also state that cyclists should not stop or park a bicycle on the bike path.

Do Bicyclists Have to Pull Over for Cars?

Bicyclists often have to ride in a traffic lane when there isn’t a safer option, which means motor vehicles may start lining up behind them. While it is polite to turn off the road to allow moving cars to pass, bicyclists are not required to unless five or more vehicles are behind them.

Can Cyclists Ride Inside Crosswalks at Intersections?

According to state regulations, crosswalks are for pedestrians, not bicyclists. Cyclists should stop at crosswalks and yield to pedestrians. Bicyclists should either walk their bikes through the crosswalk or ride with traffic flow on the farthest right side of the street but to the left of the crosswalk if going straight.

Can Bicyclists Ride on the Sidewalk?

It depends on where you live in California. Currently, there are no state-wide laws restricting bicycle use on sidewalks. California Vehicle Code (CVC) 21206 states that city and county officials are responsible for enforcing bicycle laws in pedestrian areas.

In Sacramento County, cyclists can ride on sidewalks without restrictions in Folsom, Davis, and Galt. However, cities like Elk Grove, Sacramento, West Sacramento, and the unincorporated regions of Sacramento County only permit bike riding on sidewalks in designated areas.

What are the Rules for Riding in Groups?

According to California traffic laws, there are no regulations on how cyclists should ride in groups. However, it is a good idea to do the following:

  • Ride in two lines if the road allows
  • Leave a few feet between each bicyclist
  • Communicate roadway hazards
  • Assess the streets to identify what formations and pace to ride

Can Cyclists Get a DUI While Riding Drunk?

Riding while drunk is a misdemeanor criminal offense. Drinking and using illegal drugs while bicycling could impair your judgment, causing you to forget to obey traffic signs or swerve through the streets. Bicyclists can get a CUI (cycling under the influence) charge and be fined up to $250. However, unlike a DUI (driving under the influence), a CUI charge does not impose other legal penalties such as jail time or license suspension.

California Road Rules and Regulations for Bicyclists