Bicycles in California have specific state laws that you must abide by which include where and how to operate your bike. Bikes actually have some of the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers. You can check out the full list of rights here (CVC 21200).
Although most rules are shared between motor vehicles and bikes, cyclist have their own set of responsibilities and laws they must follow to stay safe when sharing the road with cars.
Where You Can Ride
It is extremely dangerous and against the law to be riding you bike against the flow of traffic. ALWAYS ride with the flow of traffic. There are a few exceptions, such as narrow roads and construction zones where there is no other safe places to ride, but you will not find a safer area than the designated bike lane.
If you’re moving as fast as the flow of traffic, you actually do have the right to travel anywhere you want on that road. Chances are you will be traveling slower than the flow of traffic. If this is that case, you do have some rights that even some police officers are not aware of. If you happen to get a citation for an event like this, refer back to CVC 21200 for you full list of rights.
When sharing the road with cars, you should always be riding as far right on the road as you possibly can. You are allowed to venture off, if and only if, you are passing, preparing for a left turn, avoiding hazards, if the lane is too narrow to share, or if you are approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.
If the road you are cycling on does have a bike lane, you must stay within the confines of that lane unless you are making a left, passing, avoiding hazardous conditions, or approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.
Operating Your Bike
The most vital piece of equipment while riding should always be your helmet! CVC 21212 states that all riders under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet under California law. Regardless of the age limit set on the helmet law, you should always wear one to protect yourself should you ever be involved in an accident.
You may use headphones to listen to music or directions while riding, but you may not have them in both your ears at the same time. Bicyclists must also yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within marked crosswalks or within unmarked crosswalks at intersections.
Follow these rules and you’ll be riding all summer long!