Understanding California’s New Bicycle Laws


It doesn't matter if you drive a car, ride a bicycle, or walk everywhere—there are new laws in California that everyone needs to know. Furthermore, if you live in Los Angeles, you should always stay up to date on traffic laws—after all, you're surrounded by almost ten million people on a daily basis.

With the expansion of shared mobility over the past few years, Los Angeles has transformed into the ultimate smart city, or multi-modal transport destination. What's your preferred method of travel within the city? Would you rather drive a car or ride a bike? You don't even need to own one—the micro-mobility industry has made downloading an app and hopping on a bike almost instantaneous. Not a fan of riding? How about public transportation such as the bus or metro? If that doesn't suit your fancy, you can rideshare and use an Uber or Lyft for just about anywhere you want to go. But what happens if you're injured in a ridesharing accident or e-bike accident? Traffic laws are constantly evolving, especially in the most populous state in the U.S. With close to 40 million people in California, it's no wonder why there are so many searches for the best personal injury attorney in Los Angeles. But we digress—let's go back to the new bicycle laws.

New Bicycle Laws

In a previous post, we discussed the new jaywalking law, which took effect on January 1st, 2023. A few other traffic laws, including new bicycle laws, also went into effect on the same day. However, another portion of that very same bicycle law won't go into effect until January 1st, 2024. Although these new bicycle laws provide more protection for cyclists—who generally have the same legal rights as motorists—it's essential for drivers to stay in the know. Even so, regardless if you're a driver or cyclist, bicycle laws in California can be confusing, which is why we're here to help you navigate the legal landscape. And remember, if you're injured in a bicycle accident, always contact a personal injury lawyer for guidance.

So, what are these new laws in California and how do they impact drivers?

AB-1909. Vehicles: Bicycle Omnibus Bill

Under this new law, the "3 feet for Safety Act" has been changed, requiring drivers to now pass cyclists by moving into another available lane when possible and safe to do so. This not only minimizes the chances of an accident but also makes it significantly easier for law enforcement to cite drivers.

The next portion of this new bicycle law involves electric bikes—specifically, class 3 e-bikes. To save you the hassle of performing a Google search for e-bike class types, here's a quick breakdown:

Class 1: a pedal-assisted bicycle with an electric motor; ceases to assist once the bike reaches 20 mph.

Class 2: a throttle-assisted bicycle with an electric motor; ceases to assist once the bike reaches 20 mph.

Class 3: a pedal-assisted bicycle with an electric motor, equipped with a speedometer; ceases to assist once the bike reaches 28 mph. Must be 16 years or older to ride.

AB-1909. Vehicles: Bicycle Omnibus Bill

Under the new law, class 3 e-bikes are now permitted to use approved bicycle paths and trails unless local jurisdiction states otherwise.

The final portion of this new bicycle law will allow cyclists to cross an intersection when a walk sign is on. Previously, the "WALK" or "walking person" traffic light was only applicable to pedestrians. With this portion of the bill taking effect next year, drivers will hopefully have enough time to learn about the change. Once the law takes effect, drivers can be held liable for a collision involving a cyclist crossing an intersection. Even though determining fault will become more evident with these new laws in place, please be safe when sharing the road.

If you've been involved in an accident, contact us for a free case evaluation to find out how much your case is worth. Our bicycle accident attorney will make sure you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries.

We are a Los Angeles personal injury law firm serving clients in Southern California. Yepremyan Law Firm works on a contingency basis for all personal injury matters. No recovery, no fee.

*No Legal Advice Intended. This website includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. These materials have been prepared for general informational purposes only and are not intended to be legal advice. Please consult an attorney for legal advice pertaining to any particular legal matter. Use of and access to this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader, user, or browser and Yepremyan Law Firm and any of its attorneys, employees, or associates.


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