To help you stay up to speed on the newest cycling laws, and also to avoid a fine, here is an overview of the most recently passed California bike laws.
Electric Bicycles: Signed into law in October, and just having gone into effect at the beginning of the year, is AB1096 – a law regarding the regulation of electronic bicycles. While the electric bikes have yet to reach a significant level of popularity in the US as of this writing, the law was a proactive group effort between the government and bicycle safety associations, to ensure that California has appropriate laws covering their use.
Previously, the electronic bicycles were treated like mopeds in regard to their regulations. They had to be registered and insured in much the same way, and they were not allowed to access many of the places where traditional bikes may have been ridden. The new law removes the need for licensing, insurance and registration for the electronic bicycles, and they will be subject to the same rules of the road as non-electric bikes.
The new law also breaks the electronic bicycles up into classes based on their speed. Depending on the maximum speed of the model, the e-bike will be able to ride in different locations and it may be subject to different laws.
Earbud Use: Do you love rocking out to music as you ride your bike? Then, this section is for you. A new law in California regulates the use of earbuds among cyclists and drivers. Cyclists cannot wear earbuds or a headset that covers, rests on, or is inserted into both ears when they are riding. This is to ensure that riders can hear things like sirens and emergency signals. Exceptions have been made for people with hearing aids and emergency responders.
Highway Lane Use: Lastly, is an expansion of an existing law that applies to slow-moving vehicles. Cyclists will now need to allow backed up traffic to pass them at the nearest available opportunity. When five or more vehicles have backed up behind a rider, they should pull over and allow the traffic to pass.
California bike laws are continuously evolving in an effort to improve road safety and to protect against injury. This year, we see adaptations to the law as a result of advancing technology, and the need to ensure a smooth flow of traffic. Take note the next time you go out to ride, and be safe out there.
If you do happen to have an accident or injury occur while riding, there are Orange County bicycle accident attorney’s, who are experts in California bike laws and can assist you in legal recourse if needed. Bike Legal is a law firm of legal advocates and cyclists who are dedicated to representing and protecting the rights of injured cyclists. If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact Bike Legal or call (800) 449-4850.