Not only does using a bicycle mean decrease the carbon footprint you leave during your daily commute, most people find that riding a bike is often an easier and faster way to commute in Los Angeles. As a cyclist, there are a few rules you should be aware of before you jump on your bike and start pedaling to work.
1. Drivers have to respect your right to be on the road
You have just as much right to bike to work as motorist have to drive to work. According to the AB-1371-California Statutes, which was passed into law n September 2013, drivers are required to maintain a safe distance between their car and a bicyclist when they pass the person on a bicycle. The distance must be a minimum of 3 feet between the bike and the car. The one exception to this is if the car driver slows down and take extra precautions to make sure not to hit the biker.
2. You must follow the flow of traffic
Bicyclists are not allowed to ride against the flow of traffic. While going against the flow of traffic might be the fastest way for you to get to your destination, it also increases the risk of you getting seriously hurt in a car/bike accident.
In addition to being required to go with the flow of the traffic, cyclists are also required to stick to the right side of the road. There are exceptions to this rule such as making a left turn, riding on a narrow road or a one-way street, or if the road is under construction.
3. Car drivers are responsible for car doors
One of the most common accidents between drivers and cyclists is accidents involving car doors. LA lawmakers passed Cal. Vehicle Code 22517, which requires the driver and other occupants in the car to look and confirm that there aren’t any cyclist close by before they open the doors. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t look where you’re going, if you’re far back when the car door opens and you crash into it because you weren’t paying attention, you’ll be the one the police consider responsible for the accident.
4. Don’t drink and cycle
Don’t assume that just because you’re riding a bike rather than driving a vehicle, that you don’t have to worry about how much you drink when you’re out on the town. You do. Cal. Vehicle Code 23152 states that when used for commuting, a bicycle is a vehicle, which means that if an LAPD officer pulls you over, they can arrest you and charge you with a DUI.
When you and the drivers in Los Angeles watch out for one another and obey the traffic laws, you’ll find that there’s plenty of room on the streets for everyone.