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  1. #1
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    California Bicycle Laws

    Does anyone know a good site that is dedicated to California bicycle laws ?

    I don't want to read through the entire vehicle code but maybe someone can cite off hand a few questions I had

    # 1 - Lights. Does anyone know the ca codes for lights ? Is a rear light required ?

    # 2 - Sidewalks. Is there a state law prohibiting riding on sidewalks ? I have heard of some municipal laws.

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    http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/di...le=21200-21212
    Quote Originally Posted by CVC 21201
    (d) A bicycle operated during darkness upon a highway, a sidewalk where bicycle operation is not prohibited by the local jurisdiction, or a bikeway, as defined in Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code, shall be equipped with all of the following: (1) A lamp emitting a white light that, while the bicycle is in motion, illuminates the highway, sidewalk, or bikeway in front of the bicyclist and is visible from a distance of 300 feet in front and from the sides of the bicycle. (2) A red reflector on the rear that shall be visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful upper beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle. (3) A white or yellow reflector on each pedal, shoe, or ankle visible from the front and rear of the bicycle from a distance of 200 feet. (4) A white or yellow reflector on each side forward of the center of the bicycle, and a white or red reflector on each side to the rear of the center of the bicycle, except that bicycles that are equipped with reflectorized tires on the front and the rear need not be equipped with these side reflectors. The reflectors and reflectorized tires shall be of a type meeting requirements established by the department. (e) A lamp or lamp combination, emitting a white light, attached to the operator and visible from a distance of 300 feet in front and from the sides of the bicycle, may be used in lieu of the lamp required by paragraph (1) of subdivision (d).
    The bold answers your sidewalk question. The text explains the lighting/reflector requirements. Notice that you do not need a rear light, only a reflector, and that you do need several other reflectors (pedal, side).

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    Okay I read through the link you provided. It doesn't appear as though there is a state law against riding on the sidewalk. I'll have to check local cities now.

    I looked up my city and it allows riding on sidewalks....unless in a "business district". I cant find any definition or map of my cities "business district".
    Last edited by Nikon Rep; 12-15-13 at 12:35 AM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member GP's Avatar
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    Ask your planning department for a zone map.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Gallo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GP View Post
    Ask your planning department for a zone map.
    +1

    A light is required at night here in San Diego a rear light is not required but few commuters ride at night without one. I have rear blinky for decades and I rarely ride at night and do not commute.

    Riding on the side walk is generally unsafe and sometimes illegal. While this rule applies to children I would be suprised if ever enforced. If you ride at a normal adult speed you do not belong on the sidewalk.
    "Are you finished and satisfied with the thread up to this point? If so, if you don't mind, I'm inclined to close it now, the quality posts have dwindled - it's circling the bowl now." BillyD

    I can't climb and do not sprint well so I over compensate with bad form and lack of endurance

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  6. #6
    Senior Member curbtender's Avatar
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    You'll usually see signs posted in those area's.
    “At 50, everyone has the face he deserves.”
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    Please don't ride on the sidewalk unless you absolutely have to.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by GP View Post
    Ask your planning department for a zone map.
    I just watched a youtube video where a cyclist asks the Torrance police department for a map of the business district and they didn't have one and they didn't even know where it is

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikon Rep View Post
    I just watched a youtube video where a cyclist asks the Torrance police department for a map of the business district and they didn't have one and they didn't even know where it is
    The police department has nothing to do with planning.

    FYI:
    http://www.torranceca.gov/PDF/zoningmap(1).pdf

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elvo View Post
    The police department has nothing to do with planning.

    FYI:
    http://www.torranceca.gov/PDF/zoningmap(1).pdf
    The police are mostly reactive.

  11. #11
    Senior Member GP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikon Rep View Post
    I just watched a youtube video where a cyclist asks the Torrance police department for a map of the business district and they didn't have one and they didn't even know where it is
    Are you that angio guy that was here a few months ago?

  12. #12
    Senior Member Gallo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikon Rep View Post
    I just watched a youtube video where a cyclist asks the Torrance police department for a map of the business district and they didn't have one and they didn't even know where it is
    I was unaware that Police were supposed to provide maps. I think they are as well as the rest of us. Its your and the guy with the videos secret.
    "Are you finished and satisfied with the thread up to this point? If so, if you don't mind, I'm inclined to close it now, the quality posts have dwindled - it's circling the bowl now." BillyD

    I can't climb and do not sprint well so I over compensate with bad form and lack of endurance

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  13. #13
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikon Rep View Post
    # 1 - Lights. Does anyone know the ca codes for lights ? Is a rear light required ?
    Section 21201
    (d) A bicycle operated during darkness upon a highway, a sidewalk where bicycle operation is not prohibited by the local jurisdiction, or a bikeway, as defined in Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code, shall be equipped with all of the following:
    (1) A lamp emitting a white light that, while the bicycle is in motion, illuminates the highway, sidewalk, or bikeway in front of the bicyclist and is visible from a distance of 300 feet in front and from the sides of the bicycle.
    (2) A red reflector on the rear that shall be visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful upper beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle.
    (3) A white or yellow reflector on each pedal, shoe, or ankle visible from the front and rear of the bicycle from a distance of 200 feet.
    (4) A white or yellow reflector on each side forward of the center of the bicycle, and a white or red reflector on each side to the rear of the center of the bicycle, except that bicycles that are equipped with reflectorized tires on the front and the rear need not be equipped with these side reflectors. The reflectors and reflectorized tires shall be of a type meeting requirements established by the department.
    (e) A lamp or lamp combination, emitting a white light, attached to the operator and visible from a distance of 300 feet in front and from the sides of the bicycle, may be used in lieu of the lamp required by paragraph (1) of subdivision (d).
    http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/di...le=21200-21212

    Visit The C-Blog : the blog about cycling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elvo View Post
    The police department has nothing to do with planning.

    FYI:
    http://www.torranceca.gov/PDF/zoningmap(1).pdf
    But they are the one with the authority to write the tickets for it.

    How can police write tickets if they don't know the areas of the business district ?

    the map you linked to didn't mention any business districts.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gallo View Post
    I was unaware that Police were supposed to provide maps.
    Maybe not but they should at least know the laws they are tasked with enforcing.

    How am I supposed to know where the business district is if the law enforcement doesn't ?

  16. #16
    Senior Member Gallo's Avatar
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    Go to your local sub station and go to the customer service desk. Be nice and polite and show them the law that you found. ask them to explain the rules so you can abide by them.

    walking up to a cop on the street and asking them a question of an obscure rule in a law is not the way to go about it.

    There will probably be a when deemed safe clause which will give the officer the right to issue one anywhere.

    again riding on the sidewalk is generally not safe nor the best course of action as a cyclist. Like anything there are exceptions

    If you fear to ride on the streets maybe you should find a group to help you overcome that fear
    "Are you finished and satisfied with the thread up to this point? If so, if you don't mind, I'm inclined to close it now, the quality posts have dwindled - it's circling the bowl now." BillyD

    I can't climb and do not sprint well so I over compensate with bad form and lack of endurance

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  17. #17
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    what is this about having reflective pedals/legs ? this is required in addition to lights?

    (3) A white or yellow reflector on each pedal, shoe, or ankle visible from the front and rear of the bicycle from a distance of 200 feet.
    (4) A white or yellow reflector on each side forward of the center of the bicycle, and a white or red reflector on each side to the rear of the center of the bicycle, except that bicycles that are equipped with reflectorized tires on the front and the rear need not be equipped with these side reflectors. The reflectors and reflectorized tires shall be of a type meeting requirements established by the department.
    -Cat-3-o-meter: TBD :/

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ovoleg View Post
    what is this about having reflective pedals/legs ? this is required in addition to lights?
    It would appear so. Even road bikes typically come equipped with these stock (and are promptly removed by most.)

    I see very few casual cyclists complying with the law after dark. I seriously doubt most police officers even know the law on reflectors.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Gallo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ovoleg View Post
    what is this about having reflective pedals/legs ? this is required in addition to lights?
    it is the reflectors every new bike comes with and are taken off. These have been around since the seventies. While an officer could site every bike without them I have never heard of it. Our OP seems to want to ride on the sidewalk more than anything else. If you have a blinky and a headlight I doubt any officer would site you.
    "Are you finished and satisfied with the thread up to this point? If so, if you don't mind, I'm inclined to close it now, the quality posts have dwindled - it's circling the bowl now." BillyD

    I can't climb and do not sprint well so I over compensate with bad form and lack of endurance

    2008 Wilier Mortorolio - 2008 Stumpjumper Hardtail - 1986 Paramount

  20. #20
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ovoleg View Post
    what is this about having reflective pedals/legs ? this is required in addition to lights?
    Yep. I picked up a pair of reflector straps. Put 'em on my ankles when riding after dark. I'm a bit paranoid about drivers' abilities in the dark so took every precaution. Even have tires with reflective sidewalls and a jacket w/reflective clothing when it's cool.

    Visit The C-Blog : the blog about cycling.

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    I have noticed that much cycling clothes/equipment has reflective material that I don't even expect was built in. For instance my SIDI Megas and Mavic helmet have this quality. I think the reflective properties of the shoes as being extra effective as they are rotating.

  22. #22
    Pedal pusher... alicestrong's Avatar
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    May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

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    Only come across one or two beach cities in the south bay area that prohibits sidewalk riding, usually near the ocean where there is very little room for even peds to walk side-by-side but there is usually a bike lane provided in those areas. Its a safety issue with me whether or not to use the sidewalk or not and lowering my speed accordingly to cruising/jogging speed. Some streets are too narrow and car density/speeds too high at certain time periods for my comfort level.
    As far as night riding, many police depts will stop you now if only to warn you to add front and rear lights. Reflectors arent enough anyways. Wear a reflective safety vest (orange is best all around than the lime ones) if I am on an extended night ride or know I will be riding in the dark for more than an hour. Added custom/home made cut reflective tape on my helmet (on the crossmembers) so my visibility goes up because the pattern is unusual and drivers actually slow down and some hit their high beams to see what it is...lol. Amber reflectors are more effectively seen at distance than the red ones. Someone stole my rear red one and I used the white one I had laying around out back and that worked out wonderfully. Found one of those "bling auto letters" that fell off in the street and hung it from my saddle and that caught the attention of motorists because it sparkles like a diamond in light.
    As long as you arent riding crazy or blowing thru signals/stop signs, the police will generally leave you alone...night or day.

  24. #24
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    This is it. Go to that and copy onto Microsoft Word. From there you can do a word search and then limit it to what you want to know. Lights and sidewalk.

    Here's the link to the table of contents: http://dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/vc/tocd11c1a4.htm

    Division 11 - Rules of the Road
    Chapter 1. Obedience to and Effect of Traffic Laws
    Article 4. Operation of Bicycles

    Table of Contents for Article 4 of Chapter 1 of Division 11 of the California Vehicle Code
    Section Number Section Title
    21200 Laws Applicable to Bicycle Use: Peace Officer Exemption
    21200.5 Riding Bicycle Under Influence of Alcohol
    21201 Equipment Requirements
    21201.3 Bicycle or Motorized Bicycle Lights
    21201.5 Reflectorized Equipment
    21202 Operation on Roadway
    21203 Hitching Rides
    21204 Riding on Bicycles
    21205 Carrying Articles
    21206 Local Regulation
    21207 Bicycle Regulation
    21207.5 Motorized Bicycles: Prohibited Operation
    21208 Permitted Movements from Bicycle Lanes
    21209 Motor Vehicles and Motorized Bicycles in Bicycle Lanes
    21210 Bicycle Parking
    21211 Obstruction of Bikeways or Bicycle Paths or Trails
    21212 Youth Bicycle Helmets: Minors

  25. #25
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    While not absolutely required, I will not ride at nigh without a tail light. There are very rare instances where I will ride on a sidewalk.
    Freedom is free. It's included in democracy. Democracy is hard. It involves dealing rationally with people you disagree with.

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