May is National Bike Month! Bicycling has become increasingly popular, both as a low-cost method of transportation and as a healthy and fun hobby. However, like most activities, cycling carries risks. PARRIS was inspired by National Bike Month to put together this refresher on bicycle safety and laws for our bicyclists.
Check Your Bicycle Equipment
Before getting on your bicycle, it’s always a good idea to check to ensure that all of its parts are secure and working properly. Here’s a handy checklist from the League of American Bicyclists on quickly checking your bicycle equipment.
Wear Appropriate Bicycling Gear
Wearing a helmet is of utmost importance for both adults and children. Here are guidelines from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on properly fitting a bike helmet to the size of your head.
It’s also recommended that you wear bright or fluorescent clothing at any time of day while riding a bike to ensure that those around you can easily see you. For those riding their bicycles at night, the California Vehicle Code requires night riders to wear a white headlight on themselves or their bike and have reflectors visible from both the front and back of the bicycle.
Know California Bicycle Laws
Bicyclists in California are governed by the California Vehicle Code, which means that bicyclists must follow the same laws as cars and other motor vehicles around them and obey the same traffic signals and signs. It also means that bicycle riders have the same legal standing as drivers to file lawsuits to seek recovery for injuries sustained as a result of the negligence of others. Here’s a reference summary from LADOT on the California Vehicle Code sections that apply to bicyclists.
The City of Los Angeles has also enacted additional protections for bicyclists by passing the Bicyclist Anti-Harassment Ordinance, which prohibits others from threatening, assaulting, or intentionally distracting bicyclists, and provides additional damages for such violations. Other cities have implemented such bicyclist anti-harassment ordinances as well.
Call PARRIS Bicycle Accident Lawyers
According to Injury Facts, the number of preventable deaths from bicycle incidents increased 29% from 793 in 2010 to 1,024 in 2017. Fortunately, during the same time period, non-fatal bicycle accident injuries declined by 36%, and we hope that increasing bicycle safety awareness will continue that trend.