Codes, Laws and Regulations for Bicyclists
This page is provided to help bicyclists understand how to ride safely and legally on public roads, parking, and on bikeways and law within the State of California and the City of Los Angeles. Please click on the links below to find the actual laws regarding bicycling.
For a quick review of the laws regarding Bicycling in California and the City, please see the California Vehicle Code and Los Angeles Municipal Code summary listed below.
California Vehicle Code (CVC) Bicycle Reference Summary
Bicyclist Rights (CVC 21200)
Bicyclists have all the rights and responsibilities of vehicle drivers.
Alcohol and Drugs (CVC 21200.5)
It is against the law to ride a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Equipment (CVC 21201 and 21204)
Bicycles must be equipped with at least a brake which allows operators to execute to a wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement. Handlebars must not be higher than the rider’s shoulders. Bicycles must be small enough for the rider to stop, support it with one foot on the ground, and restart safely. At night, bicycles must be equipped with a white headlight or white light attached to the rider and visible from the front. Bicycles must also have a rear red reflector and white or yellow pedal reflectors. There must be a white or yellow reflector on the front of the bicycle visible from the side, and a red or white reflector on the rear of the bicycle visible from the side. All riders must have a permanent, regular seat. Bicycle passengers less than 40 lbs. must have a seat which retains them in place and protects them from moving parts.
Use of the Roadway (CVC 21202)
Bicycles traveling slower than the normal speed of traffic must ride as close to the right side of the road as practicable except: when passing, preparing for a left turn, to avoid hazards and dangerous conditions or if the lane is too narrow.
Bicycle Path Crossing (CVC 231.6)
A “bicycle path crossing” is the prolongation or connection of the boundary lines of a bike path where the intersecting roadways meet at approximately right angles. Or any portion of a roadway distinctly indicated for bicycle crossing by lines or other markings on the street surface.
Hitching Rides (CVC 21203)
Bicyclists may not hitch rides on vehicles.
Carrying Articles (CVC 21205)
Bicyclists may not carry items which keep them from using at least one hand upon the handlebars.
Motorized Bicycles (CVC 21207.5)
Motorized bicycles may not be used on bike paths or trails, bike lanes, or other bikeways.
Bicycle Lane Use (CVC 21208)
Bicyclists traveling slower than traffic must use bike lanes except when making a left turn, passing, or avoiding hazardous conditions.
Obstruction of Pedestrians (CVC 21210)
Bicyclists may not leave bicycles on their sides on the sidewalk or park bicycles in a manner which obstructs pedestrians.
Bikeway Obstruction (CVC 21211)
No one may stop on or park a bicycle on a bicycle path.
Helmets (CVC 21212)
Bicyclists and passengers under age 18 must wear an approved helmet when on a bicycle.
Direction of Travel (CVC 21650)
Bicyclists must travel on the right side of the roadway in the direction of traffic.
3-Feet for Safety Act (CVC 21760)
When passing a bicyclist, drivers of motor vehicles must provide bicyclists with a three feet buffer between their motor vehicle and the bicyclist. If roadway conditions do not allow for a three feet buffer, the driver must slow down when passing a bicyclist.
Toll Bridges (CVC 23330)
Bicyclists may not cross a toll bridge unless permitted by signs.
Head Phones (CVC 27400)
Bicyclists may not wear earplugs in both ears or a headset covering both ears, except hearing aids.