With the return of warmer temperatures, the California Highway Patrol remind motorists about the importance of sharing the road. As we begin to see an increase in the number of bicyclists traveling within the city limits and rural parts of the county, it is imperative all road users, including motorists and bicyclists, respect not only each other but the laws of the road. California currently has several laws in place to help prevent traffic collisions involving motor vehicles and bicyclists.
California law requires all motorists to provide at least three feet of clearance when passing a bicyclist on the road. When three feet is not possible, the driver of the motor vehicle shall slow to a reasonable speed and pass only when doing so would not endanger the safety of the bicyclist. Failure to obey this law can result in being issued a traffic citation.
Have you ever been stuck in traffic behind a bicyclist who refused to let vehicles pass? If so, know California has addressed this issue. As of 2016, the slow-moving vehicle statute was clarified to require any vehicle, including bicyclists, proceeding upon a highway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic, to pull off the roadway if it has five or more vehicles lined up behind it. Failing to comply with this law can also result in being issued a traffic citation.
Keep these tips in mind the next time you attempt to pass a bicyclist:
▪ Reduce your speed. Air currents caused by vehicles passing bicyclists at high speeds can push a bicyclist off of the road.
▪ Look for bicyclists at all times. Before entering a roadway or making a turn, look carefully in each direction for oncoming bicyclists.
▪ Give at least three feet of clearance. Not only is it the law, but sharing is caring. Always show common courtesy and respect to others.
Bicyclists, you share the same rights as motorists and are responsible for complying with all traffic laws. It is essential you take the proper precaution to ensure your ride does not end in disaster. The next time you head out for a ride, please keep these tips in mind.
▪ Always travel with the flow of traffic. Ride on the right side and in the same direction as the flow of traffic, never against it.
▪ Obey all traffic laws. Yield appropriately at intersections and obey all traffic control signs and signals.
▪ Be predictable. Ride in a straight line and never swerve in and out of traffic lanes, signal your moves at all times, so others know what to expect.
▪ Be visible. If you choose to ride at night, make sure you have a white headlight to the front and red lights or reflectors to the rear of the bicycle. Wearing reflective materials is also a great idea and will help others see you during darkness.
Unfortunately, traffic collisions involving motor vehicles and bicyclists occur far too often. The CHP will continue our enforcement efforts to ensure traffic laws are being followed, but we need your help. Staying safe and preventing these types of collisions is a team effort. If we work together, we can all enjoy this great weather.