Traffic Laws for Bicyclists in San Jose

Traffic Laws for Bicyclists in San Jose

Just because bicycles are not motorized does not mean bicyclists can ignore the rules of the road. As more people choose bikes as their means of transportation, San Jose continues to see an uptick in bicycle accidents.

California enforces traffic laws for all types of vehicles to make the roads safer for everyone. Unfortunately, even if you have fitted your bike with the proper lights and reflectors and know to wear a helmet, accidents can still happen, which bicycle accident attorneys know all too well. Equipping yourself with additional knowledge about road rules could help you avoid collisions with other vehicles. Before you take a ride, take the time to learn traffic laws for bicyclists in San Jose.

The Vehicle Code Includes Bicyclists

California’s Vehicle Code explains how bicyclists must conduct themselves on the road. According to VEH 21200, bicyclists have the same rights and duties as motorists. For instance, the law forbids motorists and bicyclists from using the roadways under the influence of drugs or alcohol, so hopping on a bike after barhopping will not save a bicyclist from a ticket.

Bicyclists who can match surrounding motorists’ speed can ride in the roadway or closer to the curb if they are not impeding the traffic flow. Bicyclists traveling slower than traffic should stay as far to the right as they can. Exceptions to this rule include when a bicyclist is passing a car or another bicyclist, avoiding a road hazard, preparing to turn left, or if the far right of the road becomes a right turn lane only. Other road rules for bicyclists in San Jose include:

  • Mandatory use of a bike lane if the road includes one and the bicyclist is traveling slower than traffic
  • Riding in the same direction as traffic with exceptions
  • Gas and electric bikes that can travel up to 28 mph are not allowed on bike paths or trails, and generally bike lanes
  • Type 1 and 2 electric bikes that cannot travel more than 20 mph are permitted wherever standard bikes are allowed unless local restrictions state otherwise
  • Generally, bicyclists cannot ride on expressways and freeways
  • With a few exceptions by the California Department of Transportation, bicyclists cannot cross toll bridges
  • All bicyclists and passengers under 18 must wear an authorized helmet on public roads and paths
  • No bicyclist can stop or park on a bike path

San Jose also forbids bicyclists from riding on the sidewalk except on San Fernando Street and 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th streets, and in Willow Glen on Lincoln Avenue because these areas have designated bikeways. Bicyclists can consult a well-versed personal injury attorney to learn more about their local traffic laws.

Compensation After a Bicycle Accident

Bicyclists hit by negligent motorists may be entitled to compensation. However, defendants and their insurers will often try to reduce awards by accusing bicyclists of contributing to their injuries. A common argument insurance companies and defense counsels use is that a bicyclist was not following traffic rules at the time of the accident.

State law allows bicyclists to receive compensation for accident-related injuries even if they were partially at fault for the crash. However, the compensation award can be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to the bicyclist, which is decided by the court. A San Jose attorney could further explain how traffic laws play into the assignment of fault in a bicycle accident case.

Let a San Jose Attorney Explain the Important Traffic Rules for Bicyclists

As a bicyclist, you have the same right to be on the road as any motor vehicle. However, you also have a responsibility to follow the rules of the road and ride with care. If a negligent motorist causes an accident, your chances of achieving significant compensation are greater if you follow the law.

Familiarize yourself with laws that will make your bicycle ride safer for you and others. When an accident occurs, consult a knowledgeable attorney right away. At Solution Now Law Firm, we assign a team of experts to every case who could evaluate how traffic laws for bicyclists in San Jose impact your accident claim. Call us now to learn more.

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