As California’s fifth most populous city, Fresno has many different activities for everyone to enjoy. Its placement in the heart of California’s San Joaquin Valley makes the city and county a hub for bicyclists, with the city offering numerous roads and lanes and the county–Fresno County is the only metropolitan area in the state centered within three national parks–offering trails and paths that will test the most experienced cyclists.
With such opportunities, many bicycle riders view Fresno as a hub for all of their cycling plans. As such, the city, county, and state lawmakers that govern Fresno have made several key pieces of legislation that direct and administer bicycling.
Knowledgeable Fresno Bicycle Accident Lawyers Can Help You
Even with laws in place to oversee bicycling, accidents can still happen in Fresno. After all, just because laws are in place doesn’t mean everyone will follow them. But having knowledge of the law is only one part of the equation, the other is knowing the steps to take if you have your rights violated.
If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident or would just like to learn more about your rights under the law as a bicyclist in Fresno, contact us for a free consultation.
What Are the Bicycle Laws in Fresno?
Like all bicyclists in California, Fresno’s laws and regulations regarding bicycles come from the California Vehicle Code (CVC). The CVC not only defines what is considered a bicycle, but also summarizes the major laws that regulate bicycle use, safety and protections in the event of an accident. Specifically, the Code denotes the following:
- CVC 237 – This law defines a bicycle as a device that any person may ride, and is propelled exclusively by human power through a belt, chain, or gears and having one or more wheels.
- CVC 21200 – Under this law, all bicyclists in Fresno (and the rest of the state) have the same rights and responsibilities as any other driver on the road.
- CVC 21200.5 – Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is prohibited by this law.
- CVC 21202 and 21204 – All bicycles in Fresno must be equipped with the following:
- A brake that allows them to execute to a wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement.
- Handlebars that are not higher than your shoulders.
- Bicycles must be small enough to stop, support with one foot on the ground, and restart safely.
- A white headlight or white light attached to you and that’s visible from the front when driving at night.
- A rear red reflector and white or yellow pedal reflectors. On the front of your bike, there must be a white or yellow reflector that’s visible from the side, and a red or white reflector on the rear of the bicycle visible from the side.
- A permanent, regular seat.
- A seat which retains them in place and protects them from moving parts when the bicyclist is under 40lbs.
- CVC 21202 – All bicyclists in Fresno must ride as close to the right side of the road as possible except when passing, preparing for a left turn, trying to avoid hazards, or if the lane is too narrow.
- CVC 21203 – Bicyclists in Fresno are prohibited from hitching a ride (i.e. being pulled along) on the rear of another vehicle.
- CVC 21204 – Bicyclists that are riding on the freeway in Fresno must do so on a bicycle with a permanently attached seat, and have no passengers unless on a separate attached seat. If the passenger is four years old or younger or weighs 40 pounds or less, the seat must have a proper restraining device that protects them from the bicycle’s moving parts.
- CVC 21205 – When riding your bicycle in Fresno, by law you must have one hand on the handlebars at all times. It is therefore illegal to carry anything that prevents you from keeping at least one hand on your handlebars.
- CVC 21207.5 – Motorized bicycles can’t be used on bike lanes, paths, or other trailways. This doesn’t include electric bicycles, or e-bikes, which do not meet the requirements to be considered a motorized bicycle.
- CVC 21208 – Bicyclists that are traveling slower than traffic must use bike lanes except when: making a left turn, trying to pass a slower or stopped vehicle, or avoiding hazardous conditions.
- CVC 21210 – Bicycles may not be left on their side on a sidewalk, or otherwise parked anywhere that obstructs the flow of pedestrian traffic.
- CVC 21211 – No one is legally allowed to stop or park their bicycle on a bike path or lane.
- CVC 21212 – All bicyclists and passengers under age 18 must wear an ANSI or Snell approved helmet when a passenger or riding a bicycle. Violations carry a fine of up to $25.
- CVC 21650 – When riding on your bicycle on a major road or highway, you must travel on the right side of the road, preferably on the shoulder, in the same direction as other traffic.
- CVC 21960 – Local and state authorities may prohibit or restrict the use of bicycles on highways. Such regulations will go into effect when appropriate signs are put up on the highway itself, as well as the approaching roadways that lead onto the highway.
- CVC 23330 – Unless there is a sign stating otherwise, bicycles are not allowed on toll bridges.
- CVC 27400 – All bicyclists in Fresno are not allowed to wear headphones that cover both ears, ear plugs, or ear buds unless these devices are used as hearing aids.
Additionally, many communities have local ordinances regarding the use of bicycles. Check with your local police department regarding these regulations in your area.
What Are Some Ways To Keep Safe While Riding Your Bike in Fresno?
Even with these laws in place in Fresno, your safety is not guaranteed on a bicycle. Thus, there are a wide range of different actions you can take, along with equipment you can use to keep yourself safe while riding your bike in the city or surrounding county:
- Learn the various rules of the road, especially right of way and how the law applies to you specifically while riding your bike.
- Make sure to always be aware of other drivers’ blind spots. The blind spot is probably the most common factor of a bicycle accident, since It’s very difficult for drivers to stay aware of bicyclists out on the road. When riding your bike around a lot of cars, it’s best to either draw attention to yourself as best you can or stay out of blind spots altogether.
- Never ride too close to parked cars, if you can avoid it. This is especially true if you see that there are passengers waiting to get out of the car. Riding too close in these situations could lead to dooring accidents.
- Wear reflective clothing or accessories to increase your visibility for both drivers and other bicyclists. You can also opt for fluorescent clothing and or other lights that attach to both you and your bike.
- Use a headlight at all times for better visibility.
- If you see a pothole or other hazard, notify the city’s Public Works Department or Caltrans.
- Stay alert for drivers or other cyclists acting negligently or aggressively. Try to avoid them and alert authorities.
- Never wear headphones or use your phone while riding your bike.
Following these safety tips is a great way to make sure riding your bike in Fresno remains an enjoyable experience, but your safety is also dependent on others acting in the same way. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen in Fresno. However, with our team of bicycle accident lawyers, we can handle any claim or situation you may find yourself in.
Knowledgeable Bicycle Accident Lawyers Serving Fresno
At Maison Law, we can provide you with a full range of legal services regarding a bicycle accident in Fresno. Our team of experienced and knowledgeable Fresno bicycle accident lawyers can not only help you fully understand your rights under the law, but how to file a claim to get the support and compensation you need to recover from any injuries.
Our number one priority is client satisfaction, and we can make sure that your focus stays on your health and recovery. Contact us for a free consultation to learn more.