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The Rights and Duties of Orange County Bicyclists

By Hess & Nghiem on September 20, 2021

Bicyclists are fully aware of the great risks they take whenever they head out on Orange County roads. Passenger vehicle and truck drivers are generally dismissive of bicyclists and can put riders in serious danger when they act negligently. Bicyclists may ride defensively, obey local biking laws, and always wear their helmets, yet they are always at the mercy of other drivers. When an accident occurs, it is important for bicyclists to understand their legal rights in California, as well as the responsibilities they have.

Rights of Bicyclists

While California law does designate bicyclists as a separate group, the state also awards riders the exact same rights as motor vehicle drivers, according to California Vehicle Code 21000. When a bicyclist is on the road, he or she is granted the:

  • Right to ride on public roads (except for toll roads and freeways)
  • Right to remain in his or her lane unobstructed
  • Right to ride in a single lane or a protected bike lane
  • Right of way at intersections
  • Right to compensation in an auto accident

These are only some of the rights awarded to bicyclists in California, and local laws throughout Orange County may make minor adjustments. These can include allowing bicyclists to ride on sidewalks so long as bicyclists do not put pedestrians in danger.

Being a Responsible Bicyclist

In addition to having the same rights as vehicle operators, bicyclists must also uphold the same responsibilities. This includes obeying all the rules of the road, including DUI laws (or biking while intoxicated), speeding, and safe conduct. Bicyclists must also abide by certain rules, including:

  • Bicyclists who are under the age of 18 must wear helmets.
  • Bicyclists must use hand signals when they stop or change lanes.
  • Bicyclists cannot weave between lanes.
  • Bicyclists must ride with the flow of traffic.
  • Bicyclists must maintain a safe speed with nearby traffic and obey speed limits.
  • Bicyclists cannot ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

These laws are designed to keep everyone on the road safe — drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Anytime bicyclists head out on the road, they should not only remember their rights, but also their responsibilities.

What Happens When a Driver Ignores Your Rights

Bicyclists are the least protected group on the road, often bearing the brunt of poor road designs, rough weather, and careless drivers. Try as they might to protect themselves, they cannot control other people’s behavior and are often put in harm’s way when around careless drivers. If a driver does ignore your right of way and injures you in a bicycle accident, then you should always exercise your right to recover compensation in a personal injury claim.

At HN Injury Attorneys, our legal team believes in standing up for injured bicyclists throughout Orange County. We have seen firsthand how devastating these accidents can be and know the costs that bicyclists have to bear due to negligent drivers. If you or someone you love was injured in a bicycle accident caused by a negligent driver, then our Santa Ana personal injury attorneys will fight to get you compensation for your injuries. We have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for injured clients and will give your case the same time and attention. Call us today at (657) 333-5726 for a free case evaluation.

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