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Biking Laws in San Jose – How to Stay Safe if You Commute to Work on Your Bike

Biking is one of the most popular ways to commute in California. It provides a bit of exercise and helps the environment, plus the weather is almost always favorable. Unfortunately, bicyclists in San Jose too often have to risk their safety to get to work by bike. Distracted and negligent drivers caused many of the accidents that injured and killed 357 bicyclists in San Jose in 2015, but there were some that bicyclists could have prevented. If you have experienced a personal injury while riding your bike in the Bay Area, our San Jose personal injury attorneys can help. Obey these state and local biking laws to increase your safety..

California Statewide Biking Laws

The California Vehicle Code contains laws that specify how bicyclists must act on the roadways. CVC Section 21200 states that, for the most part, bicyclists must obey all the same rules and regulations as drivers. If you ride your bike in California, you must follow all traffic signals and laws as you would if you were behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. This includes:

In addition, there are bicycle-specific laws for the state of California. These include staying as far to the right lane and the right side of the road as possible, except when making left turns or avoiding debris. Bicyclists may ride two abreast of one another, but may not ride next to cars in the same lane. If there is a bicycle lane available, bicyclists must use this lane instead of the roadway. Most cities prohibit riding on sidewalks, but in San Jose there is only a partial ban.

Bicycle Laws Specific to San Jose

Like all cities in California, San Jose has the right to enact city-specific traffic laws. Until recently, bicyclists were allowed on all sidewalks in the city of San Jose. In 2014, however, the City Council ruled that bicyclists posed a threat to seniors and other pedestrians on certain bustling streets in downtown San Jose. Bicyclists cannot ride on the sidewalks in the downtown areas of First through Fourth Streets, as well as the downtown parts of San Fernando Street and Santa Clara Street.

As is the case throughout California, all bikers under the age of 18 must wear helmets. If you’re over the age of 18, wearing a helmet is not mandatory – however, it’s always a good idea if you want to stay safe on your commute. Helmets are the most effective way to prevent head injuries in bicycle accidents.

Tips to Stay Safe on Your Bicycle

Obeying the law is more than half the battle when it comes to a safe commute in San Jose. Sticking to traffic rules will help you be more predictable to other drivers, decreasing your risk of a collision with a car. Increase your visibility by wearing brightly-colored clothing or reflective vests. Keep a white light on the front of your bike and a red reflector on the rear, and maintain your bicycle regularly for safe cycling.

If you or a loved one was involved in a bicycle accident, the San Jose bike accident attorneys at Henshaw & Henry, PC can help. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation with our injury lawyers today to learn more.