FAQs

On Your Bike

Off Your Bike

 

On Your Bike

What are my rights when riding on the street?

  • Ride on the Street – You have a right to ride on the street. You are NOT required to ride on the sidewalk. For the most part, bicycle riders have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicle drivers. CVC 21200
    • Exception: Freeways and some bridges may have signs posted forbidding bicyclists.
  • Take the Lane – If a travel lane is too narrow to safely share side by side with a motor vehicle, you can prevent unsafe passing by riding near the center of the lane.  The law says that people who ride bikes must ride as close to the right side of the road as practicable except under the following conditions: when passing, preparing for a left turn, avoiding hazards, if the lane is too narrow to share, or if approaching a place where a right turn is authorized. On two-lane roads where it’s illegal or unsafe to pass, you must turn off the roadway at a designated or safe location to allow a line of 5 or more vehicles behind you to pass. CVC 21202 (a)(3), CVC 21656
  • Obey All Signs, Street Markings, and Signals – Bicycle riders must obey the same rules as vehicle drivers. This includes stopping at red lights and stop signs. CVC 21200
  • Look and Yield Before You Go – You must yield to traffic before entering the roadway. CVC 21804
  • Ride With Traffic, Not Against It – You must ride on the right half of the roadway, with the flow of traffic. CVC 21650
    • Exception: you can ride on either the left or right side of one-way streets.
  • Ride Outside the Door Zone – It’s the responsibility of motor vehicle drivers to make sure it’s clear before opening a door. Despite this, a practical guide is to ride at least 3 feet from parked cars. CVC 22517
  • Ride to the Right, But Within Limits – When riding slower than the normal speed of traffic, you are required to ride as far right as “practicable” (meaning safe). You are not required to ride as far right as possible, which may not be safe. You are allowed, but not required, to ride on the shoulder. CVC 21202, CVC 21650, CVC 21650.1
  • Signal and Yield When Moving Left or Right – Use hand signals to indicate when you are turning, changing lanes, or stopping. Move left or right only when it’s clear to do so. CVC 22107, CVC 22111
  • Use the Bike Lane, But Leave It When Needed – When riding slower than the normal speed of traffic, you must ride in the bike lane in the same direction as adjacent traffic. You can leave the bike lane to pass another bicyclist or a vehicle blocking the lane, to make a left turn, to avoid debris or hazards, or where a right-turning vehicle might cut you off. You must check before leaving the bike lane to make sure it can be done with “reasonable safety.” CVC 21208
  • Click here for a round-up of all California Bicycle Laws from CalBike

What are the rules for riding with pedestrians?

Pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks (marked or unmarked) and on sidewalks. Bicyclists are also required to “exercise due care” for the safety of pedestrians in the roadway who are not in a crosswalk. CVC 21950, CVC 21952, CVC 21954.


When can I take the lane on my bike?

If a travel lane is too narrow to safely share side by side with a motor vehicle, you can prevent unsafe passing by riding near the center of the lane. On two-lane roads where it’s illegal or unsafe to pass, you must turn off the roadway at a designated or safe location to allow a line of 5 or more vehicles behind you to pass. CVC 21202 (a)(3), CVC 21656


Am I allowed to ride my bike on the sidewalk?

Each city in California has its own rules about riding a bicycle on the sidewalk. Some cities allow sidewalk riding, some don’t. Check your city’s municipal code here. CVC 21206


What are the rules for who can stop in a bike lane?

No person may stop, stand, sit, or loiter upon any class I bikeway, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code, or any other public or private bicycle path or trail, if the stopping, standing, sitting, or loitering impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist.

(b) No person may place or park any bicycle, vehicle, or any other object upon any bikeway or bicycle path or trail, as specified in subdivision (a), which impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist unless the placement or parking is necessary for safe operation or is otherwise in compliance with the law.

(c) This section does not apply to drivers or owners of utility or public utility vehicles, as provided in Section 22512.

(d) This section does not apply to owners or drivers of vehicles who make brief stops while engaged in the delivery of newspapers to customers along the person’s route.

(e) This section does not apply to the driver or owner of a rubbish or garbage truck while actually engaged in the collection of rubbish or garbage within a business or residence district if the front turn signal lamps at each side of the vehicle are being flashed simultaneously and the rear turn signal lamps at each side of the vehicle are being flashed simultaneously.

(f) This section does not apply to the driver or owner of a tow vehicle while actually engaged in the towing of a vehicle if the front turn signal lamps at each side of the vehicle are being flashed simultaneously and the rear turn signal lamps at each side of the vehicle are being flashed simultaneously. CVC 21211 (1)(4)


What can I do if somebody is blocking me in the bike lane?

You can leave the bike lane to pass another bicyclist or a vehicle blocking the lane, to make a left turn, to avoid debris or hazards, or where a right-turning vehicle might cut you off. You must check before leaving the bike lane to make sure it can be done with “reasonable safety.” CVC 21208

You can call LADOT at (213) 485-4184 or (818)374-4823 to report what is blocking you.

Then, you can fill out this form in as much detail as possible to help the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition gather data on what’s blocking Angelenos while riding in the bike lane.


Where can I use an e-bike in LA County?

Mopeds and high-speed electric bikes are not like regular bikes. Gas-powered bicycles and type 3 electric bicycles (with top assisted speeds of 28 mph) may not be used on trails or bike paths or lanes unless allowed by local authorities. They may be used in bike lanes or separated bikeways adjacent to the roadway. CVC 21207.5  They require helmets and may not be operated by people under age 16.

Low-speed electric bicycles are almost like regular bikes. Type 1 and 2 electric bicycles (with top assisted speeds of 20 mph) are allowed wherever regular bikes are allowed unless a sign specifically prohibits electric bicycles.

Click here (external link) for all e-bike laws in California.


What equipment is legally required to ride my bike?

  • Helmets: Bicyclists and bicycle passengers under age 18 must wear an approved helmet when riding on a bicycle. CVC 21212
  • Brakes: Bicycles must be equipped with a brake that allows an operator to execute a one-braked-wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement. CVC 21201(a)
  • Handlebars: Handlebars must not be higher than the rider’s shoulders. CVC 21201(b)
  • Bicycle size: Bicycles must be small enough for the rider to stop, support it with one foot on the ground, and start safely. CVC 21201(c)
  • Lights at Night: At night a white headlight visible from the front must be attached to the bicycle or the bicyclist if riding when it’s dark. CVC 21201(d) and CVC 21201(e)
  • Reflectors: At night bicycles must have the following reflectors:
    • Visible from the back: red reflector. You may attach a solid or flashing red rear light in addition to the reflector.
    • Visible from the front & back: white or yellow reflector on each pedal or on the bicyclist’s shoes or ankles
    • Visible from the side: 1) white or yellow reflector on the front half of the bicycle and 2) a red or white reflector on each side of the back half of the bike. These reflectors are not required if the bike has reflectorized front and back tires. CVC 21201(d)
  • Seats: All riders must have a permanent, regular seat, unless the bicycle is designed by the manufacturer to be ridden without a seat. Bicycle passengers weighing less than 40 lbs. must have a seat which retains them in place and protects them from moving parts. CVC 21204

How do I safely ride in the rain?

Click here for some tips on riding safely in the rain.


How do I fit a helmet correctly?

Click here (external link) for information on choosing and fitting the right bike helmet.


How can I ride safely with children?

If you’re just starting out riding as a family, here is a list of our articles highlighting how to get started and many stories about riding for all ages:


Where can I find bike maps of LA County?


Off your bike


What are the rules around taking my bike on transit?

Click here for information on taking your bike on buses and trains.


Where can I fix my own bike in LA?

Click here for a list of bike co-ops in LA.


Where can I rent a bike in LA?

Click here for a list of places to rent a bike in LA.


How should I lock my bike?

Click here for information on how to properly lock your bike.


What can I do to protect my bike from theft?

  • Record Your Serial Number: Every bike comes with a serial number that is unique to that bike, which can be located on the bottom of the bottom bracket. Be sure to record this number and save it in a safe place.
  • Register Your Bike: You can use a bike registry like Bike Index to register your bike, making it easier to identify and prove ownership if the bike is recovered.
  • Take Photos: Take photos of your bike, including some with you in the photo, to back up the claim that you are the bike’s rightful owner in case it is recovered.

What do I do if my bike is stolen?

Click here (external link) for information on what to do before, during, and after your bike is stolen.


What do I do if I get a ticket on my bike?

Click here for information on what to do if you get a ticket while on your bicycle.


What do I do if somebody almost hits me while I’m riding my bike?

Phew. We’re glad you’re okay. You can add the vehicle’s license plate information to the national close call database, here.


What do I do if I get in a crash?

Click here for information on what to do if you get in a crash while on your bicycle.


What do I do if a loved one is killed in a crash?

Click here for resources to help if your loved one is killed in a traffic crash.


How can I contact my councilmember to advocate for safer streets in my area?

Click here for information on how to directly contact your Councilmember.


How can I contact LADOT to request a street repair?

If your request regards a broken traffic signal, a missing/faded/defaced sign, a faded curb, or faded striping in a roadway, you can request a repair from LADOT’s MyLADOT page. Click the “I WANT TO…” button in the top left corner and select “Submit New Request”, then fill out the form to request a repair.

To report a sidewalk problem, a pothole, or request street sweeping or maintenance, visit the City of LA’s 3-1-1 website, click on “Create Service Request” and select “Street Problem/Repair”. Select the appropriate choice from the list of options, click “Next”, and fill out the form that follows.

To request a repair outside of the City of Los Angeles, search for “Request street repair + [city name] + department of transportation”

Quick Links:


How do I get involved in my neighborhood council?

Within the City of Los Angeles, Neighborhood Councils are city-certified local groups made up of people who live, work, own property or have some other connection to a neighborhood. Neighborhood Council board members are elected or selected to their positions by the neighborhoods themselves. Representatives from Neighborhood Councils receive advance notice of issues and projects that are important to them and their neighborhoods so they can understand, discuss them, and voice the opinions of the neighborhood to the City before final decisions are made.

To learn more about your neighborhood council, visit EmpowerLA’s page on neighborhood councils to find out which council represents you, when and where they meet, and learn the rules which govern each council.


How do I request a bike rack be installed?

Click here (external link) for information on how to request a bike rack from LADOT.


How do I request a bike corral be installed outside my business?

Bicycle Corrals are part of LADOT’s toolkit to achieve Great Streets for Los Angeles. A Bicycle Corral is an on-street bicycle parking facility that can accommodate many more bicycles than a typical sidewalk rack.  They are especially useful in areas with narrow sidewalks or areas that attract a large number of people walking, where it would be impractical or obstructive to install a sidewalk rack.

The LADOT Bicycle Corrals replace one auto parking space and are installed in the vehicular right-of-way along the curb. Corrals typically occupy 20 feet (an area equivalent to a single-vehicle parking space) with enough space for up to 14 people on bicycles! Click here to apply.


Do you have recommendations for attorneys that focus on bike crashes?

Click here for a listing of attorneys that specialize in bike crashes.