California Motor Vehicle Code 21200
Rights & Duties of Bicycle Riders
The rights and duties of bicycle riders are clearly stated under California law and were written with the intention of keeping bicycle riders safe while sharing the roads with cars and other motorized vehicles. Section 21200 of the California Vehicle Code specifically states that bike riders have the same rights and responsibilities as car drivers, with certain exceptions.
Some of the responsibilities that are shared between bike riders and car owners are the duty to operate the bicycle in a safe manner. Riders should wear helmets and obey all traffic signs and signals. Also, all bike riders must operate their bicycle with due regard for the safety of all persons using the highway. They must also have functioning white headlights and red tail lights or blinkers on the bicycle when riding after dark. The handlebars must be in a comfortable position that does not require the rider to hold his or her hands above their heads, and at least one brake must work and be easy for the rider to use.
Similar to car drivers, bicycle riders can be ticketed for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Anyone caught biking under the influence will be charged with a DUI and receive a fine of up to $250 for each offense. Sections 21202 and 21208 list more duties and obligations that all bicycle riders must follow when riding on public streets.