Biking is a fun way to get around in California, but you need to know the laws to stay safe. For example, you know that you have a right to be on the roads, but how fast do you need to go? Do you have to ride in a bike lane?
When you’re riding your bike, you can ride anywhere you want as long as you can keep up with traffic. If you can’t, then you shouldn’t be in the center of the lane but instead as far to the right in the lane as possible. You don’t need to share your lane if it is too narrow to allow someone to pass, if you’re approaching somewhere a right turn is allowed, if you’re preparing for a left-hand turn or if you’re avoiding hazards.
If you have the option, it’s a good idea to use a bicycle lane. On a road with a bike lane, you can travel at any speed so long as you remain in your own lane. If you’re traveling as fast or faster than traffic, you can take the main lane in the road and stay out of the bike lane if you prefer. Drivers need to make sure they give you space, too, regardless of the lane you’re in, so if you are struck by a car or truck, you do have a right to file a claim.
Interestingly, although there are some bikes that travel at low speeds thanks to electric or gasoline-powered engines, these still tend to qualify as bicycles. Mopeds or bikes that travel at high speeds over 28 mph cannot use trails or bike paths. They can use bike lanes, though. The same is true with lower-speed electric bicycles.
Source: California Bicycle Coalition, “California Bicycle Laws,” accessed July 05, 2017