The California Department of Motor Vehicles website now has a page dedicated to the rights and responsibilites of bicyclists and motorists as we share the road. With a clear emphasis on safety, it openly states that the goal of sharing this critical information is to reduce death and injury from bike and car accidents.
There’s no question that many accidents occur through ignorance and a lack of awareness of safety and the rules of the road. If promoted effectively, the information contained on the site will help move riders to adopt safer practices and increase the awareness of motorists as to their responsibilities, obligations and the legal rights other road users (cyclists). It’s hard work changing long-held beliefs and attitudes, but training and education are essential to make this shift.
It’s important to note:
- Bicycle riders on public roads have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists, and are subject to the same rules and regulations.
- Motorists must look carefully for bicyclists before turning left or right, merging into bicycle lanes, and opening doors next to moving traffic. Respect the right-of-way of bicyclists because they are entitled to share the road with you.
Also of interest is that the California Vehicle Code (CVC) contains laws specifically for bicycle riders. For example, it is unlawful to operate a bicycle while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or a drug (CVC §21200.5).
Convictions are punishable by a fine of up to $250. If you are under 21, but over 13 years of age, your driving privilege will be suspended or delayed for one year once you are eligible to drive.
This is a smart resource and valuable to all cyclists and motorists that must share the road, no matter where we live.