While a fun pastime and efficient means of travel, cycling is a dangerous activity when done around motor vehicles and on the open road.
Traffic fatalities in California are rising as the popularity of cycling continues its trend upwards. Confusion over the right-of-way is partially to blame for traffic accidents involving cyclists.
What is the right-of-way?
California laws establish the right-of-way to traffic and pedestrians traveling on a through road at “T” intersections where there are no “YIELD” or “STOP” signs. Left turns grant the right-of-way to approaching vehicles where the positioning is dangerously close. The right-of-way is also given to the vehicle on the right, where there are two or more vehicles arriving at a four-way stop simultaneously. All motorists are to yield to pedestrian traffic of any nature.
Who maintains the right-of-way between motorists and cyclists?
California law establishes bikes similar to other motor vehicles on the road, requiring cyclists to obey the same rules and laws put in place for other vehicles. Bikes are able to travel alongside a motor vehicle in the same lane so long as the bike keeps up with the flow of traffic. The law requires motorists to allow three feet for passing a bike in the far right lane, as well as to yield to right lane cyclists when the vehicle driver desires to turn right.
Cyclists receive the right-of-way when traveling in a bike lane, but other situations are more complex. Injuries generally occur when both drivers and cyclists are unfamiliar of right-of-way laws.