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10. Sharing the Road

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Sharing with Bicycles

A bicycle is a device upon which any person may ride, propelled by human power through a belt, chain, or gears, and having one or more wheels.

As you may recall, the definition of a pedestrian did not include bicycles. This is because bicycles are

legally considered to be vehicles in California. Therefore, bicyclists are required to obey most of the same laws and have most of the same rights as do automobile drivers.

The motor vehicle code addresses issues associated with the registration, necessary equipment, and operation of bicycles on the roadway.

Over 100 bicyclists are killed each year in California. Every six hours a bicyclist is fatally injured in the US.

49% of all bicyclist deaths occur to youths age 16 or younger. 86% of all bicycle accidents involve an automobile or truck. Motorists failing to yield the right-of-way to a bicycle cause 42% of bicycle-related accidents. 39% of bicycle accidents occur because cars make turns without noticing bicyclists. 87% of bicyclists in California who die in an accident were not wearing a safety helmet.

Bicycles must follow many of the same rules as motor vehicles including:

  • stopping for stop signs and red lights
  • riding with the flow of traffic
  • use of left-hand turn lanes and arm signals
  • speeding laws
  • rules against impeding traffic
  • using lights at night
  • yielding the right-of-way when entering a roadway
  • laws prohibiting riding while intoxicated

  • However, there are some differences between the laws for motorists and those for bicyclists. For example, bicyclists in certain age groups must wear helmets, and there are special signs that bicyclists must follow that automobiles do not.

    Responsibilities of a Bicyclist

    As a bicyclist, you should know the rules of the road and be able to apply them to bicycle riding. You should also know how to ride safely to avoid collisions with automobiles, pedestrians, fixed objects, and other bicyclists.

    Riding on the left side of the street, against traffic, is one of the most dangerous things a bicyclist can do. About 33% of all car-bicycle accidents involved wrong way bicycle riders and most occur at intersections and involve turning or crossing motorists.

    By riding against traffic, bicyclists approach intersections and driveways from a direction that is unexpected to motorists and out of their normal sight pattern. By riding against traffic, cyclists may not see traffic control devices that apply to them. Therefore, bicycles must travel in same direction as other traffic, not against it.

    Bicycles must ride on the roadway, not the sidewalk. However, they must use bicycle lanes, when available. Bicyclists should normally ride in a straight line as near to the right curb or edge of the roadway as is practical, but always a car-door's length away from parked vehicles.

    Bicyclists can legally move left from the right edge of the roadway to turn left, pass a parked or moving vehicle or bicycle, and to avoid hitting animals, debris, or other road hazards. Bicyclists may also ride near the left curb or edge of the roadway on one-way streets.

    Bicyclists may ride side-by-side (two abreast) on roadways, but they must ride single file when being overtaken by other vehicles. Bicyclists may only travel more than two abreast on a shoulder, bike lane or bike path intended for bike use if there is sufficient space. However, they must be in single file when passing vehicles, pedestrians, or other bicyclists.

    Lesson Summary


      

    Lesson 10 Quiz


    You will now answer 5 questions to test what you learned during this lesson. You must answer all questions correctly to receive completion credit for this lesson. You may answer the questions as many times as necessary to get them right.

    You should review the lesson material if you don't do well on the quiz.

    1. An orange trianglular sign on the back of a vehicle means:


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    2. If you fail to stop for a school bus with flashing red lights:


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    3. In the United States, a bicyclist is killed:


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    4. The most common collision in a work zone is from:


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    5. Pedestrians comprise about what ratio of traffic fatalities?


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