Bicycle Safety and the Law
Helmets save lives
Each year, more than a thousand men, women and children are killed in bicycle-related accidents in North America. Seventy-five percent of those deaths could have been prevented if the riders of the bicycles had worn helmets. Even more lives can be saved if riders follow simple safety guidelines when riding their bicycles.
Helmets are required by law for riders under age 18
Effective January 1, 1994 all bicycle riders and passengers under age 18 must wear bicycle helmets while operating a bicycle in any public place. Additionally, the law states that bicycle helmets must meet the standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the Snell Memorial Foundation's standard for protective headgear. So, make sure when you purchase a helmet, it has either the Snell or ANSI sticker inside.
- 511 Contra Costa Bike Route Mapping site
- National Bicycle Safety Network website
- Federal Highway Administration's Safety Research website.
Your bicycle must have the proper equipment.
- All bicycles must be equipped with a brake.
- The handlebars may not be elevated above the rider's shoulders.
- All bicycles operated during the hours of darkness must be equipped with the following:
- A front headlight (emitting a white light that can be visible from 300 feet).
- A red reflector mounted on the rear of the bicycle
- A white or yellow reflector on each side of the bicycle.
Rules of the Road
One rider per bicycle! Unless of course there is another seat, such as a child seat. Carrying passengers on handlebars and pegs is illegal. Bicycle riders must use hand signals when turning or braking suddenly. Bicycles are responsible for following the same laws as cars. This means obeying all posted signals and signs, and riding on the right side of the road.