LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Julia Nicole Mcilroy | Sep 17, 2011

What you need to know if you ride a Bike, Skateboard or Scooter

Most of the traffic laws for cars also apply to people riding bikes. Bicyclists must stop at stop signs and red lights, ride on the proper side of the street, and give pedestrians the right of way. If you get caught going through a stop sign without stopping completely, you'll get the same ticket a car would get and it will go on your driving record!

If you ride your bike at night, your bike must be equipped with a front light, red rear reflector, pedal reflectors and side reflectors or reflectorized tires (CA VC 21201). Wearing earphones or ear buds is prohibited while riding a bike. It's also against the law to have another person riding on your handlebars, center frame bar, or over the bike's rear tire (VC 21204). If you are under 18, you must wear a helmet at all times (VC 21212).

Cities and counties can outlaw riding bikes on sidewalks, but it varies from city to city. Cities also regulate the places where you may ride a skateboard and the equipment you must wear. Helmets, elbow pads, and knee pads must be worn at all skateboard parks, by state law (H&SC 115800(a)). It is against the law to hold onto a moving vehicle while on a bike, skates, or skateboard (VC 21203).

To ride a motorized scooter, you generally must be at least 16 years old and have a valid driver's license or permit. By law, you are not allowed to ride scooters on sidewalks or on highways that have speed limits greater than 25 mph (VC 407.5 & 21235).

Riding a bicycle under the influence of alcohol or drugs is in a violation of California Vehicle Code Section 21200.5 and is a crime in California. If you are stopped for bicycling under the influence (BUI), you do not have to perform Field Sobriety Tests, but you must give a chemical test if arrested. However, unlike a DUI in a vehicle, the maximum fine for a BUI is $250.00. You may want to challenge an arrest for a BUI because it does go on your driving record.

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