Bicycles as Vehicles – What You Need to Know

Goleta Traffic Corner

Did you know?

Bicycles on the roadway are, by law, vehicles with the same rights and responsibilities as motorized vehicles. And the City of Goleta Traffic Unit encourages ALL road users, including motorists and bicyclists, to respect each other and foster a safer transportation environment.

Here are a few good safety tips for the bicyclists of our great city:

• Always Wear an Approved Bicycle Helmet

A bicycle helmet should sit low on the forehead just above the eyebrows. It should fit snugly and the two side plastic pieces on the straps should fit just under the ears. The buckle should be just under the chin, with one finger’s width of space between the strap and chin. The helmet must always be buckled while riding and should not move more than ½ inch in any direction.

• Know and Follow the Rules of the Road

Know and follow the rules of the road contained within the California Vehicle Code (CVC). Vehicle code handbooks can be obtained through your local Department of Motor Vehicles office or automobile club. Remember, bicyclists must obey the same laws as drivers of motor vehicles.

• Ride With the Flow of Traffic

Always follow lane markings and use appropriate hand signals. Ride single-file when in heavily congested areas.

• Avoid Riding at Night

However, if it IS necessary to ride at night, wear light-colored or reflective clothing. Make sure your bicycle is properly equipped with reflectors, flashing red light on the rear and a front white light (if possible).

• Be Alert While Riding

Watch for cars, pedestrians and hazards in the roadway (things like potholes, drain grates, etc.). Don’t assume other people will yield to you. Be courteous and give the right-of-way to other bicycles and pedestrians.

• Walk Your Bike When Crossing a Street in a Crosswalk

Always look left, right and then left again—even when the light gives you the right-of-way.

Here are a few frequently asked questions regarding bicycling in Goleta.

Q.  Do I have to wear a helmet when I ride a bicycle?

A.  If you are under 18 years of age, you must wear a helmet (21212 CVC).

Q.  Can a passenger ride on my handlebars or stand on the rear axle of my bicycle?

A.  No.  A passenger can only ride on a bicycle when it is equipped with a separate, permanently-affixed seat (21204b CVC).

Q.  Can I ride my bicycle on the sidewalk, or do I have to ride on the street? If I do ride my bicycle on the street, on what side should I ride?

A.  Bicyclists are NOT permitted to ride on sidewalks (12.06.010 GMC/21663 CVC).  Remember, bicycles are the same conveyance as all motor vehicles.  When you ride your bicycle on the street, you must ride in the same direction as the flow of traffic (21650.1 CVC) and as close as possible to the right side of the roadway (21202(a) CVC).

Q.  Can I be arrested for driving-under-the-influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) on a bicycle?

A.  It is a misdemeanor to operate a bicycle on a highway while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or any drug (21200.5 CVC).

Remember, when you ride your bicycle, wearing a helmet helps to keep you safe. You should also wear bright colors during the day and right before the sun rises or sets. This makes it easier for drivers to see you – and it just keeps you safer!

These tips will keep you safe and allow you a long and safe riding life around our beautiful city!

Information provided by Sergeant Hennebry of the Goleta Police Department.