California Motorcycle & Bicycle Laws
Motorcyclists, bicyclists and scooter riders must follow the same rules that apply to all vehicles on the roads. But there are also special laws that apply only to bikers. The attorneys of the Dolan Law Firm deal with California motorcycle and bicycle laws regularly in their work as attorneys, and also in their free time, when riding their own bikes. Contact us for a free initial consultation with one of our lawyers if you or someone you love was a motorcycle or bicycle accident victim in California.
The motorcycle and bicycle laws that are especially important to bikers include:
- Helmet laws: Helmets are mandatory in California, and there are many organizations dedicated to fighting California helmet law. Until the law changes, however, bikers must wear helmets that comply with FMVSS 218. Look for the label that says “DOT” -- that shows that the helmet has been approved by the Department of Transportation.
- Lane splitting: It is legal for a motorcycle rider to share a lane with another vehicle on California roads. However, be aware that many motorcycle accident victims in California have suffered from the bias, among many police and jurors, against bikers who split lanes.
- Statutes of limitations: Statutes of limitations restrict the rights of accident victims in California to sue for damages. You only have a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit, depending on the type of case.
- License and permit requirements: Under California law, you must have a special license to operate a motorcycle or scooter. First, you must pass a written test and earn a permit. Then you must take a road test to get a license. With a permit, you may only operate your vehicle during daylight hours and you may not ride on freeways. California Law, Vehicle Code Section 12509(e). You cannot carry passengers. Violating these restrictions does not automatically place you at fault, rather it is your conduct and not your license status that should determine fault. Being unlicensed also does not preclude you from recovery, but it might be evidence of competency, which may invoke comparative fault. As always, attribution through comparative fault can limit your recovery.
For more on California motorcycle and bicycle laws, or to set a free evaluation of your case, contact our attorneys right away. We do all work on contingency, which means that we charge you nothing, only winning payment when you win compensation.