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When cyclists navigate the busy streets of Los Angeles, they must abide by most of the same laws that apply to motor vehicles. They also share the same rights. However, some special regulations apply to bicycles.

Make sure that you understand the city’s bike laws to stay safe on your next ride.

Required bike equipment

All bikes must have at least one working brake and handlebars flush with the rider’s shoulders or lower. You must be able to stop your bike and support it with one foot on the ground.

If you ride after dark, your bike must have a white light or headlight on the front. All bikes must have a red rear reflector and either yellow or white reflectors on the front and pedals. Only one rider may be on a bike with one seat, with the exception of a passenger weighing fewer than 40 pounds in a safety seat. Riders and passengers younger than 18 must wear a helmet with a Snell or ANSI seal of approval.

Where to ride

Bicyclists may not ride on the sidewalk. Instead, ride as far to the right as possible in the same direction as traffic, unless you are passing a vehicle, getting ready to turn left or steering clear of a hazard. You must ride in the bike lane whenever one is available.

You may not ride on freeways that have a sign indicating this prohibition. The same goes for toll bridges; you cannot cross on a bike unless given specific permission on a sign.

Prohibited actions

Bike riders must have at least one hand on the handlebars at all times. You can receive a DUI charge for riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The law also prohibits wearing a headset or earphones while riding a bike, unless the device is part of a hearing aid.

These laws help cyclists, pedestrians and drivers stay safe and avoid serious accidents while sharing the road in Los Angeles.