SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Bicycle laws in California may be changing.

Assembly Bill 697 would now let bicyclists to ride in the right-hand lane or bicycle lane. If the cyclist is in a traffic lane that is wide enough for cars and bicycles to travel side-by-side, he or she would need to stay to the far right and allow a car to safely pass, unless the conditions are too hazardous. Cyclists could also move into the lane in order to pass another car or bike going in the same direction, or to make a left-hand turn. Exceptions would also be made if the bicycle rider is on a highway with one-way traffic. In that case the bicyclist would be allowed to ride near the left-hand curb or edge of the roadway.

Current law requires cyclists to “ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except under specified conditions, including, among other things, when reasonably necessary to avoid conditions that make it unsafe or when approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.”

The bill’s author, Asm. Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) said, “With more people realizing the health and environmental benefits of biking as their primary mode of transportation, we need to ensure drivers and cyclists can safely exist together on our roadways. AB 697 removes any confusion over where cyclists can ride when bike lanes are not available.”

READ ALSO: Only 4 Bike Helmets Earned 5 Stars In Safety Test

Approximately 11,000 Sacramentans bike to work, according to a 2016 report from the Alliance for Biking & Walking, but Sacramento is the 5th deadliest city for bicyclists.

A report from The Wall Street Journal looked into data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration  from 2007-16. It shows the bicyclist death rate in Sacramento during that span was 4.8 per 100,000 people.

READ ALSO: Hundreds Of Kids Injured In Bike Accidents Each Day

During the spring, Sacramento installed bike lanes on several Downtown and Midtown streets.

Five years ago, California passed a three-foot bike law requiring drivers to maintain a three-foot buffer zone between cyclists.

Comments (3)
  1. Jeff Wilson says:

    It honestly has ZERO to do with where a cyclist rides their bikes and more to do with distracted drivers and idiot drivers. I used to ride my bike to work each day, about 7 miles each way. In a period of 18 months I was hit 4 times. Once while I was in a bike lane approaching an intersection, impatient drivers were crossing over into the bike lane t make the right turn much further down at the corner, but they could not wit for the light to change so they ride up the bike lane and on the curb. Got clipped by a vehicle mirror, and when it broke off the driver chased me down and want to fight. Another time was riding in a bike lane and a Sacramento county bus pulled over right in front of me, causing me to move out into the traffic lane and around the bus. No way to more further off the shoulder of the road with ending up in ditch. Yes I gave the driver the finger as I rode by hi window. So at the intersection of Watt and Elkhorn I was making a left from Elkhorn on to watt. I was following the rules, I was on the outside of the ight lane turning left. The bus driver made the turn with me then proceeded to run his bus into the side of me as I made the corner, all o he could pull over at the stop after the corner. Yes he made contact with me and I had given him plenty of room. Of course SACRT did nothing about the issue and never once followup with me about the complaint.

  2. Tim Olson says:

    I ride in the right hand side all the time. If the law allows people to ride in either lane, what’s supposed to happen if someone’s riding towards me going the wrong way of flowing traffic? The current laws are fine as is any cyclist is viewed as if they are a motorist.

  3. Serge Issakov says:

    You guys missed the whole point. The current wording in CVC 21202 already allows “bicyclists to ride in the right-hand lane” except when the lane is wide enough to share, it’s just worded backwards. This bill adjusts the wording so that it is more clear.

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