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.”
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.
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.