The Thousand Oaks Police Department and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office strive to promote traffic safety within the communities they serve. In an effort to recognize certain hazards while driving, the TOPD Traffic Bureau has started a monthly traffic awareness reminder program, addressing a traffic topic each month. While the focus is on a specific topic each month, it is imperative to always follow all rules of the road. The month of March is dedicated to “Bicycle Safety”.
Each year, hundreds of bicyclists in California are involved in a collision with a motor vehicle. Most of the time, the bicyclist is the one who will receive the worst injuries. With that in mind, everyone needs to know the importance of sharing the road. Motorists and bicyclists both need to do their part in keeping each other safe.
Here are some important facts you should know:
1. California vehicle code section 21202(a) states: Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at the same time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.
2. A bicycle ridden at night must be equipped with a lamp emitting a white light. There must also be a red reflector on the rear of the bicycle that must be visible from 500 feet when directly in front of a motor vehicle whose headlights are on.
3. Riders under the age of 18 must wear a helmet at all times. We suggest all riders, regardless of age, wear a helmet at all times to reduce injuries.
4. No person shall drive a motor vehicle in a bicycle lane established on a roadway except to park where parking is permitted, to enter or leave the roadway, or to prepare for a turn within a distance of 200 feet from the intersection.
5. Bicyclists must travel on the right side of the roadway in the direction of traffic, except when passing, making a legal left turn, riding on a one-way street, riding on a road that is too narrow, or when the right side of the road is closed due to road construction (CVC 21650).
6. Handlebars must not be higher than the rider's shoulders CVC 21201(b).
7. A driver of a motor vehicle shall not overtake or pass a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on a highway at a distance of less than three feet between any part of the motor vehicle and any part of the bicycle or its operator. CVC 21760(c).
8. Bicyclists obey the rules of the road because they travel along the roadway with other motorists. It is important to note drivers and bicyclists must share the road. When making turning movements in a car or on a bike, use caution, be seen (appropriate lighting after dark) and be predictable.
The Thousand Oaks Traffic Bureau urges citizens to drive their cars and ride their bicycles responsibly. Wear equipment to protect yourself and make you more visible to others, like a bike helmet, bright clothing (during the day), reflective gear, and a white front light and red rear light and reflectors on your bike (at night, or when visibility is poor). Plan your route carefully if you will be sharing the road with motor vehicles. Choose routes with less traffic and slower speeds. Your safest route may be away from traffic altogether, in a bike lane or on a bike path.
For more information on bicycle safety please visit: