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Bicycle Safety

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Bicycling is a popular means of exercise and an even more popular way of getting around town. With more and more bicycles on the road, it is important for both bicyclists and motorists to practice defensive driving.

It is estimated that 57 million Americans ride bikes ranging from high performance models to "dirt bikes." The national bicycle accident toll is 900 deaths and over 70,000 disabling injuries each year. Motorists accidentally kill more children every year than all illnesses combined. The biggest reason for these accidents is children are unprepared and unskilled to ride safely. National Safety Council statistics show that the accident death rate for bicyclists is highest for those ages 5-14.

Safe and enjoyable bicycling depends on the ability and judgment of the rider. When riding, you need to: be cautious when crossing sewer gratings and railroad tracks at an angle; stay in single file when riding with others; wear shoes to avoid getting toes caught in moving parts; avoid long skirts and flare pants,;clip or band hair to keep it from blocking vision; and wear proper safety equipment at all times such as bright clothing, safety helmet, safety goggles, etc.

Do not take a bicycle for granted. Most mechanical problems can be avoided by keeping your eyes and ears open. Good common-sense practices will keep both you and your bicycle in good condition.

We strongly encourage all parents to talk with their children about bicycle, pedestrian and traffic safety. It's everyone's responsibility.

Our goal, through education, is to make our community a safer place for all.

Reports show that:

  1. School-age children account for more than half of the deaths and injuries resulting from collisions with automobiles.
  2. Most bicycle accidents in the City of Claremont occur between 7-8 a.m. and 2-3 p.m.
  3. Two out of every three riders killed or injured in collisions with automobiles have violated a law or safety rule.

Falls can result from:

  1. Riding unskillfully or recklessly.
  2. Riding off curbs or steps.
  3. Carrying persons or packages which interfere with balance.
  4. Catching wheel of bicycle in storm sewer grates or openings in the pavement.
  5. Skidding on slippery surface.
  6. "Show Off" riding.

Frequent causes of fatalities and injuries involving bicyclists include:

  1. Riding on the wrong side of the street, facing traffic.
  2. An improper or unsafe turning movement.
  3. Disregarding traffic control devices (signs, signals, markings).
  4. Rider failing to yield right-of-way.
  5. A bicycle striking a fixed object.
  6. Running into an opened door of a parked car.
  7. Carrying an extra rider.
  8. Motorist running into poorly-lighted bicycle at night.
  9. A bicycle striking a pedestrian.
  10. A bicyclist clinging to a moving vehicle.
  11. A bicyclist doing trick riding or weaving through traffic.
  12. Poorly maintained bicycles.

Bicycle Safety Maintenance

While the bike is an important means of transportation, children as well as adults often regard it as a toy and fail to keep the safety devices in proper working order.

Properly working parts are very important in preventing riders from being involved in collisions. Brakes that operate efficiently, tightly adjusted saddle and handlebar clamps, cemented hand grips, good pedal treads and proper chain adjustment provide for maximum possible control of the bike. Other bicycle safety devices are designed to protect both the bike rider and persons using the highway, such as: the headlight, the warning bell or horn, the pedal, and side and rear reflectors.

Some State Laws That Apply to Bicyclists

Ride On Right
Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway. 21202(a)V.C.

Wearing of headsets/earphones/earbuds prohibited. 27400 V.C.

Hitching A Ride
No person riding upon any bicycle, coaster, roller skates, sled or toy vehicle shall attach the same or himself/herself to any streetcar or vehicle on the roadway. 21203 V.C.

Use Of Seat
No person operating a bicycle upon a highway shall ride other than upon or astride a permanent and regular seat. 21204 (a) V.C.

Carrying Packages
No person operating a bicycle shall carry any package, bundle or article which prevents the operator from keeping at least one hand upon the handlebars. 21205 V.C.

Helmets (bicycle, scooter, skateboard, roller skates)
A helmet is required for a person under 18 years of age operating, or riding as a passenger on, a bicycle, non-motorized scooter, skateboard, or while wearing in-line or roller skates. This requirement also applies to a person who rides upon a bicycle while in a restraining seat that is attached to the bicycle or in a trailer towed by the bicycle. 21212(a) V.C.

The parent or legal guardian having control or custody of an un-emancipated minor whose conduct violates this section shall be jointly liable with the minor for the amount of the fine imposed pursuant to this subdivision.

The helmet must meet the standards of the American National Standards Institute of the SNELL Standards for Protective Headgear. We recommend that riders of all ages wear a helmet when operating a bicycle. According to the National Safety Council, head injuries cause about 85% of all bicycle fatalities.

Use Of Bicycle Lane
Whenever a bicycle lane has been established on a roadway, any person operating a bicycle upon that roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic shall ride within the bicycle lane, except: when overtaking and passing another bicycle, vehicle, or pedestrian; or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway; when reasonably necessary to avoid debris or other hazardous conditions. 21208(a) V.C.

No person shall turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left upon a roadway until such movement can be made with reasonable safety and then only after the giving of an appropriate signal. 22107 V.C.

Parking On Sidewalk
No person shall leave a bicycle laying on its side on any sidewalk, or shall park a bicycle on a sidewalk in any other position so that there is not an adequate path for pedestrian traffic. 21210 V.C.

Hand Signals
Hand signals should be given from the left side or the vehicle (or bicycle), however, bicyclists can extend the right hand and arm horizontally to the right side of the bicycle. 22111b V.C.

Ownership, Licensing And Local Regulations
If a city or county has or adopts a bicycle licensing ordinance or resolution, no resident shall operate a bicycle which was first sold as a new bicycle in California on or after September 20, 1974, on any street, road, highway, or other public property within the jurisdiction unless such bicycle is licensed. 39002(a)V.C.

Safe Riding Habits

  • Always wear a helmet.
  • Keep your bicycle in good mechanical condition (tires, chain, brakes).
  • Obey all traffic rules and signs and always give proper hand signals.
  • Walk your bike across busy intersections.
  • Always ride with the traffic, as close as possible to the right side of the roadway.
  • Be sure the roadway is clear before entering.
  • Always ride single file and watch for opening car doors!
  • Most bicycles are built to carry only one person.
  • If you must ride your bike at night, be sure your headlight and reflectors are in good condition.
  • Select the safest route to your destination and use it. Avoid busy streets and intersections.
  • Yield right-of-way to pedestrians.


Local and state laws are enforced in the City of Claremont. Unsafe riding may be cause for enforcement action by police personnel. Juvenile offenders may be asked to attend a bicycle safety class.

For more information on Traffic Safety, contact the Claremont Police Department's Traffic Bureau at 909-399-5411.