Discover how California's OmniBike Bill, or Assembly Bill 1909, is keeping cyclists and motorcyclists safe on the road with four significant changes to the Vehicle Code.

The OmniBike Bill, also called Assembly Bill 1909, is a law in California meant to keep cyclists and motorcyclists safe on the road. The bill highlights four significant changes to the Vehicle Code that advance cyclists’ rights in California.

What Are The Four Provisions Of The Omnibike Bill?

The OmniBike Bill makes four provisions that help cyclists and motor vehicles travel safely on the roads of California. The four provisions are as follows:

The Changing of Three Feet Rule

In previous years, the state followed the Three Feet Rule, which requires motor vehicle drivers to provide at least three feet of clearance when passing bicyclists in the same direction on highways. Through the OmniBike Bill, the Three Feet Rule will not be recognized. Instead, the driver must change to another available lane with safety and precaution when passing a bicycle. If the bicyclist is less than three feet from any part of the motor vehicle, the driver is not allowed to overtake.

To pass a bicycle safely, follow the tips below:

  • Slow down before overtaking.
  • Wait for a clear, available lane when passing by bicyclists. Do not overtake in turns or hills.
  • Give the cyclists some space to ensure both of your safety.
  • Be patient. Refrain from hastily overtaking cyclists.

The Headstart of Bicyclists on Walk Signal

With AB 1909, cyclists can cross the roadway on a ‘walk’ or ‘approved walking’ symbol, if they face the pedestrian control signal. When traveling, they should yield the right of way to motor vehicles within the intersection when the signal is first shown. Other points to consider when walking across a pedestrian crossing are as follows:

  • A flashing ‘don’t walk,’ ‘wait’ or approved ‘upraised hand’ symbol with a ‘countdown’ signal permits a pedestrian or cyclist to cross the roadway in the direction of the signal. However, the pedestrian must complete the crossing before the display of the steady ‘don’t walk,’ ‘wait’ or approved ‘upraised hand’ symbol before the remaining time indicated in the countdown ends.
  • A steady ‘don’t walk,’ ‘wait,’ or approved ‘upraised hand’ symbol or the same flashing signals without the ‘countdown’ sign means a pedestrian or cyclist facing the signal is not allowed to cross the roadway.
  • Any pedestrian or cyclist who has failed to cross the roadway completely shall move to a sidewalk or safety zone or otherwise leave the road while the steady ‘don’t walk,’ ‘wait’ or approved ‘upraised hand’ symbol is on display.

The Permission Of E-Bikes To Operate On Bike Lanes

In 2023, it is estimated that e-bike sales will climb to forty million units worldwide. That means that there are more individuals operating e-bikes on streets and roadways. As stated in OmniBike Bill, electronic bicycles are now authorized to be used in bike lanes. However, local authorities are granted the power to prohibit any electric bicycle on the following:

  • equestrian trail,
  • hiking trail, and
  • recreational trail.

The Invoking Of Bicycle Licensing Ordinances

In some cities in California, riders are required to register their bicycles to be operated. Unfortunately, there are cases where law enforcement uses this ordinance to harass and discriminate against people, especially those of color. The OmniBike Bill will invoke the licensing ordinance across the state. 

What Are Other California Bike Laws?

Besides the OmniBike Bill, other California bike laws ensure bike riders are safe. Here are the summarized bike laws to be followed within the state:

  • You can ride anywhere if you are traveling at a speed similar to the traffic.
  • If you are moving slower than the traffic and there is not enough space for a bike and a motor vehicle to share, you must ‘take the lane.’ 
  • Always use bicycle lanes, if there are any.
  • If the lane is separated from moving traffic by posts or others, you may travel outside the separated bikeway for any reason.
  • Bicyclists must ride on the right side of the roadway along the direction of traffic. However, you may disregard this when passing, making a legal left turn, riding on a one-way street, riding on a narrow road, or when the right side of the road is closed due to road construction.
  • Type 1 and 2 electric bicycles are permitted to travel where regular bikes are allowed, except when a sign specifically prohibits electric bicycles.
  • No vehicle is allowed to stop or park on bike lanes or pathways.
  • Some cities in California allow bicycles to be ridden on sidewalks
  • Regular bicycles and e-bikes are restricted on freeways and expressways.
  • Bicyclists are prohibited from crossing a toll bridge unless permitted to do so by the California Department of Transportation.

What Happens When I Get Into A Bicycle Accident?

Despite the number of California bike laws and the strict implementation of these, it is still possible that you may encounter a bicycle accident due to the negligence of others. If you are involved in a bicycle crash, you may follow the steps below to ensure your safety and resolve the incident correctly:

  • Do not panic.
  • Check if you have injuries. 
  • Try to stand and move in a safe location near the accident scene. 
  • Call 911 promptly. 
  • Gather possible evidence, such as the driver’s information and license plate.
  • File an initial accident report.
  • Contact a legal expert if necessary.

If a driver hits you due to their wrongdoings, you may seek compensation for the damages. However, in some cases, vehicle drivers intimidate the cyclists and pressure them to accept an initial settlement offer on the spot. It would be best if you didn’t get this. Instead, you should talk to a lawyer about what you should do next. Other challenges may include:

  • lack of evidence to support your claim,
  • difficulty in proving who is the at-fault party,
  • drivers and insurance companies taking advantage of your injured state, and
  • limited knowledge of bicycle accident claims.

If you face any of these challenges, you should talk to a lawyer immediately after the accident. Bicycle accident attorneys will help you sort out your case and receive full restitution for the incident. The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker can defend your bicycle rights and make sure you will be compensated for the damages done. Call our office at 866-311-2457 to schedule a free legal consultation to learn more about your options. We will hear your side of the story, figure out your choices, and provide you with honest legal counsel.