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Bicycle Safety

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Selective Enforcement Near School Zones
The Costa Mesa Police Department receives complaints every year regarding traffic violations occurring near our schools.  These complaints include vehicles speeding, double parking/impeding traffic, failing to yield to oncoming traffic, making illegal U-turns, not signaling, and driving past school buses with flashing red lights and stop sign, just to name a few. Our officers actively enforce vehicle code laws in and about our school zones, both in the morning and afternoon.

Our officers also issue several hundred citations a year to children for bicycle and pedestrian violations of the vehicle code.  The most common violations include riding on the wrong side of the roadway, not wearing or improper wearing of a bicycle helmet, riding double (with a passenger), riding outside of a designated bicycle lane, riding motorized scooters, walking against  “Don’t Walk” signals, jaywalking, etc.  Although receiving a citation may be an unpleasant experience, it is necessary to ensure bicycle and pedestrian safety in our city.
Each year our officers respond to traffic collisions involving bicyclists and pedestrians.  Many times we find the primary collision factor was the unsafe operation of a bicycle or a pedestrian neglecting to pay attention to the vehicular traffic around them.  It has always been our goal to eliminate injuries and fatalities on our roadways; however this is not possible without your help.

We have attached a short list of some of the most common violations related to bicycle, pedestrian, and vehicle operations.  This is a simple reminder of the state and local ordinances we enforce on a daily basis for your safety.  I encourage you to discuss these laws with your children and remind them of their responsibilities as pedestrians and bicycle riders.  We also hope this will serve as a friendly reminder to you as a driver when you drop off and pick up your children at our schools.

The Costa Mesa Police Department is committed to our children’s safety as they travel on our city streets.  Together, let’s do our part over the following years to make it as safe for our children as possible.  Thank you. CMPD.

Traffic Safety Bureau
Bicycle Safety - What is the Law?
The California Vehicle Code (CVC) provides rules and regulations for the safe operation of bicycles on a public highway as well as the equipment necessary to do so.  To better assist you, we have provided a short list of these laws:

CVC 21200 - Laws Applicable to Bicycle Use
Every person riding a bicycle upon a highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this division.

CVC 21200.5 - Riding a Bicycle Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
It is unlawful for any person to ride a bicycle upon on a highway while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or any drug, or under the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage or any drug.

CVC 21201 - Equipment Requirements

(a) Brake required
(b) Handlebars above shoulder height prohibited
(c) Must be able to safely stop and place one foot to the ground when stopped
(d) During the hours of darkness, every bicycle will be equipped with the following:
1. White light to the front
2. Red reflector to the rear
3. White or yellow reflector on each pedal
4. White or yellow reflector to each side on the front and on the rear

CVC 21202(a) - Operation on Roadway
Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time, shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.

CVC 21203 - Hitching Rides
No person riding upon any motorcycle, motorized bicycle, bicycle, coaster, roller skates, sled, or toy vehicle shall attach same or themselves to any streetcar or vehicle on the roadway.

CVC 21204 - Riding on Bicycle

(a) No person riding a bicycle upon a highway shall ride other than upon or astride a permanent and regular seat attached thereto.
(b) No operator shall allow a person to ride as a passenger, on a bicycle upon a highway other than upon or astride a separate seat attached thereto.

CVC 21205 - Carrying Articles
No person operating a bicycle, shall carry any package, bundle, or article which prevents the operator from keeping at least one hand upon the handle bars.

CVC 21208(a) - Bike Lanes
Bicycles shall be operated within a designated bicycle lane when that lane is present.

CVC 21212(a) - Youth Bicycle Helmets: Minors
A person under 18 years of age shall not operate nor ride upon as a passenger a bicycle, a non-motorized scooter, skateboard, or wear in-line or roller skate, unless that person is wearing a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet.

CVC 21456 - Pedestrian Walking Against Signal
No person shall walk against a signal displaying "Don't Walk," "Wait," or an "Upraised Hand."

CVC 21650.1 - Riding Bicycle Against Traffic
A bicycle operated on a roadway, or the shoulder of a highway, shall be operated in the same direction as vehicles are required to be driven on the roadway.

CVC 21955 - Jaywalking
Between adjacent intersections controlled by traffic control signals, pedestrians shall not cross the roadway at any place except in a crosswalk.

CVC 22102 - U-Turn in a Business District
No person in a business district shall make a U-turn, except at an intersection, or on a divided highway where an opening has been provided.  The turning movement shall be made as close as practicable to the extreme left-hand edge of the lanes moving in the driver’s direction of travel immediately prior to the initiation of the turning movement.

CVC 22103 - U-Turn in a Residential District
No person in a residential district shall make a U-turn when any other vehicle is approaching from either direction within 200 feet, except at an intersection when the approaching vehicle is controlled by an official traffic control device (e.g. stop sign, etc.).

CVC 22106 - Unsafe Starting or Backing 
No person shall start a vehicle that has been stopped, standing, or parked on a highway, nor shall any person back a vehicle on a highway until such movement of the vehicle can be made with reasonable safety.

CVC 22107 - Unsafe Turning 
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 giving the appropriate signal in the event any other vehicle may be affected by the movement.

CVC 22108 - Signaling
Any signal of intention to turn right or left shall be given continuously during the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning.

CVC 22109 - Unsafe Stop
No person shall stop suddenly or decrease the speed of a vehicle on a highway without first giving an appropriate signal.

CVC 22352 - Speeds in a School Zone
The maximum speed in a school zone is 25 miles per hour where posted and when school children are present.

CVC 22400 - Impeding or Blocking Traffic
No person shall drive upon a highway at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.  No person shall bring a vehicle to a complete stop upon a highway so as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic unless the stop is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with the law.

CVC 22454 - School Buses (Loading and Unloading Passengers)
The driver upon meeting or overtaking from either direction any school bus displaying red flashing signal lights, stop sign or stop arm, shall immediately stop and remain stopped until such operation has ceased.