Dear Street Smarts,
Q: Are bicyclists required to stop at crosswalks to allow pedestrians to cross?
Bethany Kientzel, via email
A: The answer is yes. Bicyclists are considered vehicles by the California Vehicle Code and must follow the same laws. Below are the corresponding vehicle code sections supporting this answer:
Section 21950 Right of Way at Crosswalks
- (a) The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.
- (b) This section does not relieve a pedestrian from the duty of using due care for his or her safety. No pedestrian may suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard. No pedestrian may unnecessarily stop or delay traffic while in a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
- (c) The driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within any marked or unmarked crosswalk shall exercise all due care and shall reduce the speed of the vehicle or take any other action relating to the operation of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian.
- (d) Subdivision (b) does not relieve a driver of a vehicle from the duty of exercising due care for the safety of any pedestrian within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.
Amended Sec. 8, Ch. 833, Stats. 2000. Effective January 1, 2001.
Section 21200 Laws Applicable to Bicycle Use Peace Officer Exemption
- (a) ( )1 A person riding a bicycle or operating a pedicab upon a highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this division, including, but not limited to, provisions concerning driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs, and by Division 10 (commencing with Section 20000), Section 27400, Division 16.7 (commencing with Section 39000), Division 17 (commencing with Section 40000.1), and Division 18 (commencing with Section 42000), except those provisions which by their very nature can have no application.
- (b) (1) ( )2 A peace officer, as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2 of the Penal Code, operating a bicycle during the course of his or her duties is exempt from the requirements of subdivision (a), except as those requirements relate to driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs, if the bicycle is being operated under any of the following circumstances:
- (A) In response to an emergency call.
- (B) While engaged in rescue operations.
- (C) In the immediate pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law.
- (2) This subdivision does not relieve a peace officer from the duty to operate a bicycle with due regard for the safety of all persons using the highway.
Amended Sec. 3, Ch. 614, Stats. 2010. Effective January 1, 2011.