Protecting Your Rights

Our Protecting Your Rights Initiative implements the third strategy in CalBike's strategic plan: protecting people who ride bicycles by improving the respect we receive from motorists and the legal system. 

We work with the Department of Motor Vehicles to improve the driver's manual and driver testing. We provide expert testimony and advice to judges, the California Highway Patrol, and to local police and other agencies, whenever a bicyclist's rights are in question. We work hard to prevent highway closures by Caltrans.

We change the laws to emphasize safety. We won the Three Feet for Safety Act in 2013 to make clear that motorists must give plenty of space when passing somebody on a bicycle. In 2016 we're working to clarify that sometimes, bicyclists really are allowed to ride two abreast. Legalize hand-holding!

We work to prevent unfair enforcement of the laws, especially where enforcement actions target people of color or low-income people. In 2015, we won a change to the Vehicle Code that allows people ticketed when riding bicycles to take a bicycle education course in lieu of paying the fine. 



From the Blog


Our Campaigns

  • Bike Education

    We push for changes to the driver’s manual, and more bicycle education classes, so that motorists and people on bikes will understand the rules of the road, and the rights and responsibilities of people riding bicycles.

    photo: Bike East Bay

    Learn more >>

  • Three Feet for Safety

    In 2013, after three years of intensive legislative advocacy, our Three Feet for Safety Act became law. The law requires motorists to give at least three feet of clearance when passing people riding bikes. It went into effect in October of 2014, and our focus since then has been on getting the word out through our Give Me 3 Campaign.

    This law can only be effective if people know about it. When the law went into effect, we successfully placed stories in 73 news outlets in California and nationally, and immediately succeeded in getting the California Traffic Control Devices Committee to approve a “Give Bikes 3 Feet” sign; the first sign was placed in Napa County in late 2014.

    Read our fact sheet about the Three Feet for Safety Act.

    In 2016, we’re pushing for more signs. Know a spot where a Give Bikes 3 Feet sign is needed? Submit ideas here.

    We have distributed 20,000 stickers, bumper stickers, and window clings, and are currently developing an updated design, to be released in September 2016.

    Contact norma@calbike.org to be placed on the waiting list for the next batch of stickers or if you have an idea for a design. 



    Learn more >>

  • Legalize Hand-Holding: Riding Two Abreast

    You’re riding on a quiet street, or in a lane too narrow to share, so you take the lane. If you’re riding with your sweetie, you ride side-by-side. Maybe your sweetie is your child whom you’re instructing on safe riding practices or pointing out interesting things in the neighborhood. It’s safe; it’s legal; it makes no difference to other road users because you’re occupying the whole lane whether it’s you alone or with your riding partner. But police might ticket you anyway, on the false interpretation of the Vehicle Code. We’ve heard reports from around the state of people on bikes receiving tickets for riding side-by-side, even when both riders are in a wide bicycle lane. We’re out to change that, but we need your help.

    We want to #legalizehandholding. Send us your pictures of riding while holding hands and we’ll use them in our campaign to clarify the law and prevent unjust tickets to people just enjoying a lovely bike ride with their sweetie.

    In the 2016 legislative session, we’re pushing for a clarification to explicitly legalize two-abreast bicycle riding. Assemblymember Phil Ting has authored AB2509 to allow two-abreast riding. 

    Post your photos on social media with the hashtag #legalizehandholding


    Learn more >>

  • Full Lane for Safety

    1024px-MUTCD_R4-11.svg.pngSafe bicyclists know that riding in the center of a narrow right lane is legal and often the safest place to ride, but motorists and police don’t know this because the law is poorly written.

    Too many times, they harass or even cite bicyclists doing this. It’s not fair to the victims of harassment, and it’s unsafe because it causes most people to ride in the dangerous edge of the roadway.

    We will clean up the law by clarifying its intent, putting bicyclists’ safety needs first. 




    Learn more >>

How you can help

Spread the word!