Laws All San Francisco Cyclists Should Know

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Benny Martin, a San Francisco Bicycle Accident Lawyer, gives riders free advice on the laws cyclists get in trouble for most.

I often get calls from cyclists cited on their bikes in San Francisco. I usually respond by asking them: what is more unpleasant to you, paying the fine or spending an afternoon at 850 Bryant?

Whether they're late for work, riding home from the bar, riding with their dog, or with grocery bags dangling from both hand grips, San Francisco cyclists often get pinched by the SFPD for seemingly innocuous city bicycling.

Citations start at around $100, and go up quickly from there. “I often get calls from cyclists cited on their bikes in San Francisco. I usually respond by asking them: what is more unpleasant to you, paying the fine or spending an afternoon at 850 Bryant?” Says Benny Martin, a San Francisco bicycle accident lawyer. “The lesser evil is almost always shelling out dollars.” Instead of watching out for cops, Benny Martin offers cyclists free advise about the laws surrounding suspect cycling habits.

This may be a story that many cyclists can relate to. A cyclist is on their way home. It’s Tuesday. They forgot to eat dinner. Its not a holiday tomorrow, but this particular cyclist is wasted like it should be. They dig in their bag for their bike light — they find it and wonder how long its been blinking for. They slap the light on the seat stem, and bend over for the ‘ol right pant leg roll up ceremony. This of course makes them stumble, though the cyclist is damn proud they didn't fall into the street. This easy to identify with story, comrade, might lead to a CUI (Cycling Under the Influence). Unlike the per se 0.08 blood-alcohol content for drivers, there is no specific blood-alcohol content for cyclists. Instead, field sobriety tests are administered and decisions about sobriety are left to the police to subjectively decide whether the cyclist is going to earn a fine of up to $250! Call a cab, put the bicycle in the cab's ever-present gigantic trunk, and avoid this Tuesday evening pitfall.

Riding on sidewalks is the most common citation handed out to cyclists in San Francisco. That’s right; SF Transportation Code Sec. 7.2.12 requires persons over the age of 13 to stay on the street. What if the cyclist is riding with their dog? Riding with groceries? Riding with training wheels? No matter: pedestrians own the sidewalks. If a cyclist doesn’t feel safe in the streets, select another route, walk, or take the bus.

For more info go to the SF Bike Coalition or contact a San Francisco bicycle accident lawyer if you have a case regarding bike laws.

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Benny Martin
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