Contra Costa Air Quality

As cities throughout the Bay Area work towards becoming more bicycle friendly, there is sometimes confusion from motorists and cyclists alike as to where one should cycle.  Motorists and cyclists may think one should cycle on the sidewalk or only cycle on streets with bike lanes.

Bicycles allowed use of full lane sign

Photo credit: Richard Drdul

The fact is though, as a general rule it is legal to cycle on any street, regardless of the presence of bicycle-specific infrastructure unless signage otherwise prohibits so.

This rule also extends to the 4,000 miles of freeways in California. According to an article, “Riding Your Bike on the Freeway in California: It’s Not as Illegal as You Might Think – As Here, on the 101 in Marin County”  Caltrans provides an answer to the frequently asked question “Can I ride my bicycle on the freeway?

“Of the more than 4,000 miles of freeways in California, about 1,000 miles are open to bicyclists. These open sections are usually in rural areas where there is no alternate route[….]”

So,  the short answer is ‘yes’, but most freeway entrances have signs that specifically prohibit bicyclists. And if you find a portion of freeway which it is legal to ride your bike, be extra cautious and don’t expect the ride quality to be as comfortable as that promised 20 mile bicycle superhighway planned in Sweden!

Read more about the legality of bicycling on freeways  here.