Tips for Bike Lights
1. If I do not have a red bike light may I use a white light for the rear instead?
No. You may not use a white light on the rear of your bike. Only a red reflector or a solid or flashing red light with built-in reflector on the rear that shall be visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful upper beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle is allowed. A white light on the rear of a bike is very confusing to motor vehicle drivers and other cyclists. People expect white lights to be approaching them not moving away from them. Point your white light ahead of you not in the back.
2. Can my front light be red?
No. Cyclists are required to have a lamp emitting white light that, while in motion, illuminates the highway, sidewalk, or bikeway in front of the bicycle and is visible from a distance of 300 feet in the front and from the sides of the bicycle.
3. When should I turn on my bike lights?
Some people prefer to have their bike lights on all the time when riding to make them more visible. The rule of thumb is to turn on your bike lights at sunset and during dark. The City of Davis Police begins enforcement of bike lights shortly after sunset.
4. The bike light I have on my bike is really dim or burned out do I need a new light?
Instead of throwing bike lights away, you may be able to replace the batteries. The bike lights that the City and UC Davis hand out use two lithium CR2032 batteries. These batteries are inexpensive and can be purchased at drug stores and convenience stores in Davis. To access the battery remove the plastic tab on the backside of the light. Don’t’ forget, the State of California has imposed a landfill ban on all household batteries; it is illegal to throw batteries away in the trash. Find out where to recycle batteries in Davis at www.greenerdavis.org.
5. I have a green light on the front of my bike- is that okay?
No. The light in the front of the bike must be white.
6. Can I hold my bike light in my hand while riding?
No. The lamp, if not attached to the bike, must be attached to the bicyclist and not held by them. The law states that in lieu of a bike light, a lamp emitting white light, attached to the operator and visible from a distance of 300 feet in front and from the sides of the bicycle may be used.
7. Can my cell phone be my bike light?
Maybe. If your cell phone is secure on your bike or attached to you and meets the light requirements it could be used as a bike light in a pinch.
8. Where did the donated bike lights come from?
The bike lights were provided by the City of Davis, UC Davis, Tandem Properties, and a Davis resident Fred Conte. Thank you for donating bike lights to support this event and helping make people on bikes more visible!
9. Can I make a donation to this campaign?
Yes. You may donate bike lights or make a monetary donation for the Light the Night Campaign. Monetary donations will be used to purchase bike lights. Donations can be dropped off at City of Davis Public Works Department located at 1717 5th Street. Donated lights will be used at Light the Night events.
BIKE LAWSPeople on bikes have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers, and are subject to the same rules and regulations. Check out the sites below to learn about the rules and regulations:
- To find out what the laws are in Davis check out Chapter 6 of the Municipal Code.
- Check out the California DMV Sharing the Road Safety Tips for Bicyclists and Motorist website to find information on state bike laws.
TRAVEL SAFETY TIPS
People on Bikes
- Be predictable - follow all traffic laws and avoid "surprising" motorists.
- Be conspicuous - always wear bright clothing during the day, and white or light colored clothing at night.
- Before getting on your bike, always check it out to make sure it's safe by giving it a quick inspection - this includes checking for loose parts such as handlebars, seats and pedals - and checking for proper tire pressure.
- Always wear a helmet, and make sure it's properly fitted. By law, bike riders under 18 years of age must wear a bicycle helmet (CVC §21212).
- Use bike lanes and paths whenever available Otherwise, always ride on the right side of the road - with traffic.
- Always stop at stop signs and red lights.
- Before entering the street from a driveway, sidewalk, or bike path, always stop first, and look left, right, and left again before proceeding.
- When riding at night, always make sure you have a good light, as well as reflectors on the back of the bike, on your pedals and in the wheels. Small, red, blinking lights on the back are also a good idea and relatively cheap. Using lights and reflectors at night is the law (CVC §21201).
- Use hand signals whenever possible before turning.
- Never make a left turn from the right hand bike lane. Make your turns from the left turn lane, or if there isn't one, get in the middle of the travel lane before turning. Alternately, you can use crosswalks just like pedestrians.
- It is unlawful to ride a bike while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or a drug (CVC §21200.5).
- Never drive faster than it is safe for weather, roadway conditions or traffic conditions. The posted speed limit is for ideal conditions.
- If for some reason you must drive slower than other traffic, drive in the closest to the right hand lane as possible. DO NOT use your four way flashers/hazard flashers while moving. Only use them when at a complete stop.
- If you can not maintain the speed limit and conditions allow you to maintain it, use smaller surface streets. It may be a longer route, but it will be safer for all motorists.
- Maximum speed on freeway is posted at 65 mph. While pulling a trailer a vehicle may only travel at 55 mph.
- County roads speeds are 55 mph when not otherwise posted.
- When passing another vehicle or bicycle, pass on the left allowing a safe distance to not interfere with the overtaken vehicle.
- Always ensure you have sufficient room to pass. Never pass on a curve or a grade.
- You may pass to the right only if you can do so safely and only if you do not drive off the paved or main traveled section of the roadway.
- Never insist on the right of way. If someone else violates your right of way, allow them. It will only delay you a few seconds.
- When stopped at an intersection the person to the right has the right of way except when a driver approaches the intersection on a terminating roadway. He/she must yield the right of way to the person on a continuing highway.
- Share the roadway with bicyclists. They have the same rights and rules on the roadway as a motor vehicle.
- Driver is responsible for all passengers. They must ensure all passengers are seated and belted properly before the vehicle is placed in motion.
- Seat belts MUST be worn as designed. A shoulder belt behind the back is dangerous and illegal.
- Children less than twenty pounds must be in a rear facing child restraint seat.
- Children under six years old and under 60 pounds must be restrained in a child safety seat
- Children over 30 lbs must be in child restraint seat or “booster seat” to allow the seat belts to fit properly.
- Up to date state requirements for child safety restraints can be accessed here.
- Use your headlamps whenever vision is obscured due to weather conditions.
- You must use your headlamps when your windshield wipers are on continuously.
- When in fog use low beam lamps only, both day and night. Reduce your speed. Watch closely for other vehicles. DO NOT tailgate in heavy fog conditions.
- First rain of the season; watch out for slippery road conditions. The collective oils and debris of the summer rise to the surface reducing the roadway friction.
- Replace windshield wipers in October to ensure a good clear windshield through the winter.
- When traveling long distances, maintain a survival kit including packaged food, water, blankets, flashlights and a battery powered portable radio.
- Maintain the vehicle coolant levels.
- Maintain a clean and debris free windshield.
- Check tire pressure and tread regularly
- Use air conditioner with windows up to obtain better fuel mileage.
- When A/C is on do not turn stereo up so loud as to drown out other outside noises, i.e… horns and sirens……
- Maintain a survival kit same as the winter kit.
- When you see red light and hear a siren, pull to the right curb safely, stop and wait for them to pass. Check for other emergency traffic before pulling back into the traffic lane.
- Never follow an emergency vehicle closely. They may make an abrupt direction and/or speed changes.
- Pass parked fire apparatus cautiously. Firefighters may be entering or exiting the apparatus with various pieces of equipment.
- When a patrol car is stopped on the side of the road with its red and blue lights on, allow extra room when passing.
Davis Enterprise Articles
The City of Davis Bike and Pedestrian Coordinator and Street Smarts Program Manager share safety information in the Davis Enterprise. Read our articles here:
How people on bikes and drivers make right-turns (June 2015)
Bike Boxes (July 2015)
Getting to School Safely is Priority No. 1 (September 2015)