USA Statewide uniformity of bicycle laws

In states with uniform bicycle laws, only the state can regulate cycling. Cyclists can (more or less) expect the same rules when traveling through the state.

Local jurisdictions can impose their own restrictions in states without a uniformity requirement.

USA statewide uniform traffic laws for bicycles

California’s uniformity law (CVC 21) means cities may not ban bikes from local roads, although that hasn’t kept some jurisdictions from trying. San Jose International Airport, for example, persists in posting a “bikes must exit” sign on Airport Boulevard although they have no legal authority to do so.

Map courtesy of Dan Gutierrez and used with his permission. There’s more discussion about bicycle law uniformity on this Facebook page.


  1. In Texas, localities have less authority to make up odd rules for e bikes than for regular ones, raising the possibility of how trivial the motor can be and still qualify. And does that little RC motor actually have to be hooked up?

  2. Does that mean Berkeley’s ban on bikes using the University Ave I-80 overpass is illegal? A city planner told me it was legit since they provided a separate bike/ped bridge nearby, but even so it would seem that the ban is still not in compliance with CVC 21.

    Can cities make regulations in addition to state law, such as helmet or bike registration requirements that are not specified in the state code, or are those illegal as well? I know CVC 21100 allows cities to regulate sidewalk cycling, but it doesn’t say anything about helmets or registrations.

  3. I’ve seen the I-80 overpass ban discussed on various discussion lists, and the Internet experts all say that ban is illegal. I believe cities that ban bikes from overpasses like I-80 and Airport Parkway in San Jose use CVC 21109.

    Local jurisdictions are given authority to license / register bikes through “Division 16.7.” It allows local authorities to require bike registration but only for residents.  Santa Cruz, for example, has a bike license law, but as a resident of another city I’m not required to have a Santa Cruz bike sticker on my bike. 

    AFAIK nothing in state law allows local helmet regs, but I could be wrong on that.

  4. Does this mean that Berkeley requiring bikes to use the narrow raised sidewalk in the Solano Avenue tunnel is also illegal? I’d really like to see that one challenged.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.