"Rules of the Road" - Things to Know About Bicycle Safety in Coronado


Though not a new concept, bicycle riding seems to have become more prevalent with the increased focus on 'eco-friendly' alternatives. Coronado, with its relatively small area and flat terrain, is a perfect place for bicycles to roam freely... but how many of us strictly follow bike safety laws – or even know what they are?


Bike Path between the Village and the Strand

Here are some laws to be aware of:

  • Bicycles...
    • Must be equipped with a brake
    • Must have a white light in front to illuminates the road and is visible from 300 feet (in darkness)
    • Must have a red rear reflector that can be seen by a vehicle’s headlamps from 500 feet (in darkness)
    • Must have a white or yellow reflector on each pedal that can be seen from 200 feet (in darkness)
    • Must have a white or yellow reflector on each side at the front of the bicycle, and a white or red reflector on each side at the rear of the bicycle (unless bicycle has reflective tires)
    • Must not have handlebars raised so high that the rider must lift hands higher than shoulders to reach them

  • Bicyclists...
    • Must not carry anything that prevents them from having at least one hand on the handlebars
    • Must not ride as passenger or allow passenger on single-person bike (i.e. only bicycles with two separate "saddles" can carry two riders)
    • Must not leave a bicycle lying on its side on a sidewalk
    • Must not ride with both ears covered by headphones, earplugs, etc.
    • Must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians when riding on a sidewalk
    • If under 18 years of age, must wear a properly fitting, properly fastened, approved helmet at all times
    • Must ride in bike lanes where designated
    • Must use appropriate hand signals, from left side of vehicle, to indicate direction:
      1. "Left turn--hand and arm extended horizontally beyond the side of the vehicle.
      2.  Right turn--hand and arm extended upward beyond the side of the vehicle, except that a  bicyclist  may extend the right hand and arm horizontally to the right side of the bicycle.
      3.  Stop or sudden decrease of speed signal--hand and arm extended downward beyond the side  of the vehicle" (Taken from SD Bike Coalition Summary of Bicycle Related Laws, p. 16-17)
    • Must not ride on sidewalks where indicated by signage, particularly in the Business District (i.e. Orange Avenue) of Coronado


Left: "No Riding" signs on Orange Ave.
Right: Signage at Coronado High School 

Most have probably seen the "No Bicycle Riding" signs lining the sidewalks of Orange Avenue, but what about other sidewalks in town? Though not a law, Coronado's Bicycle Master Plan states that riding on sidewalks and in alleyways is "not recommended," as these are meant for pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Riding on sidewalks or in alleys decreases visibility (for bikers, drivers, and pedestrians), leaving everyone more vulnerable to collision.


Bike lane along First Street


Being aware of and obeying these laws will keep you and our citizens safe!

Do you bike around town as your main means of transportation? Are you an accidental (or perhaps intentional...) bike-law rule-breaker?? Let us know in the comments below.


This is a loosely compiled collection of some important laws pertaining to bicycles/bicyclists. For complete and detailed lists, visit these sources:

San Diego Bike Coalition Summary of Bicycle Laws

City of Coronado Bicycle Master Plan

Coronado Municipal Code


Have an interesting story or newsworthy event you'd like to see on eCoronado.com? Contact me at mdwailee@gmail.com


Views: 1349

Tags: community, transportation

Comment by Akshay Sateesh on October 23, 2011 at 11:09pm
Uhhhh - I'll be the first to admit that I ride my bike on the sidewalk until I'm told not to.  I ride slowly and if there's a crowd I step off, but for the most part, I feel safer than riding on Orange Ave!
Comment by Tonia Accetta on October 24, 2011 at 10:54am
This is another parent and school issue. If the schools at an early age held a saturday bike safety and rules day then the kids would all be on the same page and grow up knowing the rules of the road. Watch the school let out and you will see it all, kids without helmets, three kids wide, riding without holding any handle bars, bikes on the sidewalk, you name it and none of them pay any attention to traffic stop signs. This is a driver beware kind of town as the bikes won't stop for you, you have to stop for the bike.
Comment by MIKE GAPP on October 24, 2011 at 12:57pm

Alleyways are the safest place to ride your bicycle in this town, not the opposite IME.

When I cross town, i ride in the alleyways as much as possible. and I ride daily across town.


Otherwise you are dodging Beamers and Mercedes and cops on cell phones who don't see you as they glide through stop signs. - Completely true BTW. 'Not leading by example, folks. - and you can see that pattern in thinking below;




Some of the Bike Laws set a bad precedent. - The Helmet Law especially.

Whoever thought that one up never had a date with a girl, or gave a buddy a lift to work, or just had a group logistic to hurdle that was solved by giving a buddy a ride. I suspect that the Bike Law is just one more of the Plague of new Control Laws to make us a better Sheople.


No wonder half the kids I see around town look like hermaphrodites these days - they were never allowed to be a kid.


All I can figure is that the Bike Helmet Lobby financed that law. - I think I'm gonna make a bite guard and sucker the Safety Sallies into voting it into law as required to ride a bike if a kid has braces; - all that expensive orthodontia must be protected!!!


I'll be rich, I tell ya.


The Jews of Old had a term for that; a "Fencing Law." - It punishes you for doing something that in itself is harmless, so you can't get near doing something harmful. The Problem occurs when the legislative practice protracts itself as a phenomenon, and we get to the point legislatively where we find ourselves now.


This country is being rotted apart by Safety Sallies.


Scoff at that viewpoint if you will, but wait until they classify a pointed surfboard as a weapon... It's coming....


Big Kahuna's gonna be a felon. - and God help him if he was carrying the surfboard weapon while riding a bike....




Consider this please;


Why, by law, do ya need brakes, reflectors, helmets, and lights on a an easily-controlled bicycle but not on a skateboard anyway? - There is an answer, you know - because kids with skateboards don't pay FINES.


....yep, ...it always goes back to the big Cha-CHING.


In another thread, someone was grouching about feeding candy to non-local poor kids - I've figured it out; it's really just psychic backlash because those kids don't obey bike helmet laws back home, you know.... their poor parents don't pay fines, you see....


Okay, take a breath, if this line of thinking is upsetting you, friends;  - get a helmet if ya can't take it (snort!)


I support people who wear a helmet voluntarily, especially if they are riding hard, or dodging surreys and pedestrians who walk on the wrong side and don't get out of the way on the strand bike path. I avoid the Strand bike path at lunchtime because of the clog of these zen masters... Not to mention the old folks who for some reason are allowed to keep their licenses to drive things that consistenly kill people more annually than skateboards, bicycles, and guns, clubs, and knives put together.... (I can't wait to qualify to join the AARP, then I will be unstoppable. - A force of nature, i tell ya.)


Let's make another Safety Sally Law that makes pedestrians not be able to walk over 2.5 miles an hour while plugged into their iPod - unless they have the new patent-pending Mike Gapp Brand Bite Guards n place, of course

Comment by Carmen on October 24, 2011 at 1:47pm
As one who walks several miles a day in Coronado, I am supportive of children who use the sidewalk for their school commute, however ... Any normal child who is of middle or high-school age is way too old to ride on the sidewalk. Parents should help their children to transition from the sidewalk to traffic just as they would train their child to transition from their training wheels. Don't make them learn the rules of the road in college. And, as Mike says, alleyways can be safer during morning and evenings, but don't bet on them during the rush hour. Also, the crosswalks are for walking - not for riding bikes.
Comment by Bruce Johnson on October 24, 2011 at 5:10pm
A new Bicycle Advisory Committee is currently being formed by the City. An ad hoc committee worked for 1 1/2 years with a top notch Professional Planning Consultant (KTU+A) to create our new Bicycle Master Plan. It is an outstanding Plan and is just starting to be implemented. There will be many improvements in safety and utility in Coronado over the coming years for bicyclists and other non-motorized modes of individual travel (yes that includes pedestrians). Lots of new signage, bike lanes etc. Bike Rodeos will be a great event at the schools and kids love them. You can go to the city website and check out the Bicycle Master Plan. Coronado is the ideal place for human powered travel. We are going to transform our little island from a good place for biking to a great (& much safer) place to Bike/Ride/Walk/Scoot...etc.
Comment by Jay A. Allen on April 13, 2012 at 7:22pm

Curious to know if obtaining a bicycle license is mandatory.  We've recently moved back to the island and I'd prefer to be a law-abiding citizen and certainly don't object to the bank-breaking $3 fee.

Comment by Marcie Dwaileebe on April 17, 2012 at 9:23pm

I've been curious about this too; I didn't include it in the article because I couldn't find sufficient info on it. The city's municipal code has a (sort of vague) section about bike licenses but doesn't clearly define it as a mandatory law. I've certainly never heard any stories about unlicensed biker penalties... but better to be safe than sorry, I suppose!

Comment by Jay A. Allen on April 22, 2012 at 6:49pm

Thanks Marcie!

I also just ensured that I have the appropriate lighting for riding after dusk.

And best of all, I learned about Crown City Cyclists this weekend while yard-saling!

Comment (keep it clean & on topic)

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