Bikes Can Use Full Lane
If you were riding your bike, and you were hit by a passing car, or forced off the road causing injury, you have the right to sue the driver. In California, bike riders have full use of most lanes of traffic.
California Vehicle Code, section 21202, is fairly short and clear. As a bike rider, you have as much right to use the full lane of the road as any car. There are some exceptions in the law that allow for a car and a bike to share the lane, but the exceptions are rare.
As a bike rider, you are not required to go the same speed as a car. You can take full use of the lane. However, because you are likely to be going slower than the speed of traffic, you should not make it difficult for a car to pass you when it is legally possible.
The intent of the law is to create bike friendly environments in urban areas. While the drivers in some cities, like San Francisco, have more experience in sharing the road, all California cities should start learning how to create more energy efficient urban spaces.
Bike riders in Southern California today bear the brunt of teaching drivers how to be more patient and understanding of bicycles as vehicles. Unfortunately, part of that process means legal action against drivers who still refuse to share the road.