Salmon swim upstream from their river, primitively rebelling against the current. They do this because it is a requirement for them in order to breed new life. Lately, we find that bicyclists are often being referred to as “salmon”; they are following the correct traffic laws by riding in the bicycle lane, but are riding in the opposite direction of traffic (bicycle salmoning). However, this is not due to natural instincts or for breeding purposes, the reason they do this is somewhat unclear and even more importantly - unsafe for everyone on the road around them.
The growing popularity of bicycling in the opposite direction of traffic (“salmoning”) in the bike lane poses serious and life threatening risks for both drivers and bicyclists, especially in California. This is because bicycle riders in California are entitled to the same rights as other vehicles, therefore they must follow the same rules. If they break the rules and someone is harmed, bicyclists can be held liable for injuries and damages just like anyone else who breaks the law. Try to think of it this way: what if a car was driving on the wrong side of the freeway, against the flow of traffic? You would be right to assume that this person will be held liable for whatever damages, injuries, and even deaths occur because they decided to “salmon” across the freeway like a crazy person.
Riding against the flow of traffic can cause many different hazards. It can cause injury to not only them, but other bicyclists who are actually riding in the correct lane and have to swerve around them. It can even put themselves in potentially life threatening situations, like being hit by a car, because most people crossing any bike lanes (where it is marked safe to do so) have the instinct to look a certain way only to see if a bicyclist is approaching at an intersection. They can be cause for serious injury and even death.
California law requires that bicycle riders ride in the bike lane in the same direction as traffic. They must stay as far right as feasible, unless something is directly in their pathway. Bicycle riders passing busses may do so on the left side of the bus, decreasing the risk of being hit by a bus turning into their stop. The bottom line is that due to many circumstances of the law, there is no reason for a bicyclist to endanger themselves or anyone around them on the road (including people driving cars and pedestrians), by riding in the bicycle lane opposite of traffic.
If you have questions regarding a bicycle accident injury, automobile accident injury, or any other personal injury, please call one of our Roseville attorneys today. At Amerio Law Firm, our experienced and knowledgeable attorneys can get you the compensation you deserve! (916) 419-1111