When riding my bicycle, should I stop at all stop signs and red lights?
A bicycle is considered as a Vehicle, that’s the first thing you should know.
In most jurisdictions, bicycles must have functioning front and rear lights when ridden after dark. As some generator or dynamo-driven lamps only operate while moving, rear reflectors are frequently also mandatory. Since a moving bicycle makes little noise, some countries insist that bicycles have a warning bell for use when approaching pedestrians, equestrians and other bicyclists.
You’ are expected to obey the rules of the road w/e mode of transportation you are using. Think about it, if you don’t stop at the stop sign, you’re risking yourself! You never know you might get into an accident. The largest cause of serious and fatal injuries to cyclists is collision with motor vehicles.
Yes, if a policeman saw you, he can and will give you a ticket for beating a red light/not stopping at stop signs. A “failure to stop, Stop sign” citation was worth $122.97 for a cyclist violation and $158.97 for a motorist bust.
One good answer to dealing with a ticket would be to work it off at Bike Traffic School (if there’s one close to you)
How to avoid tickets:
Signal your intent — Boost your predictability and get in the habit of signaling your intended path, using hand gestures that let everyone know what you’re doing. A lot of right-of-way confusion and resentment can be resolved easily with a few clear hand signals, just point out your path if there are other people around to whom that would be useful information. You’ll be surprised at how smoothly things go.
Don’t be a right-of-way thief — Rolling s l o o o o o w l y across a stop line at an empty intersection is one thing, but barging in front of someone (car, bike, pedestrian, bus) is bound to draw anger at least and maybe a ticket.
Watch for cops, and don’t do anything stupid in front of them — Really, use your head. Traffic officers tell us that they don’t try to hide, they sit right out in plain view with their big shiny motorcycles and bright “white dot” helmets and the black and white cars. It’s incredible how many cyclists (and motorists and pedestrians) will pull a brazenly illegal maneuver right in front of a cop. If you can’t bring yourself to play nice when the police are obviously watching, maybe you need that ticket to clue in.
Nothing in the law says that a “complete stop” requires a cyclist to take his/her foot off the pedal and make contact with the ground. CVC 21201 does say that a bicycle must be small enough for the rider to stop, support with one foot on the ground, and restart safely, but whether or not a complete stop is made ultimately hinges on a police officer’s discretion.
Bicycle riders under age 18 must wear a helmet under California law(I don’t know what’s yours in your state). Riders 18 and older can decide for themselves. If you do choose to wear a helmet, make sure it’s properly sized and fitted. Headlights are required for night riding, as are reflectors: red in the back and yellow/white on sides and pedals (reflective whitewalls count).