How California Treats Bicycles

Source: California Vehicle Code

California State Seal

V C Section 39000 Bicycle Defined

Bicycle Defined

39000.  “Bicycle,” for the purposes of this division, means any device upon which a person may ride, which is propelled by human power through a system of belts, chains, or gears having either two or three wheels (one of which is at least 20 inches in diameter) or having a frame size of at least 14 inches, or having four or more wheels.
Amended Ch. 421, Stats. 1978. Effective January 1, 1979.

V C Section 39001 Licenses and Registration Forms

Licenses and Registration Forms

39001.  (a) The department shall procure and distribute bicycle license indicia and registration forms to all counties and cities which have adopted a bicycle licensing ordinance or resolution. Those counties and cities shall issue the indicia and registration form to the owner of any new bicycle, and may, upon request of the owner, issue an indicia and registration form to the owner of any bicycle which complies with Section 39007.

The department shall charge and collect a fee, not to exceed the cost of procuring and distributing the license indicia and registration form, for each bicycle license indicia and registration form issued. All fees collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited in the Motor Vehicle Account in the State Transportation Fund. Those fees are hereby continuously appropriated from the account for use by the department to defray costs to procure and distribute the bicycle license indicia and registration forms.

(b) The director shall design the bicycle license indicia and registration form described in subdivision (a), and shall establish procedures for the distribution of the indicia and registration form to counties and cities. The indicia shall be adhesive, durable, flexible, and of a size to permit it to be affixed to the front of the seat tube of the bicycle frame. Each indicia shall bear a unique license number and shall be permanently assigned to a bicycle. Each registration form shall comply with Section 39005.

(c) Bicycle licenses shall be renewed uniformly throughout the state on January 1 of the third year following the year of registration. Renewal of a bicycle license shall be indicated by a supplementary adhesive device affixed parallel to, and above or below, the indicia, with the expiration date showing.

Amended Ch. 1268, Stats. 1988. Operative July 1, 1989.

V C Section 39002 License Requirement

License Requirement

39002.  (a) A city or county, which adopts a bicycle licensing ordinance or resolution, may provide in the ordinance or resolution that no resident shall operate any bicycle, as specified in the ordinance, on any street, road, highway, or other public property within the jurisdiction of the city or county, as the case may be, unless the bicycle is licensed in accordance with this division.

(b) It is unlawful for any person to tamper with, destroy, mutilate, or alter any license indicia or registration form, or to remove, alter, or mutilate the serial number, or the identifying marks of a licensing agency’s identifying symbol, on any bicycle frame licensed under this division.

Amended Sec. 8, Ch. 674, Stats. 1996. Effective January 1, 1997.

V C Section 39003 Issuance to Owner

Issuance to Owner

39003.  If a city or county has or adopts a bicycle licensing ordinance or resolution, indicia and a copy of the registration form obtained from the department shall be issued to the owner by the city or county or other licensing agency designated by it.
Amended Ch. 1250, Stats. 1975. Effective January 1, 1976.

V C Section 39004 Fees


39004.  Each licensing agency, by ordinance or resolution, may adopt rules and regulations for the collection of license fees. Revenues from license fees shall be retained by the licensing city or county and shall be used for the support of such bicycle ordinance or resolution, and may be used to reimburse retailers for services rendered. In addition, fees collected shall be used to improve bicycle safety programs and establish bicycle facilities, including bicycle paths and lanes, within the limits of the jurisdiction.

The fees required to be paid pursuant to this division are as follows:

(a) For each new bicycle license and registration certificate, the sum shall not exceed four dollars ($4) per year or any portion thereof.

(b) For each transfer of registration certificate, the sum shall not exceed two dollars ($2).

(c) For each replacement of a bicycle license or registration certificate, the sum shall not exceed two dollars ($2).

(d) For each bicycle license renewal, the sum shall not exceed two dollars ($2) per year.

Amended Sec. 4, Ch. 277, Stats. 1999. Effective January 1, 2000.

V C Section 39005 Records


39005.  Cities and counties having a bicycle licensing ordinance or resolution shall maintain records of each bicycle registered. Such records shall include, but not be limited to, the license number, the serial number of the bicycle, the make and type, of the bicycle, and the name and address of the licensee.

Records shall be maintained by the licensing agency during the period of validity of the license or until notification that the bicycle is no longer to be operated.

Amended Ch. 947, Stats. 1973. Effective January 1, 1974.

V C Section 39006 Information Required Upon Retail Sale

Information Required Upon Retail Sale

39006.  (a) Each bicycle retailer and each bicycle dealer shall supply to each purchaser preregistration form provided by the licensing agency and shall include on the sales check or receipt given to the purchaser, a record of the following information: name of retailer, address of retailer, year and make of the bicycle, serial number of bicycle if delivered to the purchaser in an assembled state, general description of the bicycle, name of purchaser, and address of purchaser. A copy of the preregistration form shall be filled out and forwarded by the purchaser to the appropriate licensing agency within 10 days from the date of sale.

(b) For the purposes of this division, a bicycle dealer is any person who sells, gives away, buys, or takes in trade for the purpose of resale, more than five bicycles in any one calendar year, whether or not such bicycles are owned by such person. “Bicycle dealer” also includes agents or employees of such person.

Amended Ch. 1250, Stats. 1975. Effective January 1, 1976.

V C Section 39007 Serial Numbers

Serial Numbers

39007.  After December 31, 1976, no bicycle retailer shall sell any new bicycle in this state unless such bicycle has legibly and permanently stamped or cast on its frame a serial number, no less than one-eighth inch in size, and unique to the particular bicycle of each manufacturer. The serial number only shall be stamped or cast in the head of the frame, either side of the seat tube, the toeplate or the bottom sprocket (crank) housing.
Amended Ch. 1250, Stats. 1975. Effective January 1, 1976.

V C Section 39008 Recordation of Transfer

Recordation of Transfer

39008.  (a) Whenever any person sells or otherwise disposes of a bicycle, he shall endorse upon the registration certificate previously issued for such bicycle a written transfer of same, setting forth the name, address, telephone number of the transferee, date of transfer, and signature of the transferrer, and shall deliver the registration certificate, so endorsed, to the licensing agency within 10 days.

(b) Any person who purchases or otherwise acquires possession of a bicycle shall within 10 days of taking possession apply for the transfer of license to his own name. Cities and counties may establish rules and regulations to govern and enforce the provisions of this section.

Amended Ch. 1250, Stats. 1975. Effective January 1, 1976.

V C Section 39009 Notification of Change of Address Duplicate License or Registration Form

Notification of Change of Address; Duplicate License or Registration Form

39009.  (a) Whenever the owner of a bicycle licensed pursuant to an ordinance or resolution of a city or county changes his address, he shall within 10 days notify the appropriate licensing agency of the old and new address.

(b) In the event that any bicycle license indicia or registration form issued pursuant to the provisions of this division is lost, stolen, or mutilated, the licensee of such bicycle shall immediately notify the licensing agency, and, within 10 days after such notification, shall apply to the licensing agency for a duplicate license indicia or registration form. Thereupon, the licensing agency shall issue to such licensee a replacement indicia or registration form upon payment to the licensing agency of the appropriate fee.

Amended Ch. 1250, Stats. 1975. Effective January 1, 1976.

V C Section 39011 Fines Limitations

Fines: Limitations

39011.  No fine imposed for any violation of an ordinance or resolution, which is adopted pursuant to this division, shall exceed ten dollars ($10).

Amended Ch. 1092, Stats. 1983. Effective September 26, 1983. Operative January 1, 1984.

Portland Business Person Threatens To Seek Bicycle Licensing