What Does the No Seat Bicycles Law (Cvc 21204) Allow Someone to Do?

Title: Understanding California’s No Seat Bicycles Law (CVC 21204): What Does It Allow Someone to Do?


Cycling has long been a popular mode of transportation and recreation in California. However, with the increase in alternative cycling methods, such as electric bicycles, questions can arise regarding the legality and safety of certain practices. In this article, we will delve into California’s No Seat Bicycles Law, also known as CVC 21204, and explore what it allows individuals to do. Additionally, we will address some frequently asked questions to provide a comprehensive understanding of this specific legislation.

Understanding CVC 21204:

California Vehicle Code (CVC) 21204 is a law that pertains to the operation of bicycles without a regular seat. It states that no person shall operate a bicycle unless it is equipped with a seat securely fastened to its frame. However, certain exceptions exist that allow individuals to operate bicycles without a conventional seat under specific circumstances.

1. Riding with a Saddleless Bicycle:

Under CVC 21204, individuals are allowed to operate a bicycle without a conventional seat, commonly known as a saddleless bicycle, if they meet the following requirements:
– The bicycle is designed and manufactured to be ridden without a conventional seat.
– The operator maintains at least one foot on the ground while operating the bicycle.
– The operator is not traveling at a speed greater than walking pace.

2. Participating in Bicycle Races or Competitions:

CVC 21204 also permits individuals to operate bicycles without a seat during organized bicycle races or competitions. However, it is crucial to note that this exception applies exclusively to race participants during the actual event. Outside of these race scenarios, a seat must be securely attached to the bicycle as per the law.

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3. Disabled Individuals:

The law also allows disabled individuals to operate bicycles without a seat if they possess a valid disability placard or a special identification license plate issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). However, it is essential to ensure that the bicycle is designed and manufactured for use by disabled individuals.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Are electric bicycles exempt from CVC 21204?

No, electric bicycles are not exempt from CVC 21204. Regardless of the type of bicycle, all operators must comply with the law and ride with a securely fastened seat unless they meet the specific criteria discussed above.

2. Can I modify my bicycle to ride without a seat?

It is not recommended to modify a conventional bicycle to ride without a seat, as this would violate the law unless it is specifically designed and manufactured for that purpose. Altering a bicycle’s original design may compromise safety and result in legal consequences.

3. Can I ride a saddleless bicycle on the road or bike lanes?

Yes, you can ride a saddleless bicycle on the road or designated bike lanes, provided you adhere to the requirements mentioned earlier. However, it is always advisable to follow local traffic laws and exercise caution to ensure your safety and the safety of others sharing the road.


California’s No Seat Bicycles Law (CVC 21204) regulates the operation of bicycles without conventional seats. By understanding the specific conditions under which riding a saddleless bicycle is permitted, individuals can ensure compliance with the law while enjoying their cycling activities. Remember, safety should always be a top priority, and it is crucial to use good judgment and follow all relevant traffic regulations when cycling.

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