Legal Program & Bike Laws in the U.S

נשלח 16 בינו׳ 2013, 11:32 על ידי Sustainability Org   [ עודכן 16 בינו׳ 2013, 11:33 ]

You know the rules of the road when you’re out riding. Maybe you even teach bike skills as a League Cycling Instructor. But do you know all the bicycling laws in your state?

Since coming to the League in August, I’ve reviewed more than 2,000 laws related to bicycling. From planning and taxation to funding and traffic, I dusted off and dug in to statutes and administrative codes in each and every state. By researching those primary sources and tapping into great resources compiled by bicycling organizations and agencies, I was able to pull together a comprehensive database of laws.

The first product of this research: State-specific highlights of traffic laws that affect bicyclists.

There are plenty of laws shared by all states; and plenty of laws that are intuitive for both bicyclists and other road users. Our highlights focus on eleven categories of laws that most states have, but differ in ways that can have important impacts on bicyclists and other road users.

These highlights are meant to help bicyclists go beyond knowing the rules of the road and understand the laws that are significant to bike advocacy efforts. While not comprehensive, they provide easy access to the laws of all 50 states and the District of Columbia and are supplemented by updated links to comprehensive state and local advocate legal resources.

Throughout my research I found incredible lawyers, legislators, and bike advocates working hard to make sure the law works for bicyclists. Now that we have a large data set regarding laws for bicyclists throughout the country, we will not only be a hub for best practices but work with you to get model, bike-friendly legislation passed in your state. By combining the passion and knowledge of the legal and bicycling community, we hope to not only ensure that you know your rights and responsibilities on the road – but that laws contribute to making biking better.

Look forward to more blog posts highlighting advocate-backed legal innovations and discussing legal issues soon. In the meantime, see how your state stacks up atbikeleague.org/bikelaws.


Legal Program & Bike Laws

Riding a bike is a healthy, fun and safe activity. However, it isn't without some risk. The following information highlights areas of law that may minimize that risk and have the potential to reduce conflicts between bikes and cars (and other traffic).

All laws mentioned here were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change. The laws listed here are for informational purposes only. Please consult your state and local laws in order to determine the laws you are subject to while riding.

Alabama

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Alabama does not have a law that sets a specific distance for a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle. The overtaking of a bicycle by a motor vehicle, or vice versa, is governed by general traffic laws and, in most circumstances, such overtaking must be done to the left at a safe distance.

Source: COA §32-5A-82

Helmet Law

Alabama requires that any person under the age of 16 riding a bicycle, as an operator or passenger, must wear a protective bicycle helmet.

Sources: COA §§32-5A-283; 32-5A-285

Share the Road license plates

Alabama does not offer Share the Road license plates at this time.

Source: N/A

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Alabama does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

Alabama has passed a law prohibiting writing, sending, or reading text messages on an electronic device while operating a motor vehicle. This law has not yet been codified and made available through Alabama's state statute directory, although the law is nevertheless effective.

Source: See Act 2012-291

Where to Ride

Alabama requires that bicyclists ride as far to the right as practicable. Alabama does not provide for any exceptions to that requirement.

Source: Ala. Code §32-5A-263

Sidewalk Riding

Alabama prohibits the driving any vehicle upon a sidewalk or sidewalk area except upon a permanent or duly authorized temporary driveway. This prohibition applies to bicycles since they are defined as vehicles in Alabama and there are no other statutes which authorize the use of bicycles on sidewalks.

Source: Ala. Code §§32-5A-52; 22-27-90

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Alabama requires that wherever a usable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a roadway, bicycle riders shall use such path and shall not use the roadway.

Source: Ala. Code §32-5A-263

Bicycling Under the Influence

In Alabama, bicycles are defined as vehicles. Alabama's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to all vehicles and therefore applies to bicyclists. Bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and operating a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances may result in severe punishments.

Source: Ala. Code §§32-5A-191; 22-27-90

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Alabama does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Alabama does not specifically provide for local authorities to regulate the operation of bicycles or require registration of bicycles, although such authorities may regulate the operation of bicycles through the exercise of their other legal powers.

Source: N/A

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Alabama are generally found in Title 32 of the Code of Alabama (Ala. Code) available here http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/acas/codeofalabama/1975/coatoc.htm.

Other Resources

The Alabama Bicycling Coalition has a compilation of laws relevant to bicycles which provides direct links to the Alabama Code and is more comprehensive than this page, it is available here: http://www.alabike.org/code.html

Alaska

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Alaska does not have a law that sets a specific distance for a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle. The overtaking of a bicycle by a motor vehicle, or vice versa, is governed by general traffic laws and, in most circumstances, such overtaking must be done to the left at a safe distance.

Source: Alaska Admin. Code tit. 13 §02.065

Helmet Law

Alaska has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

Source: N/A

Share the Road license plates

Alaska does not offer Share the Road license plates at this time.

Source: N/A

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Alaska does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

Alaska prohibits the driving of a motor vehicle with an operating video display displaying non-authorized information that is in full view of a driver in a normal driving position while the motor vehicle is being driven. This law has been amended to clarify its application to text messaging while driving and a bill has been passed explicitly prohibiting reading or typing a text message or other non-voice message or communication while driving. The amended language has not yet been codified and made available through Alaska's state statute directory, although the amended language is nevertheless effective.

Source: Alaska Stat. §28.35.161; HB 255 (2012)

Where to Ride

Alaska requires that bicyclists ride as far to the right as practicable. Alaska does not provide for any exceptions to that requirement.

Source: Alaska Admin. Code tit. 13 §02.400

Sidewalk Riding

Alaska generally allows bicycles on sidewalks, but no person may ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk in a business district or where prohibited by an official traffic-control device.

Source: Alaska Admin. Code tit. 13 §02.400(g)

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Alaska requires that when a shoulder of the highway is maintained in good condition, an operator of a bicycle shall use the shoulder of the roadway.

Source: Alaska Admin. Code tit. 13 §02.400

Bicycling Under the Influence

In Alaska, bicycles are defined as vehicles. Alaska's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to only "motor vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft" and therefore does not apply to bicyclists. Nevertheless, bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated.

Source: Alaska Stat. §28.35.030

Right of Way Rules/Idaho Stop

Alaska does not explicitly provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists. However two statutes, when taken together provide for the following:

A driver of a non-motorized vehicle traveling upon a vehicular way or area shall, regardless of whether an official traffic-control device is present, slow to a speed reasonable for the existing conditions and, if required for safety, stop. After slowing or stopping, the driver shall yield the right-of-way to any traffic using a roadway or approaching on another roadway that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.

Source: Alaska Admin. Code tit. 13 §02.482; Alaska Admin. Code tit. 13 §02.130

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Alaska does not specifically provide for local authorities to regulate the operation of bicycles or require registration of bicycles, although such authorities may regulate the operation of bicycles through the exercise of their other legal powers.

Source: N/A

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Alaska are generally found in Title 13, Chapter 2, of the Alaska Administrative Code (Alaska Admin. Code), available here: http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/folioproxy.asp?url=http://wwwjnu01.legis.state.ak.us/cgi-bin/folioisa.dll/aac. This guide also features laws from the Alaska Statutes (Alaska Stat.), available here http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/folio.asp.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Arizona

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change

Safe Passing Laws

Arizona requires that, when overtaking and passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction, a person driving a motor vehicle shall exercise due care by leaving a safe distance between the motor vehicle and the bicycle of not less than three feet until the motor vehicle is safely past the overtaken bicycle.

Source: Ariz. Rev. Stat. §28-735

Helmet Law

Arizona has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

Source: N/A

Share the Road license plates

Arizona does not offer Share the Road license plates at this time.

Source: N/A

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Arizona does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

Arizona does not restrict mobile phone use in a vehicle at this time.

Source: N/A

Where to Ride

Arizona requires that bicyclists ride as far to the right as practicable. However, the law provides for exceptions to this requirement under any of the following situations:

  • If overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
  • If preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
  • If reasonably necessary to avoid conditions, including fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals or surface hazards.
  • If the lane in which the person is operating the bicycle is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

Source: Ariz. Rev. Stat. §28-815(a)

Sidewalk Riding

Arizona does not have a statute that specifically authorizes or prohibits the operation of a bicycle upon a sidewalk. Vehicles are prohibited on sidewalks, but in Arizona, bicycles are not defined as vehicles.

Source: Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§28-904; 28-101

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Arizona does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane. However, Arizona's law requiring three feet between an overtaking motor vehicle and a bicycle provides penalties for a violation of that requirement that results in injury and those penalties do not apply if the bicyclist who is injured was in a vehicular traffic lane when a designated bicycle lane or path is present and passable.

Source: Ariz. Rev. Stat. §28-735

Bicycling Under the Influence

In Arizona, bicycles are not defined as vehicles. Arizona's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to vehicles and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists. Nevertheless bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and a bicyclist may potentially be charged with a DUI because bicyclists are generally subject to the duties applicable to vehicles.

Sources: Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§28-101; 28-1381; 28-812

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Arizona specifically provides that the driver of a vehicle approaching an intersection that has an official traffic control signal that is inoperative shall bring the vehicle to a complete stop before entering the intersection and may proceed with caution only when it is safe to do so.

Source: Ariz. Rev. Stat. §28-645

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Arizona specifically provides that statewide laws do not prohibit a local authority, with respect to streets and highways under its jurisdiction and within the reasonable exercise of the police power, from restricting the use of highways or regulating the operation of bicycles and requiring the registration and licensing of bicycles, including the requirement of a registration fee.

Source: Ariz. Rev. Stat. §28-627

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Arizona are generally found in Title 28 of the Arizona Revised Statutes (Ariz. Rev. Stat.), available here http://www.azleg.state.az.us/ArizonaRevisedStatutes.asp?Title=28.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Arkansas

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Arkansas requires that the driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on a roadway shall exercise due care and pass to the left at a safe distance of not less than three feet and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken bicycle.

Source: Ark. Code Ann. §27-51-311

Helmet Law

Arkansas has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

Source: N/A

Share the Road license plates

Arkansas does not offer Share the Road license plates at this time.

Source: N/A

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Arkansas does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

Arkansas prohibits a driver of a motor vehicle from using a handheld wireless telephone for wireless interactive communication while operating a motor vehicle, except in certain emergency situations. This general prohibition does not prevent the use of hands-free wireless telephone. In addition, Arkansas provides for certain age-based restrictions, subject to an emergency exception:

  • At least 18 but under 21 years of age
    • Cannot use a handheld wireless telephone for wireless interactive communication while operating a motor vehicle
    • May use a hands-free wireless telephone or device for wireless interactive communication while operating a motor vehicle
  • Under 18 years of age
    • Cannot use a wireless telephone for wireless interactive communication while operating a motor vehicle

Sources: Ark. Code Ann. §§27-51-1504; 27-51-1603; 27-51-1604

Where to Ride

Arkansas has no laws that specifically regulate the riding of bicycles on a roadway aside from general traffic laws. Therefore bicycles are to be driven upon the right half of the roadway except under the following circumstances:

  • When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing that movement;
  • When the right half of a roadway is closed to traffic while under construction or repair;
  • Upon a roadway divided into three (3) marked lanes for traffic under the rules applicable thereon; or
  • Upon a roadway designated and signposted for one-way traffic.

Source: Ark. Code Ann. §§27-49-111; 27-51-301

Sidewalk Riding

Arkansas does not have a statute that specifically authorizes or prohibits the operation of a bicycle upon a sidewalk. Certain cities or other localities have ordinances that regulate the operation of a bicycle upon a sidewalk.

Source: Example of City Ordinance = Little Rock City Ordinance § 32-494

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Arkansas does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

In Arkansas, the definition of vehicle excludes bicycles. In addition, Arkansas's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to anyone in actual physical control of a motor vehicle and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists. Nevertheless bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and a bicyclist may potentially be charged with a DUI because bicyclists are generally subject to the duties applicable to vehicles.

Sources: Ark. Code Ann. §§5-65-103; 27-49-219; 27-49-111

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Arkansas does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Arkansas does not specifically provide for local authorities to regulate the operation of bicycles or require registration of bicycles, although such authorities may regulate the operation of bicycles through the exercise of their other legal powers.

Statute: N/A

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Arkansas are generally found in Title 27 of the Arkansas Code of 1987 Annotated Official Edition (Ark. Code Ann.), available here http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/arcode/Default.asp.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

California

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

California does not have a law that sets a specific distance for a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle. The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle or a bicycle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left at a safe distance without interfering with the safe operation of the overtaken vehicle or bicycle.

Source: Cal. Veh. Code §21750

Helmet Law

California requires that any person under the age of 18 riding a bicycle, as an operator or passenger, must wear a protective bicycle helmet.

Source: Cal. Veh. Code §21212

Share the Road license plates

California does not offer Share the Road license plates at this time.

Source: N/A

Vulnerable Road User Laws

California does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

However, any person who throws any substance at a vehicle or any occupant thereof on a highway is guilty of a misdemeanor. In California the definition of vehicle does not include a bicycle, but bicyclists may be protected from thrown substances by being granted all the rights of a driver of a vehicle.

Source: Cal. Veh. Code §§ 23110; 670; 21200

Distracted Driving Laws

California prohibits any person from driving a motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication. Further, a person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving.

In addition there are the following specific restrictions:

  • A person under the age of 18 years shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone, even if equipped with a hands-free device, or while using a mobile service device.
  • A person may not drive a school bus or transit vehicle while using a wireless telephone.

Sources: Cal. Veh. Code §§ 23123; 23123.5; 23124; 23125

Where to Ride

California requires that bicyclists ride as far to the right as practicable. However, the law provides for exceptions to this requirement under any of the following situations:

  • When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
  • When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
  • When reasonably necessary to avoid unsafe conditions subject to the provisions requiring a slow-moving vehicle, behind which five or more vehicles are formed in line, to turn off a roadway in order to permit the vehicles following it to proceed. Unsafe conditions include any lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.
  • When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.

Source: Cal. Veh. Code §21202(a)

Sidewalk Riding

California does not have a statute that specifically authorizes or prohibits the operation of a bicycle upon a sidewalk.

Source: N/A

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

California provides that whenever a bicycle lane has been established on a roadway, any person operating a bicycle upon the roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride within the bicycle lane, except that the person may move out of the lane under any of the following situations:

  • When overtaking and passing another bicycle, vehicle, or pedestrian within the lane or about to enter the lane if the overtaking and passing cannot be done safely within the lane;
  • When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway;
  • When reasonably necessary to leave the bicycle lane to avoid debris or other hazardous conditions; or
  • When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.

Source: Cal. Veh. Code §21208

Bicycling Under the Influence

California specifically provides that it is unlawful for any person to ride a bicycle upon a highway while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or any drug, or under the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and any drug. This offense is separate from the driving under the influence law related to motor vehicles.

Source: Cal. Veh. Code §21200.5

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

California does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

California specifically provides that statewide laws do not prohibit local authorities, by ordinance, from regulating the registration of bicycles and the parking and operation of bicycles on pedestrian or bicycle facilities, provided that such regulation is not in conflict with the provisions of the California Vehicle Code.

Source: Cal. Veh. Code §21206

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of California are generally found in the California Vehicle Code (Cal. Veh. Code), available here http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/vc/tocd11c1a4.htm.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Colorado

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Colorado has codified a three foot passing requirement in three rules to address the variety of circumstances in which a bicyclist may be overtaken by a motorist. These circumstances are:

  • Passing oncoming vehicles
  • Passing to the left
  • Passing to the right

In each case the motorist must maintain at least a three foot distance between the side of their vehicle facing the bicyclist, including all mirrors or other projections, and the bicyclist being overtaken.

Sources: Colo. Rev. Stat. §§42-4-1002; 42-4-1003; 42-4-1004

Helmet Law

Colorado has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

Source: N/A

Share the Road license plates

Colorado, in conjunction with Bicycle Colorado, offers Share the Road license plates. For more information on such plates please visit: http://bicyclecolo.org/articles/share-the-road-plate-info-pg764.htm

Source: Colo. Rev. Stat. §42-3-226

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Colorado does not define who is a "vulnerable road user," but has several statutes aimed at protecting bicyclists specifically. These include:

  • Any person who knowingly projects any object or substance at or against a bicyclist commits a class 2 misdemeanor.
  • Any driver of a motor vehicle who, in a careless and imprudent manner, drives the vehicle unnecessarily close to, toward, or near a bicyclist is guilty of the offense of careless driving, which is a class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense. If the careless driving results in serious injury or death then it is a class 1 misdemeanor traffic offense.

Sources: Colo. Rev. Stat. §§18-9-116; 42-4-1008.5; 42-4-1402

Distracted Driving Laws

Colorado currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • Persons less than eighteen years of age from using a wireless telephone while operating a motor vehicle.
  • Persons eighteen years of age or older are prohibited from using a wireless telephone for the purpose of engaging in text messaging or other similar forms of manual data entry or transmission while operating a motor vehicles.
  • No person shall operate a motor vehicle while wearing earphones, which is defined as a device which provides the listener with radio programs, music, or other recorded information through a device attached to the head and which covers all of or a portion of the ears.

Sources: Colo. Rev. Stat. §§42-4-239; 42-4-1411

Where to Ride

Colorado has some of the most specific laws regarding where a bicyclist should ride, and just as importantly, where a bicyclist should not be obligated to ride in the nation. The general rule is that:

If the right-hand lane then available for traffic is wide enough to be safely shared with overtaking vehicles, a bicyclist shall ride far enough to the right as judged safe by the bicyclist to facilitate the movement of such overtaking vehicles unless other conditions make it unsafe to do so. A bicyclist may use a lane other than the right-hand lane when:

  • Preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private roadway or driveway;
  • Overtaking a slower vehicle; or
  • Taking reasonably necessary precautions to avoid hazards or road conditions.

A bicyclist shall not be expected or required to:

  • Ride over or through hazards at the edge of a roadway, including but not limited to fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or narrow lanes; or
  • Ride without a reasonable safety margin on the right-hand side of the roadway.

Source: Colo. Rev. Stat. §42-4-1412(5)

Sidewalk Riding

Colorado provides that no person shall drive any vehicle other than a bicycle, electric assisted bicycle, or any other human-powered vehicle upon a sidewalk or sidewalk area, except upon a permanent or duly authorized temporary driveway.

In addition, when a person is riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk, pathway or crosswalk the bicyclist shall:

  • Yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian in a manner that is safe for pedestrians.
  • Not ride a bicycle where such use is prohibited by official traffic control devices or local ordinances. A person riding a bicycle shall dismount before entering any crosswalk where required by official traffic control devices or local ordinances.
  • Have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.

Sources: Colo. Rev. Stat. §§42-4-710; 42-4-1412(10)

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Colorado does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

In Colorado, bicycles are defined as vehicles. Colorado's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to all vehicles and therefore applies to bicyclists. Bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and operating a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances may result in severe punishments.

Sources: Colo. Rev. Stat. §§42-4-1301; 42-1-102

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Colorado does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Colorado provides that its traffic laws shall not be deemed to prevent local authorities, with respect to streets and highways under their jurisdiction and within the reasonable exercise of the police power, except those streets and highways that are parts of the state highway system, from regulating the operation of bicycles and requiring the registration and licensing of same, including the requirement of a registration fee, consistent with state traffic laws.

Source: Colo. Rev. Stat. §42-4-111

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Colorado are generally found in the Colorado Revised Statutes (Colo. Rev. Stat.), available here http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/Colorado/.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Connecticut

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Connecticut provides that the driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance and shall not again drive to the right side of the highway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle. A "safe distance" means not less than three feet when the driver of a vehicle overtakes and passes a person riding a bicycle.

Source: Conn. Gen. Stat. §14-232

Helmet Law

Connecticut requires that any person fifteen years of age or under riding a bicycle, as an operator or passenger, must wear a protective bicycle helmet. However, failure to wear protective a protective bicycle helmet as required shall not be considered to be contributory negligence on the part of the parent or the child nor shall such failure be admissible in any civil action.

Source: Conn. Gen. Stat. §14-286d

Share the Road license plates

Connecticut has a law authorizing Share the Road license plates, but they are not currently available through Connecticut's Department of Motor Vehicles website. Money from such plates goes into a fund to enhance public awareness of the rights and responsibilities of bicyclists and motorists and to promote bicycle use and safety. Private donations to the fund may be made through the Commissioner of Transportation. To see current specialty plates please visit: http://www.ct.gov/dmv/cwp/view.asp?a=811&q=276580

Source: Conn. Gen. Stat. §14-21w

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Connecticut does not define who is a "vulnerable road user," but has several statutes aimed at protecting bicyclists specifically. These include:

  • No person operating a vehicle that overtakes and passes a person riding a bicycle proceeding in the same direction shall make a right turn unless the turn can be made with reasonable safety and will not impede the travel of the person riding the bicycle.
  • A surcharge shall be imposed equivalent to one hundred per cent of the fine established or imposed for the violation of certain laws regulating the right of way at intersections when the driver of a vehicle fails to grant or yield the right-of-way to a person riding a bicycle.

Sources: Conn. Gen. Stat. §§14-242(f); 14-212c

Distracted Driving Laws

Connecticut currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • No person shall operate a motor vehicle upon a highway while using a hand-held mobile telephone to engage in a call or while using a mobile electronic device while such vehicle is in motion
    • An operator of a motor vehicle may not type, send or read a text message with a hand-held mobile telephone or mobile electronic device while such vehicle is in motion
  • No person shall use a hand-held mobile telephone or other electronic device, including those with hands-free accessories, or a mobile electronic device while operating a moving school bus that is carrying passengers
  • No person under eighteen years of age shall use any hand-held mobile telephone, including one with a hands-free accessory, or a mobile electronic device while operating a moving motor vehicle on a public highway

Source: Conn. Gen. Stat. §14-296aa

Where to Ride

Connecticut requires that bicyclists ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable. However, the law provides for exceptions to this requirement under any of the following situations:

  • Making a left turn;
  • Overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
  • Overtaking and passing pedestrians, parked vehicles, animals or obstructions on the right side of the highway; and
  • When the right side of the highway is closed to traffic while under construction or repair.

Source: Conn. Gen. Stat. §14-286b

Sidewalk Riding

Connecticut allows bicycles to operate on sidewalks subject to the following rules:

  • Each person operating a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk or across any roadway upon and along a crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal within a reasonable distance before overtaking and passing a pedestrian; and
  • No person shall operate a bicycle upon or along a sidewalk or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk if such operation is prohibited by any ordinance of any city, town or borough or by any regulation of the State Traffic Commission.

Source: Conn. Gen. Stat. §14-286

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Connecticut generally does not require bicycles to use bicycle paths where they are provided. However, bicycles cannot use parkways and other limited access state highways except on paths specifically provided for bicycles.

Source: Office of the State Traffic Administration (OSTA) §14-298-238

Bicycling Under the Influence

In Connecticut, bicycles fall within the definition of a motor vehicle. Connecticut's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to motor vehicles and therefore likely applies to bicyclists. Bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and operating a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances may result in severe punishments.

Sources: Conn. Gen. Stat. §§14-212; 14-227a

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Connecticut does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Connecticut provides that each town, city and borough shall have authority to make any ordinance not inconsistent with state laws respecting governing and controlling the use of bicycles within such town, city or borough. This authority includes creating with appropriate penalties for violation of such ordinances, and may include requiring annual licensing of bicycles and providing for registration of any sale of, or change of ownership in, a bicycle.

Source: Conn. Gen. Stat. §14-289

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Connecticut are generally found in the Connecticut General Statutes (Conn. Gen. Stat.), available here: http://search.cga.state.ct.us/dtsearch_pub_statutes.html.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Delaware

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Delaware provides that the driver of a motor vehicle, when approaching a bicyclist traveling in the same direction, shall ensure the safety and protection of the bicyclist by:

  • If on a roadway having at least 4 lanes with not less than 2 lanes proceeding in the same direction as the approaching vehicle, proceeding with caution and making a lane change into a lane not adjacent to that of the bicyclist, if possible; or
  • Proceeding with caution and reducing the speed of the vehicle to a safe speed and leaving a reasonable and prudent distance by providing a minimum of 3 feet of clearance while passing such bicyclist, if changing lanes would be impossible or unsafe.

Source: Del. Code Ann. tit. 21 §4116

Helmet Law

Delaware requires that any person under the age of 18 riding a bicycle, as an operator or passenger, must wear a protective bicycle helmet. Failure to wear a bicycle helmet shall not be considered evidence of either comparative or contributory negligence in any civil suit arising out of any accident in which a person under 18 years of age is injured, nor shall failure to wear a bicycle helmet be admissible as evidence in the trial of any civil action.

Source: Del. Code Ann. tit. 21 §4198K

Share the Road license plates

Delaware does not offer Share the Road license plates at this time.

Source: N/A

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Delaware defines a "vulnerable user of a public right-of-way" as:

  • A pedestrian, including those persons actually engaged in work upon a highway, or in work upon utility facilities along a highway, or engaged in the provision of emergency services within the right-of-way; or
  • A person riding an animal; or
  • A person operating any of the following on a public right-of-way, crosswalk, or shoulder of the highway:
  • A farm tractor or similar vehicle designed primarily for farm use;
  • A skateboard;
  • Roller skates;
  • In-line skates;
  • A scooter;
  • A moped;
  • A bicycle; or
  • A motorcycle.

Delaware protects vulnerable road users by providing for specific additional penalties for any person found guilty of careless driving if that offense contributed to the serious physical injury of a vulnerable user lawfully in the public right-of-way.

Source: Del. Code Ann. tit. 21 §4176

Distracted Driving Laws

Delaware currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • No driver shall operate a school bus on any highway while using a cell telephone while such vehicle is in motion and such vehicle is transporting 1 or more children; and
  • No person shall drive a motor vehicle on any highway while using an electronic communication device while such motor vehicle is in motion, unless such person uses a hands-free electronic communication device while utilizing hands-free equipment and such person does not hold the hands-free electronic communication device in such person's hand or hands.

Sources: Del. Code Ann. tit. 21 §§4176B; 4176C

Where to Ride

Delaware requires that bicyclists ride as close as practicable to the right-hand edge of the roadway except under any of the following circumstances:

  • When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
  • When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway;
  • When proceeding straight in a right-turn-only lane; or
  • When reasonably necessary to avoid unsafe conditions along the right-hand edge of roadway including a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

Source: Del. Code Ann. tit. 21 §4196

Sidewalk Riding

Delaware allows bicycles to operate on sidewalks subject to the following rules:

  • A person riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk, bicycle path, or across a roadway upon and along crosswalk lawfully used by pedestrians shall give audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian;
  • A person shall not ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk in a business district, when use of a sidewalk is prohibited by official traffic-control devices or when a usable bicycle-only lane has been provided adjacent to the sidewalk;
  • A person shall not ride a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, where such use of bicycles is prohibited by official traffic-control devices; and
  • A person propelling a vehicle by human power upon and along a sidewalk, or pushing a bicycle across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.

Sources: Del. Code Ann. tit. 21 §§4136; 4198B

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Delaware does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

Delaware prohibits any person from riding a bicycle on a roadway while under the influence of intoxicating liquor and/or narcotic drugs to a degree which renders such person a hazard. A person found guilty under this law shall be subject to the following punishments:

  • First offense shall result in a fine of not less than $150 nor more than $1,150
  • Subsequent offenses shall result in neither a fine of not less than $400 nor more than $1,500 or be imprisoned not less than 10 days nor more than 30 days, or both. A subsequent offense must have been committed within 2 years of the prior offense.
  • No violation shall be entered on a driver's motor vehicle record.

Source: Del. Code Ann. tit. 21 §4198J

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Delaware does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Delaware does not specifically provide for local authorities to regulate the operation of bicycles or require registration of bicycles, although such authorities may regulate the operation of bicycles through the exercise of their other legal powers.

Source: N/A

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Delaware are generally found in Title 21, Chapter 41 of the Delaware Code (Del. Code Ann.) available here http://delcode.delaware.gov/index.shtml.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

District of Columbia

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change..

Safe Passing Laws

The District of Columbia provides that a person driving a motor vehicle shall exercise due care by leaving a safe distance, but in no case less than 3 feet, when overtaking and passing a bicycle.

Source: D.C. Code Mun. Regs. tit. 18 §2202.10

Helmet Law

The District of Columbia requires that any person under the age of 16 riding a bicycle, as an operator or passenger, must wear a protective bicycle helmet.

Failure to wear a helmet shall not be considered as evidence of negligence per se, contributory negligence, or assumption of the risk in any civil suit arising out of any accident in which a person under 16 years of age is injured. Failure to wear a helmet shall not be admissible as evidence in the trial of any civil action, nor in any way diminish or reduce the damages recoverable in such action.

Source: D.C. Code §§50-1605; 50-1606

Share the Road license plates

The District of Columbia does not offer Share the Road license plates at this time.

Source: N/A

Vulnerable Road User Laws

The District of Columbia does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

The District of Columbia currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • Distracted driving, meaning inattentive driving while operating a motor vehicle that results in the unsafe operation of the vehicle is prohibited where such inattention is caused by:
  • Reading,
  • Writing,
  • Performing personal grooming,
  • Interacting with pets or unsecured cargo,
  • Using personal communications technologies, or
  • Engaging in any other activity which causes distractions;
  • No person shall use a mobile telephone or other electronic device while operating a moving motor vehicle in the District of Columbia unless the telephone or device is equipped with a hands-free accessory;
  • A person shall not use a mobile telephone or other electronic device, including those with hands-free accessories, while operating a moving school bus that is carrying passengers;
  • A person who holds a learner's permit shall be prohibited from using any mobile telephone or other electronic device, including those with hands-free accessories.

Source: D.C. Code §§50-1731.02; 50-1731.03; 50-1731.04; 50-1731.05

Where to Ride

The District of Columbia does not require that a bicyclist ride as near to the right side of the road as practicable. However, the District of Columbia does require that a person shall operate a bicycle in a safe and non-hazardous manner so as not to endanger himself or herself or any other person. Bicycles are also subject to the rights and duties applicable to vehicles and must therefore drive upon the right half of the roadway, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction.

Source: DMC §§18-1201.2; 18-2201.1

Sidewalk Riding

The District of Columbia allows bicycles to operate on sidewalks subject to the following rules:

  • There shall be no prohibition against any person riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk within the District, so long as the rider does not create a hazard; provided,
  • that no person shall ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk within the Central Business District except on those sidewalks expressly designated by Order of the Mayor,
  • nor shall any person ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk in any area outside of the Central Business District if it is expressly prohibited by Order of the Mayor and appropriate signs to such effect are posted.
  • Any person riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians, and shall travel at a speed no greater than the posted speed limit of the adjacent roadway; provided, that such speed is safe for the conditions then existing on the sidewalk.
  • A person propelling a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk or while crossing a roadway in a crosswalk shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances, except that the bicyclist must yield to pedestrians on the sidewalk or crosswalk.
  • The operator of a bicycle emerging from, or entering an alley, driveway, or building, shall upon approaching a sidewalk, or the sidewalk area extending across any alleyway, yield the right-of-way to all pedestrians approaching on said sidewalk, and upon entering the roadway shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching on said roadway, to the extent necessary to safely enter the flow of traffic.
  • No bicyclist shall suddenly leave a sidewalk and ride into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.

Source: D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 18 §§1201.9-13

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

The District of Columbia does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

In the Official Code of the District of Columbia, bicycles are defined as vehicles. The District of Columbia's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to all vehicles and therefore applies to bicyclists. Bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and operating a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances may result in severe punishments.

Source: D.C. Code §50-2201.05

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

The District of Columbia does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

N/A

Source: N/A

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the District of Columbia are generally found in the District of Columbia Municipal Code (D.C. Mun. Regs.), available here http://www.dcregs.dc.gov/. This guide also features other laws from the District of Columbia Official Code (D.C. Code), available here http://government.westlaw.com/linkedslice/default.asp?SP=DCC-1000.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Florida

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Florida requires the driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle must pass the bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle at a safe distance of not less than 3 feet between the vehicle and the bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle.

Source: Fla. Stat. §316.083

Helmet Law

Florida requires that any person under the age of 16 riding a bicycle, as an operator or passenger, must wear a protective bicycle helmet.

The failure of a person to wear a bicycle helmet or the failure of a parent or guardian to prevent a child from riding a bicycle without a bicycle helmet may not be considered evidence of negligence or contributory negligence.

Source: Fla. Stat. §316.2065

Share the Road license plates

Florida, in conjunction with Bike Florida and Florida Bicycling Association, offers Share the Road license plates. At least 75% of the funds generated by the plates must go to:

  • Education and awareness programs, for bicycle safety and motorist safety, with emphasis on sharing the roadway by all users.
  • Training, workshops, educational materials, and media events.
  • The promotion of safe bicycling.

For more information on such plates please visit: http://www.flhsmv.gov/dmv/specialtytags/miscellaneous/share_the_road.html

Source: Fla. Stat. §320.08058

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Florida does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

Florida currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • No motor vehicle operated on the highways of this state shall be equipped with television-type receiving equipment so located that the viewer or screen is visible from the driver's seat; and
  • No person shall operate a vehicle while wearing a headset, headphone, or other listening device, other than a hearing aid or instrument for the improvement of defective human hearing.

Source: Fla. Stat. §§316.303; 316.304

Where to Ride

Florida requires that bicyclists ride as close as practicable to the right-hand edge of the roadway except under any of the following circumstances:

  • When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
  • When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway;
  • When reasonably necessary to avoid any unsafe condition or potential conflict, including one caused by a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane; or
  • When a bicycle lane is available.

Source: Fla. Stat. §316.2065(5)

Sidewalk Riding

Florida allows bicycles to operate on sidewalks subject to the following rules:

  • A person propelling a vehicle by human power upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances; and
  • A person propelling a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian.

Source: Fla. Stat. §§316.2065(9)-(10)

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Florida requires that any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride in the lane marked for bicycle use if a lane is marked for bicycle use.

Source: Fla. Stat. §316.2065(5)

Bicycling Under the Influence

In Florida, bicycles are defined as vehicles. Florida's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to all vehicles and therefore applies to bicyclists. Bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and operating a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances may result in severe punishments.

Source: Fla. Stat. §§316.193; 316.003

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Florida does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Florida provides that its state traffic laws shall not be deemed to prevent local authorities, with respect to streets and highways under their jurisdiction and within the reasonable exercise of the police power, from regulating the operation of bicycles.

Source: Fla. Stat. §316.008

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Florida are generally found in Title XXIII of the Florida Statutes (Fla. Stat.), available here http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Georgia

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change..

Safe Passing Laws

Georgia requires that, when feasible, the operator of a motor vehicle, when overtaking and passing a bicycle that is proceeding in the same direction on the roadway, shall leave a safe distance of not less than three feet between such vehicle and the bicycle and shall maintain such clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle.

Source: Ga. Code Ann. §40-6-56

Helmet Law

Georgia requires that any person under the age of 16 riding a bicycle, as an operator or passenger, must wear a protective bicycle helmet.

In addition no person shall transport a child under the age of one year as a passenger on a bicycle except on a bicycle trailer or in an infant sling and such child transported in a bicycle trailer or infant sling is wearing a bicycle helmet.

The failure to wear a helmet as specified above shall not constitute negligence per se nor contributory negligence per se or be considered evidence of negligence or liability.

Source: Ga. Code Ann. §§40-6-296; 40-6-292

Share the Road license plates

Georgia, in conjunction with Georgia Bikes!, offers Share the Road license plates. For more information on such plates please visit: http://georgiabikes.org/index.php/support/share-the-road-car-tag

Source: N/A

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Georgia does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

Georgia currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • The driver of a school bus shall not use or operate a cellular telephone while the bus is in motion;
  • No person who has an instruction permit or a Class D license and is under 18 years of age shall operate a motor vehicle on any public road or highway of this state while engaging in a wireless communication using a wireless telecommunications device; and
  • No person who is 18 years of age or older or who has a Class C license shall operate a motor vehicle on any public road or highway of this state while using a wireless telecommunications device to write, send, or read any text based communication, including but not limited to a text message, instant message, e-mail, or Internet data.

Source: Ga. Code Ann. §§40-6-165(e); 40-6-241.1; 40-6-241.2

Where to Ride

Georgia requires that every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, except under any of the following circumstances:

  • When turning left or avoiding hazards to safe cycling,
  • When the lane is too narrow to share safely with a motor vehicle,
  • When traveling at the same speed as traffic, or
  • While exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.

Every person operating a bicycle away from the right side of the roadway shall exercise reasonable care and shall give due consideration to the other applicable rules of the road.

Source: Ga. Code Ann. §40-6-294

Sidewalk Riding

In Georgia, bicycles are defined as vehicles. Except as provided by resolution or ordinance of a local government for sidewalks within the jurisdiction of such local government authorizing the operation of bicycles on sidewalks by persons 12 years of age or younger, no person shall drive any vehicle upon a sidewalk or sidewalk area except upon a permanent or duly authorized driveway.

Source: Ga. Code Ann. §§40-6-144; 40-1-1

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Georgia requires that whenever a usable path has been provided adjacent to a roadway and designated for the exclusive use of bicycle riders, then the appropriate governing authority may require that bicycle riders use such path and not use those sections of the roadway as specified by such local governing authority.

The governing authority may be petitioned to remove restrictions upon demonstration that the path has become inadequate due to capacity, maintenance, or other causes. Paths shall at a minimum be required to meet accepted guidelines, recommendations, and criteria with respect to planning, design, operation, and maintenance as set forth by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, and such paths shall provide accessibility to destinations equivalent to the use of the roadway.

Source: Ga. Code Ann. §§40-6-294(c) & (d)

Bicycling Under the Influence

In Georgia, bicycles are defined as vehicles. Georgia's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to all vehicles and therefore applies to bicyclists. Bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and operating a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances may result in severe punishments.

Source: Ga. Code Ann. §§40-6-391; 40-1-1

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Georgia does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Georgia provides that its state traffic laws shall not be deemed to prevent local authorities with respect to streets and highways under their jurisdiction and within the reasonable exercise of the police power from requiring the registration and inspection of bicycles, including the requirement of a registration fee.

Source: Ga. Code Ann. §40-6-371

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Georgia are generally found in the Georgia Code (Ga. Code Ann.), available here http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/gacode/.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Hawaii

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Hawaii does not have a law that sets a specific distance for a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle. The overtaking of a bicycle by a motor vehicle, or vice versa, is governed by general traffic laws and, in most circumstances, such overtaking must be done to the left at a safe distance.

Source: Haw. Rev. Stat. §291C-43

Helmet Law

Hawaii requires that any person under the age of 16 who operates a bicycle must wear a protective bicycle helmet. The helmet requirement also apply to any person who rides upon a bicycle while in a restraining seat that is attached to the bicycle or who rides in a trailer towed by the bicycle.

Hawaii does not have a law prohibiting the failure to wear a helmet from being used against a bicyclist injured in a traffic accident. However, at least one court case has found the nonuse of a helmet not admissible.

Source: Haw. Rev. Stat. §291C-150; 74 H. 308, 844 P.2d 670

Share the Road license plates

Hawaii does not offer Share the Road license plates at this time.

Source: N/A

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Hawaii does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

Hawaii currently has no laws to prevent or punish distracted driving.

Source: N/A

Where to Ride

Hawaii requires that every bicyclist shall ride as near to the right-hand curb, on the edge of the roadway, or on the shoulder off of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction; except under any of the following situations:

  • When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway, except where prohibited by official traffic-control devices;
  • When reasonably necessary to avoid unsafe conditions including those caused by a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side-by-side within the lane; or
  • When a roadway is designated and signposted to carry traffic in one direction only and has two or more marked traffic lanes, in which case a bicyclist may ride as near to the left-hand curb, on the edge of the roadway, or on the shoulder off of such roadway as practicable.

Source: Haw. Rev. Stat. §291C-145

Sidewalk Riding

Hawaii provides that unless otherwise prohibited, a bicycle may be driven at a speed of ten miles per hour or less on a sidewalk or sidewalk area; provided that the driver of the bicycle shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and that bicycle riding shall be prohibited on sidewalks in business districts.

No person shall ride a bicycle equipped with a motor on any sidewalk.

Source: Haw. Rev. Stat. §§291C-148; 291C-145(g)

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Hawaii requires that whenever a usable bicycle lane has been provided on a highway, any person operating a bicycle at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at such time shall ride within such bicycle lane, except that such person may move out of the lane under any of the following situations:

  • When overtaking and passing another bicycle, vehicle, or pedestrian within the lane or about to enter the lane if such overtaking and passing cannot be done safely within the lane;
  • When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway; or
  • When reasonably necessary to leave the bicycle lane to avoid debris or other hazardous conditions.

Source: Haw. Rev. Stat. §291C-145(c)

Bicycling Under the Influence

In Hawaii, bicycles are defined as vehicles. Hawaii's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to all vehicles and therefore applies to bicyclists. Bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and operating a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances may result in severe punishments.

Source: Haw. Rev. Stat. §291E-61

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Hawaii does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Hawaii provides that its state traffic laws shall not be deemed to prevent counties with respect to streets and highways under their jurisdiction from regulating the operation and equipment of and requiring the registration and inspection of bicycles, including the requirement of a registration fee.

Source: Haw. Rev. Stat. §291C-163

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Hawaii are generally found in the Hawaii Revised Statutes (Haw. Rev. Stat.), available here http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Idaho

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Idaho does not have a law that sets a specific distance for a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle. The overtaking of a bicycle by a motor vehicle, or vice versa, is governed by general traffic laws and, in most circumstances, such overtaking must be done to the left at a safe distance.

Source: Idaho Code Ann. §49-632

Helmet Law

Idaho has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

Source: N/A

Share the Road license plates

Idaho does not offer Share the Road license plates at this time.

Source: N/A

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Idaho does not define who is a "vulnerable road user," but requires that every driver of a vehicle exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or any person propelling a human-powered vehicle and give an audible signal when necessary. In addition, every driver must exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused, incapacitated or intoxicated person.

Source: Idaho Code Ann. §49-615

Distracted Driving Laws

Idaho currently prohibits texting while driving a moving motor vehicle, unless accomplished voice or a hands free device.

Source: Idaho Code Ann. §49-1401A

Where to Ride

Idaho requires that bicyclists ride as close as practicable to the right-hand edge of the roadway except under any of the following circumstances:

  • When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
  • When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway;
  • When reasonably necessary to avoid unsafe conditions including those caused by substandard width lanes that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge; or
  • When a one-way roadway with two or more marked traffic lanes, in which case a bicyclist may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of the roadway as practicable.

Source: Idaho Code Ann. §49-717

Sidewalk Riding

Idaho allows bicycles to operate on sidewalks subject to the following rules:

  • A person operating a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a highway upon and along a crosswalk, shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian, and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian or another bicyclist; and
  • A person shall not operate a bicycle along and upon a sidewalk or across a highway upon and along a crosswalk, where the use of bicycles is prohibited by official traffic control devices.

Source: Idaho Code Ann. §49-721

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Idaho does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

In Idaho, bicycles are defined as vehicles. Idaho's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to motor vehicles. However, motor vehicles and vehicles are defined to be the same under Idaho law and therefore Idaho's DUI law applies to bicycles. Bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and operating a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances may result in severe punishments.

Source: Idaho Code Ann. §§18-8004; 49-114; 49-123

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Idaho has modified its laws to accommodate bicyclists approaching stop signs and red lights as follows:

  • A bicyclist approaching a stop sign must slow down and, if required for safety, stop before entering the intersection.
  • After slowing or stopping, the bicyclist shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another highway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard; and
  • A bicyclist may, after slowing to a reasonable speed and yielding the right-of-way if required, cautiously make a turn or proceed through the intersection without stopping.
  • A bicyclist approaching a steady red traffic control light shall stop before entering the intersection and shall yield to all other traffic.
  • Once the person has yielded, he may proceed through the steady red light with caution;
  • However, a person making a right-hand turn must only slow to a reasonable speed and yield the right-of-way if required before cautiously making such a turn; and
  • A left-hand turn onto a one-way highway may be made on a red light after stopping and yielding to other traffic.

Source: Idaho Code Ann. §49-720

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Idaho does not specifically provide for local authorities to regulate the operation of bicycles or require registration of bicycles, although such authorities may regulate the operation of bicycles through the exercise of their other legal powers.

Source: N/A

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Idaho are generally found in Title 49, Chapter 7 of the Idaho Code (Idaho Code Ann.), available here http://legislature.idaho.gov/idstat/TOC/IDStatutesTOC.htm.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Illinois

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Illinois requires that the operator of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on a highway shall leave a safe distance, but not less than 3 feet, when passing the bicycle and shall maintain that distance until safely past the overtaken bicycle.

Source: 625 Ill. Comp. Stat. §11-703(d)

Helmet Law

Illinois has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

Source: N/A

Share the Road license plates

Illinois, in conjunction with the League of Illinois Bicyclists, offers Share the Road license plates. For more information on such plates please visit: http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/vehicles/license_plate_guide/sharetheroad.html.

Source: 625 Ill. Comp. Stat. §3-689

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Illinois does not define who is a "vulnerable road user," but protects bicyclists by providing that:

  • A person driving a motor vehicle shall not, in a reckless manner, drive the motor vehicle unnecessarily close to, toward, or near a bicyclist, pedestrian, or a person riding a horse or driving an animal drawn vehicle; and
  • If found guilty, shall be punished with:
    • A Class A misdemeanor if the violation does not result in great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement to another; or
    • A Class 3 felony if the violation results in great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement to another.

Source: 625 Ill. Comp. Stat. §11-703(e)

Distracted Driving Laws

: Illinois currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • A person under the age of 19 years who holds an instruction permit, or a person under the age of 19 years who holds a graduated license, may not drive a vehicle on a roadway while using a wireless phone;
  • A person, regardless of age, may not use a wireless telephone at any time while operating a motor vehicle on a roadway in a school speed zone, or in a roadway work zone;
  • A person may not operate a motor vehicle on a roadway while using an electronic communication device to compose, send, or read an electronic message;
  • A school bus driver may not operate a school bus while using a cellular radio telecommunication device; and
  • A commercial motor vehicle operator may not use a hand-held mobile phone or engage in texting while driving

Source: 625 Ill. Comp. Stat. §§12-610.1; 12-610.2; 12-813.1; Public Act 097-0829

Illinois requires that bicyclists ride as close as practicable to the right-hand edge of the roadway except under any of the following circumstances:

  • When overtaking and passing another bicycle, motorized pedal cycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
  • When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway; or
  • When reasonably necessary to avoid unsafe conditions including those caused by a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle or motorized pedal cycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane;
  • When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized; or
  • When upon a one-way highway with two or more marked traffic lanes, in which case a bicyclist may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of such roadway as practicable.

Source: 625 Ill. Comp. Stat. §11-1505

Sidewalk Riding

Illinois allows bicycles to operate on sidewalks subject to the following rules:

  • A person propelling a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall yield the right of way to any pedestrian and shall give audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian;
  • A person shall not ride a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, where such use of bicycles is prohibited by official traffic-control devices; and
  • A person propelling a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.

Source: 625 Ill. Comp. Stat. §11-1512

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Illinois does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

In Illinois, bicycles are not defined as vehicles. Illinois's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to vehicles and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists. Nevertheless bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and a bicyclist may potentially be charged with a DUI because bicyclists are subject to the duties applicable to vehicles.

Source: 625 Ill. Comp. Stat. §§11-501; 1-217

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Generally, Illinois does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

However, in municipalities with less than 2,000,000 inhabitants, after stopping as required, a bicyclist facing a steady red signal which fails to change to a green signal within a reasonable period of time (not less than 120 seconds) because of a signal malfunction or because the signal has failed to detect the arrival of the motorcycle or bicycle due to the vehicle's size or weight, shall have the right to proceed, after yielding the right of way to oncoming traffic facing a green signal, subject to the rules applicable after making a stop at a stop sign.

Source: 625 Ill. Comp. Stat. §11-306(3.5)

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Illinois provides that its state traffic laws shall not be deemed to prevent local authorities with respect to streets and highways under their jurisdiction and within the reasonable exercise of the police power from regulating the operation of bicycles and requiring the registration and licensing of same, including the requirement of a registration fee

Source: 625 Ill. Comp. Stat. §11-208

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Illinois are generally found in the Illinois Vehicle Code which is found in Chapter 625 Section 5 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes (Ill. Comp. Stat.), available here http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=1815&ChapterID=49.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Indiana

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Indiana does not have a law that sets a specific distance for a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle. The overtaking of a bicycle by a motor vehicle, or vice versa, is governed by general traffic laws and, in most circumstances, such overtaking must be done to the left at a safe distance.

Source: Ind. Code §9-21-8-5

Helmet Law

Indiana has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

Source: N/A

Share the Road license plates

Indiana, in conjunction with the Indiana Bicycle Coalition, offers Share the Road license plates. For more information on such plates please visit: http://www.in.gov/bmv/2778.htm

Source: N/A

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Indiana does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

Indiana currently has the following law aimed at distracted driving:

  • A person may not use a telecommunications device to:
    • type a text message or an electronic mail message;
    • transmit a text message or an electronic mail message; or
    • read a text message or an electronic mail message; while operating a moving motor vehicle unless the device is used in conjunction with hands free or voice operated technology, or unless the device is used to call 911 to report a bona fide emergency.

Source: Ind. Code §9-21-8-59

Where to Ride

Indiana requires that bicyclists ride as close as practicable to the right-hand edge of the roadway except under any of the following circumstances:

  • When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction; or
  • When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

Source: Ind. Code §9-21-8-2

Sidewalk Riding

Indiana does not have a statute that specifically authorizes or prohibits the operation of a bicycle upon a sidewalk.

Source: N/A

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Indiana does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

Indiana's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to vehicles and bicycles are defined as vehicles for the purpose of that law. Bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and operating a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances may result in severe punishments.

Source: Ind. Code §§9-30-5-1; 9-30-5-2; 9-13-2-196(f)

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Indiana does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Indiana specifically authorizes that a local authority, with respect to private roads and highways under the authority's jurisdiction and within the reasonable exercise of the police power, may regulate the operation of bicycles and require the registration and licensing of bicycles, including the requirement of a registration fee.

Source: Ind. Code §9-21-1-3

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Indiana are generally found in Title 9, Article 21 of the Indiana Code (Ind. Code), available here http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/code/title9/.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Iowa

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Iowa does not have a law that sets a specific distance for a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle. The overtaking of a bicycle by a motor vehicle, or vice versa, is governed by general traffic laws and, in most circumstances, such overtaking must be done to the left at a safe distance.

Source: Iowa Code §321.299

Helmet Law

Iowa has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

Source: N/A

Share the Road license plates

Iowa, in conjunction with the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, offers Share the Road license plates. For more information on such plates please visit: http://www.iowadot.gov/mvd/ovs/plates/share.htm

Source: N/A

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Iowa does not define who is a "vulnerable road user," but protects bicyclists by providing that:

  • A person operating a motor vehicle shall not steer the motor vehicle unreasonably close to or toward a person riding a bicycle on a highway, including the roadway or the shoulder adjacent to the roadway; and
  • A person shall not knowingly project any object or substance at or against a person riding a bicycle on a highway.

A person who commits either above offense commits a simple misdemeanor.

Source: Iowa Code §321.281

Distracted Driving Laws

Iowa currently has the following law aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • A person shall not use a hand-held electronic communication device to write, send, or read a text message while driving a motor vehicle unless the motor vehicle is at a complete stop off the traveled portion of the roadway.

Source: Iowa Code §321.276

Where to Ride

Iowa requires that bicyclists ride as close as practicable to the right-hand edge of the roadway except under any of the following circumstances:

  • When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction; or
  • When preparing for a left turn at an intersection, an alley, private road or driveway.

Source: Iowa Code §321.297

Sidewalk Riding

Iowa does not have a statute that specifically authorizes or prohibits the operation of a bicycle upon a sidewalk.

Source: N/A

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Iowa does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

In Iowa, bicycles are not defined as vehicles. Iowa's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to motor vehicles and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists. Nevertheless bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated.

Source: Iowa Code §§321J.2; 321.1(42)

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Iowa does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Iowa provides that its state traffic laws shall not be deemed to prevent local authorities, with respect to streets and highways under their jurisdiction and within the reasonable exercise of the police power, from regulating the operation of bicycles and requiring the registration and licensing of the same, including the requirement of a registration fee. However, the regulations shall not conflict with relevant state laws regarding the operation of bicycles.

Source: Iowa Code §321.236

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Iowa are generally found in Title VIII, Chapter 321 of the Iowa Code (Iowa Code), available here http://search.legis.state.ia.us/nxt/gateway.dll/ic?f=templates&fn=default.htm.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Kansas

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Kansas requires that the driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left thereof at a distance of not less than three feet and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken bicycle. In addition, the driver of a vehicle may pass a bicycle proceeding in the same direction in a no-passing zone with the duty to execute the pass only when it is safe to do so.

Source: Kan. Stat. Ann. §8-1516(c)

Helmet Law

Kansas has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

Source: N/A

Share the Road license plates

Kansas does not offer Share the Road license plates at this time.

Source: N/A

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Kansas does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

Kansas currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • No person shall operate a motor vehicle on a public road or highway while using a wireless communications device to write, send or read a written communication;
  • An instruction permit holder shall not operate a wireless communication device while driving a passenger car;
  • A farm permit holder shall not operate a wireless communication device while driving a motor vehicle; and
  • Any licensee issued a restricted license shall not operate a wireless communication device while driving a motor vehicle.

Source: Kan. Stat. Ann. §§8-15,111; 8-2,100; 8-296; 8-2,101

Where to Ride

Kansas requires that bicyclists ride as close as practicable to the right-hand edge of the roadway except under any of the following circumstances:

  • When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
  • When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway;
  • When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions, including those caused by narrow lanes, that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand edge of the roadway; or
  • When operating upon a one-way highway with two or more marked traffic lanes, in which case a bicyclist may ride as near to the left side of the roadway as practicable.

Source: Kan. Stat. Ann. §8-1590

Sidewalk Riding

Kansas does not have a statute that specifically authorizes or prohibits the operation of a bicycle upon a sidewalk.

Source: N/A

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Kansas requires that wherever a usable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a roadway, bicycle riders shall use such path and shall not use the roadway.

Source: Kan. Stat. Ann. §8-1590(d)

Bicycling Under the Influence

In Kansas, bicycles are not defined as vehicles. Kansas's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to vehicles and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists.

Nevertheless bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and a bicyclist may potentially be charged with a DUI because bicyclists are subject to the duties applicable to vehicles.

Source: Kan. Stat. Ann. §§8-1567; 8-126; 8-1587

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Generally, Kansas does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

However, a bicyclist facing any steady red signal, which fails to change to a green light within a reasonable period of time because of a signal malfunction or because the signal has failed to detect the arrival of the bicycle because of its size or weight, shall have the right to proceed in the following manner:

  • After stopping, the rider shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in or near the intersection or approaching on a roadway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard; and
  • Such bicycle traffic shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk and to other traffic lawfully using the intersection.

Source: Kan. Stat. Ann. §8-1508(c)(4)

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Kansas provides that its state traffic laws shall not be deemed to prevent local authorities with respect to streets and highways under their jurisdiction and within the reasonable exercise of the police power from regulating the operation of bicycles and requiring the registration and inspection of same, including the requirement of a registration fee.

Source: Kan. Stat. Ann. §8-2002

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Kansas are generally found in Chapter 8, Article 15 of the Kansas Statutes Annotated (Kan. Stat. Ann.), available here http://kslegislature.org/li/b2011_12/statute/. Â

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Kentucky

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Kentucky does not have a law that sets a specific distance for a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle. The overtaking of a bicycle by a motor vehicle, or vice versa, is governed by general traffic laws and, in most circumstances, such overtaking must be done to the left of them and the vehicle cannot return to the right until reasonably clear of the overtaken vehicle.

Source: Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §189.340

Helmet Law

Kentucky has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

Source: N/A

Share the Road license plates

Kentucky offers Share the Road license plates. For more information on such plates please visit: http://mvl.ky.gov/MVLWeb/PIServlet?PlateId=7D&PersonalizeIndicator=Y

Source: Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §186.164; 601 KAR 14:030

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Kentucky does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

Kentucky currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • No person shall, while operating a motor vehicle that is in motion on the traveled portion of a roadway, write, send, or read text-based communication using a personal communication device to manually communicate with any person using text-based communication; and
  • Any person under the age of eighteen (18) who has been issued an instruction permit, intermediate license, or operator's license shall not operate a motor vehicle, motorcycle, or moped that is in motion on the traveled portion of a roadway while using a personal communication device.

Source: Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§189.292; 189.294

Where to Ride

Kentucky requires that the operator of any vehicle moving slowly upon a highway must keep his vehicle as closely as practicable to the right-hand boundary of the highway, allowing more swiftly moving vehicles reasonably free passage to the left.

Source: Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §189.300

Sidewalk Riding

Kentucky does not have a statute that specifically authorizes or prohibits the operation of a bicycle upon a sidewalk.

Source: N/A

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Kentucky requires that if a highway lane is marked for the exclusive use of bicycles, the operator of a bicycle shall use the lane whenever feasible.

Source: 601 KAR 14:020 §9(2)

Bicycling Under the Influence

Kentucky specifically prohibits a person under the influence of intoxicating beverages or any substance which may impair one's driving ability from operate a vehicle that is not a motor vehicle. Further, the law states that no peace officer or State Police officer shall fail to rigidly enforce this law.

The following presumptions apply based on a person's blood alcohol concentration:

  • If there was an alcohol concentration of less than 0.05, it shall be presumed that the defendant was not under the influence of alcohol;
  • If there was an alcohol concentration of 0.05 or greater but less than 0.08, such fact shall not constitute a presumption that the defendant either was or was not under the influence of alcohol, but such fact may be considered, together with other competent evidence, in determining the guilt or innocence of the defendant; and
  • If there was an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, it shall be presumed that the defendant was under the influence of alcohol.

Source: Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §189.520

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Kentucky does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Kentucky provides that regulations promulgated by the Transportation Cabinet pre-empt municipal and other local government regulations concerning safety equipment but not method of operation.

Source: Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §189.287

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Kentucky are generally found in the Kentucky Administrative Code (KAR), available here: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/kar/frntpage.htm. Laws regulating vehicles are also generally applicable to bicycles and are found in the Kentucky Revised Statutes (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann.), available here: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/search.htm.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Louisiana

Safe Passing Laws

Louisiana requires that the operator of a motor vehicle, when overtaking and passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on the roadway, shall exercise due care while the motor vehicle is passing the bicycle and shall leave a safe distance between the motor vehicle and the bicycle of not less than three feet and shall maintain such clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle. An operator of a motor vehicle may pass a bicycle traveling in the same direction in a no-passing zone only when it is safe to do so.

Source: La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §32:76.1

Helmet Law

Louisiana requires that any person under the age of 12 riding a bicycle, as an operator or passenger, must wear a protective bicycle helmet.

The issuance of a citation for failure to wear a required helmet shall not be prima facie evidence of negligence. The comparative negligence statutes of Louisiana shall apply in these cases as in all other cases of negligence.

Source: La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §32:199

Share the Road license plates

Louisiana offers Share the Road license plates. For more information on such plates please visit: http://web01.dps.louisiana.gov/omv1.nsf/58c968bd569b099986256cdc000806eb/2f7d84fe6d8a49ab862578a8005d4e96?OpenDocument

Source: La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §463.148

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Louisiana does not define who is a "vulnerable road user," but protects bicyclists by providing that:

  • It shall be unlawful to harass, taunt, or maliciously throw objects at or in the direction of any person riding a bicycle; and
    • Any person convicted of the above offense shall be fined not less than two hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than thirty days.

Source: La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §32:201

Distracted Driving Laws

Louisiana currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • No person shall operate any motor vehicle upon any public road or highway of this state while using a wireless telecommunications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication;
  • No person who holds a Class "E" learner's license or intermediate license shall operate a motor vehicle on any public road or highway of this state while using any wireless telecommunications device to engage in a call, unless the wireless telecommunications device is a hands-free wireless telephone; and
  • No person who is seventeen years of age or younger shall operate a motor vehicle on any public road or highway in this state while using any wireless telecommunications device to engage in a call or write, send or read a text-based communication.

Source: La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§32:300.5; 32:300.6; 32:300.7

Where to Ride

Louisiana requires that bicyclists ride as close as practicable to the right-hand edge of the roadway except under any of the following circumstances:

  • When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
  • When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway;
  • When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, including a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane;
  • When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized; and
  • When operating upon a roadway or a highway, where there are two or more marked traffic lanes and traffic travels in only one direction, in which case a bicyclist may ride as near the left-hand curb or shoulder of that roadway as practicable when preparing for a left turn.

Source: La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §32:197

Sidewalk Riding

Louisiana does not have a statute that specifically authorizes or prohibits the operation of a bicycle upon a sidewalk.

Source: N/A

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Louisiana does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

In Louisiana, bicycles are not defined as vehicles. Louisiana's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to vehicles and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists.

However, Louisiana also has a law that makes it a crime to operate any other means of conveyance while intoxicated. Bicyclists may be punished under this separate law.

Source: La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§32: 661; 14:98

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Louisiana does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Louisiana provides that its state traffic laws shall not be deemed to prevent local municipal authorities, with respect to highways other than state maintained highways within their corporate limits, from adopting ordinances requiring the registration and licensing of bicycles, including the requirement of a registration fee.

Source: La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §32:41

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Louisiana are generally found in Title 32 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes (La. Rev. Stat. Ann.), available here: http://www.legis.state.la.us/lss/search.htm.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Maine

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Maine requires that an operator of a motor vehicle that is passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction shall exercise due care by leaving a distance between the motor vehicle and the bicycle of not less than 3 feet while the motor vehicle is passing the bicycle. A motor vehicle operator may pass a bicycle traveling in the same direction in a no-passing zone only when it is safe to do so.

Source: Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 29-A §2070

Helmet Law

Maine requires that any person under the age of 16 riding a bicycle, as an operator or passenger, must wear a protective bicycle helmet.

In an accident involving a bicycle, the nonuse of a helmet by the operator or passenger is not admissible as evidence in a civil or criminal trial.

Source: Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 29-A §§2323; 2328

Share the Road license plates

Maine does not offer Share the Road license plates at this time.

Source: N/A

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Maine does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

Maine currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • A person who has not attained 18 years of age may not operate a motor vehicle while using a mobile telephone or handheld electronic device.
  • A person may be convicted of failure to maintain control of a motor vehicle found to be operating the vehicle, while engaged in an activity:
    • That is not necessary to the operation of the vehicle;
    • That actually impairs, or would reasonably be expected to impair, the ability of the person to safely operate the vehicle; and
    • That person violates certain other traffic laws or is engaged in a reportable accident.
  • A person may not operate a motor vehicle while engaging in text messaging.

Source: Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 29-A §§2116; 2118; 2119

Where to Ride

Maine requires that a person operating a bicycle shall drive on the right portion of the way as far as practicable except when it is unsafe to do so or:

  • When overtaking and passing another roller skier, bicycle or other vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
  • When preparing for or making a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway;
  • When proceeding straight in a place where right turns are permitted; and
  • When necessary to avoid hazardous conditions, including those caused by a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle or roller skier and a vehicle to travel safely side by side in the lane.

Source: Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 29-A §2063

Sidewalk Riding

Maine does not have a statute that specifically authorizes or prohibits the operation of a bicycle upon a sidewalk.

Source: N/A

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Maine does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

In Maine, bicycles are not defined as vehicles. Maine's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to motor vehicles and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists. Nevertheless bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated.

Source: Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 29-A §§2411; 101

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Maine does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Maine specifically provides that its traffic law governing where a bicycle should ride does not apply in a municipality that, by ordinance approved by the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Transportation, makes other provisions regarding the operating location of a bicycle on a roadway.

Source: Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 29-A §2063

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Maine are generally found in Title 29-A of the Maine Revised Statutes (Me. Rev. Stat.), available here: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/statutes/search.htm.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Maryland

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Maryland does not have a law that sets a specific distance for a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle. The overtaking of a bicycle by a motor vehicle, or vice versa, is governed by general traffic laws and, in most circumstances, such overtaking must be done to the left at a safe distance.

Source: Md. Code Ann., Transp. §21-303

Helmet Law

Maryland requires that any person under the age of 16 riding a bicycle, as an operator or passenger, must wear a protective bicycle helmet.

Source: Md. Code Ann., Transp. §21-1207.1

Share the Road license plates

Maryland, in conjunction with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, offers Share the Road license plates. For more information on such plates please visit: http://www.waba.org/get_involved/md_license_plates.php

Source: Md. Code Ann., Transp. §13-619

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Maryland does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

Maryland currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • An individual who is under the age of 18 years may not use a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle;
  • An individual may not use a text messaging device to write, send, or read a text message or an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle in the travel portion of the roadway;
  • A driver of a Class H (school) vehicle may not use a handheld telephone while operating a motor vehicle that is carrying passengers and in motion; and
  • A holder of a learner's instructional permit or a provisional driver's license who is 18 years of age or older may not use a handheld telephone while operating a motor vehicle; and
  • A person may not drive a motor vehicle on a highway if the motor vehicle is equipped with television-type receiving equipment or video display equipment that is turned on and displaying an image visible to the driver.

Source: Md. Code Ann., Transp. §§21-1124; 21-1124.1; 21-1124.2; 21-1129

Where to Ride

Maryland requires that a bicyclist ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable and safe, except when:

  • Making or attempting to make a left turn;
  • Operating on a one-way street;
  • Passing a stopped or slower moving vehicle;
  • Avoiding pedestrians or road hazards;
  • The right lane is a right turn only lane; or
  • Operating in a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle or motor scooter and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

Source: Md. Code Ann., Transp. §21-1205

Sidewalk Riding

Maryland generally prohibits the operation of vehicles on sidewalks, but specifically provides that where allowed by local ordinance, a person may ride a bicycle on a sidewalk or sidewalk area. In addition, at a place where a person may ride a bicycle on a sidewalk or sidewalk area, a person may also ride a bicycle on a crosswalk.

Source: Md. Code Ann., Transp. §21-1103

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Maryland requires that where there is a bike lane paved to a smooth surface, a person operating a bicycle shall use the bike lane and may not ride on the roadway, except in the following situations:

  • When overtaking and passing another bicycle, pedestrian, or other vehicle within the bike lane if the overtaking and passing cannot be done safely within the bike lane;
  • When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway;
  • When reasonably necessary to leave the bike lane to avoid debris or other hazardous condition; or
  • When reasonably necessary to leave the bike lane because the bike lane is overlaid with a right turn lane, merge lane, or other marking that breaks the continuity of the bike lane.

In addition, a person operating a bicycle may not leave a bike lane until the movement can be made with reasonable safety and then only after giving an appropriate signal.

Source: Md. Code Ann., Transp. §21-1205.1

Bicycling Under the Influence

In Maryland, bicycles are defined as vehicles. Maryland's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to all vehicles and therefore applies to bicyclists. Bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and operating a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances may result in severe punishments.

Source: Md. Code Ann., Transp. §§21-902; 11-176

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Maryland does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Maryland provides that its state traffic laws do not prevent a local authority, in the reasonable exercise of its police power, from regulating the operation of bicycles, requiring them to be registered, and imposing a registration fee.

Source: Md. Code Ann., Transp. §25-102

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Maryland are generally found in Title 21 of the Code of Maryland (Md. Code Ann.), available here: http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/mdcode/.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Massachusetts

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Massachusetts requires that in approaching or passing a person on a bicycle the operator of a motor vehicle shall slow down and pass at a safe distance and at a reasonable and proper speed.

If it is not possible to overtake a bicycle or other vehicle at a safe distance in the same lane, the overtaking vehicle shall use all or part of an adjacent lane if it is safe to do so or wait for a safe opportunity to overtake.

Source: Mass. Gen. Laws. Ch.90, §14; Mass. Gen. Laws. Ch.89, §2

Helmet Law

Massachusetts requires that any person under the age of 16 riding a bicycle, as an operator or passenger, must wear a protective bicycle helmet.

The failure to wear a required helmet shall not be used as evidence of contributory negligence in any civil action.

Source: Mass. Gen. Laws. Ch. 85, §11B(2)

Share the Road license plates

Massachusetts does not offer Share the Road license plates at this time.

Source: N/A

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Massachusetts does not define who is a "vulnerable road user," but has several rules aimed at protecting bicyclists specifically. These include:

  • No person operating a vehicle that overtakes and passes a bicyclist proceeding in the same direction shall make a right turn at an intersection or driveway unless the turn can be made at a safe distance from the bicyclist at a speed that is reasonable and proper.
  • It shall not be a defense for a motorist causing an accident with a bicycle that the bicycle was to the right of vehicular traffic.

Source: Mass. Gen. Laws. Ch.90, §14

Distracted Driving Laws

Massachusetts currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • No operator of a motor vehicle shall use a mobile telephone, or any handheld device capable of accessing the internet, to manually compose, send or read an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle;
  • No person under 18 years of age shall use a mobile telephone, hands-free mobile telephone or mobile electronic device while operating a motor vehicle on any public way; and
  • No operator of a vehicle used in public transportation shall use a mobile telephone, hands-free mobile telephone or other mobile electronic device while operating such vehicle.

Source: Mass. Gen. Laws. Ch.90, §13B; Mass. Gen. Laws. Ch.90, §8M; Mass. Gen. Laws. Ch.90, §12A

Where to Ride

In Massachusetts, bicycles are subject to the traffic laws and regulations of the commonwealth. There is no law that requires bicycles to ride as far to the right as practicable.

Source: Mass. Gen. Laws. Ch. 85, §11B

Sidewalk Riding

In Massachusetts bicycles may be ridden on sidewalks outside business districts when necessary in the interest of safety, unless otherwise directed by local ordinance. A person operating a bicycle on the sidewalk is required to yield the right of way to pedestrians and give an audible signal before overtaking and passing any pedestrian.

Source: Mass. Gen. Laws. Ch. 85, §11B

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Massachusetts does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

Massachusetts's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to motor vehicles and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists. Nevertheless bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated.

Source: Mass. Gen. Laws. Ch.90, §24

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Massachusetts does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Massachusetts provides that except where its state traffic laws provide a rule, a city or town may make ordinances or bylaws, or the board of aldermen or the selectmen or the town council may make rules and orders, for the regulation of carriages and vehicles, and may set penalties for the violation thereof; and may set and receive an annual fee for each license granted to a person to use any such carriage or vehicle.

Source: Mass. Gen. Laws. Ch. 40, §22

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Massachusetts are generally found in Title XIV Chapter 85 Section 11B of the General Laws of Massachusetts (Mass. Gen. Laws.), available here http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXIV/Chapter85/Section11B. This guide also features other laws from the General Laws of Massachusetts, available here http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/Search.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Michigan

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Michigan does not have a law that sets a specific distance for a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle. The overtaking of a bicycle by a motor vehicle, or vice versa, is governed by general traffic laws and, in most circumstances, such overtaking must be done to the left at a safe distance.

Source: Mich. Comp. Laws §257.636

Helmet Law

Michigan has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

Source: N/A

Share the Road license plates

Michigan does not offer Share the Road license plates at this time.

Source: N/A

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Michigan does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

Michigan currently has the following law aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • A person shall not read, manually type, or send a text message on a wireless 2-way communication device that is located in the person's hand or in the person's lap, including a wireless telephone, while operating a motor vehicle that is moving on a highway or street.

Source: Mich. Comp. Laws §257.602b

Where to Ride

Michigan requires that bicyclists ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except as follows:

  • When overtaking and passing another bicycle or any other vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
  • When preparing to turn left;
  • When conditions make the right-hand edge of the roadway unsafe or reasonably unusable by bicycles, including if the lane is too narrow to permit a vehicle to safely overtake and pass a bicycle;
  • When operating a bicycle in a lane in which the traffic is turning right but the individual intends to go straight through the intersection; and
  • When operating a bicycle upon a 1-way highway or street that has 2 or more marked traffic lanes, in which case the individual may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of that roadway as practicable.

Source: Mich. Comp. Laws §257.660a

Sidewalk Riding

Michigan allows bicycles to operate on sidewalks subject to the following rules:

  • An individual operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk or a pedestrian crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian;
  • An individual shall not operate a bicycle upon a sidewalk or a pedestrian crosswalk if that operation is prohibited by an official traffic control device; and
  • An individual lawfully operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk or a pedestrian crosswalk has all of the rights and responsibilities applicable to a pedestrian using that sidewalk or crosswalk.

Source: Mich. Comp. Laws §257.660c

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Michigan does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

In Michigan, bicycles are not defined as vehicles. Michigan's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to vehicles and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists.

Nevertheless bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and a bicyclist may potentially be charged with a DUI because bicyclists are subject to the duties applicable to vehicles.

Source: Mich. Comp. Laws §§257.625; 257.79

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Michigan does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Michigan provides that its state traffic laws shall not be considered to prevent local authorities with respect to streets or highways under the jurisdiction of the local authority and within the reasonable exercise of the police power from regulating the operation of bicycles and requiring the registration and licensing of bicycles, including the requirement of a registration fee.

Source: Mich. Comp. Laws §257.606

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Michigan are generally found in Chapter 257 of the Michigan Compiled Laws (Mich. Comp. Laws), available here http://www.legislature.mi.gov/%28S%28awasi3bkmkduuvfsexvoryai%29%29/mileg.aspx?page=mclbasicsearch.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Minnesota

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Minnesota requires that the operator of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on the roadway shall leave a safe distance, but in no case less than three feet clearance, when passing the bicycle and shall maintain clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle.

In addition, an individual operating a bicycle on a bikeway shall leave a safe distance when overtaking a bicycle or individual proceeding in the same direction on the bikeway, and shall maintain clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle or individual

Source: Minn. Stat. §169.18 subd. 3; Minn. Stat. §169.222(4)(e)

Helmet Law

Minnesota has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

Source: N/A

Share the Road license plates

Minnesota does not offer Share the Road license plates at this time.

Source: N/A

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Minnesota does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

Minnesota currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • No person may operate a motor vehicle while using a wireless communications device to compose, read, or send an electronic message, when the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic;
  • A provisional license holder may not operate a vehicle while communicating over, or otherwise operating, a cellular or wireless telephone, whether handheld or hands free, when the vehicle is in motion; and
  • A school bus driver may not operate a school bus while communicating over, or otherwise operating, a cellular phone for personal reasons, whether handheld or hands free, when the vehicle is in motion.

Source: Minn. Stat. §§169.475; 171.055; 169.443

Where to Ride

Minnesota requires that bicyclists shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:

  • When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
  • When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway; and
  • When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge, including narrow width lanes.

Source: Minn. Stat. §169.222

Sidewalk Riding

Minnesota allows bicycles to operate on sidewalks subject to the following rules:

  • A person operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk, or on a crosswalk, shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal when necessary before overtaking and passing any pedestrian;
  • No person shall ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk within a business district unless permitted by local authorities. Local authorities may prohibit the operation of bicycles on any sidewalk or crosswalk under their jurisdiction; and
  • A person lawfully operating a bicycle on a sidewalk, or on a crosswalk, shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.

Source: Minn. Stat. §169.222(4)(d) & (f)

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Minnesota does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

Minnesota's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to motor vehicles, which does not include vehicles moved by human power, and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists. Nevertheless bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated.

Source: Minn. Stat. §§169A.20; 169A.03

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Minnesota provides an affirmative defense to the charge of entering or crossing an intersection controlled by a traffic-control signal against a red light if a person establishes all of the following conditions:

  • The bicycle has been brought to a complete stop;
  • The traffic-control signal continues to show a red light for an unreasonable time;
  • The traffic-control signal is apparently malfunctioning or, if programmed or engineered to change to a green light only after detecting the approach of a motor vehicle, the signal has apparently failed to detect the arrival of the bicycle; and
  • No motor vehicle or person is approaching on the street or highway to be crossed or entered or is so far away from the intersection that it does not constitute an immediate hazard.

Source: Minn. Stat. §169.06 subd. 9

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Minnesota provides that local authorities may adopt traffic regulations which are not in conflict with state traffic laws.

Source: Minn. Stat. §169.022

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Minnesota are generally found in Chapter 169 of the Minnesota Statutes (Minn. Stat.), available here https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=169.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Mississippi

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Mississippi requires that while passing a bicyclist on a roadway, a motorist shall leave a safe distance of not less than 3 feet between his vehicle and the bicyclist and shall maintain such clearance until safely past the bicycle. In addition, a motor vehicle operator may pass a bicycle traveling in the same direction in a non-passing zone with the duty to execute the pass only when it is safe to do so

Source: Miss. Code Ann. §63-3-1309

Helmet Law

Mississippi has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

Source: N/A

Share the Road license plates

Mississippi, in conjunction with the Bicycle Advocacy Group of Mississippi, offers Share the Road license plates. For more information on such plates please visit: http://www.bikewalkmississippi.org/BWMS/winabike/

Source: Miss. Code Ann. §27-19-56.139

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Mississippi does not define who is a "vulnerable road user," but has several statutes aimed at protecting bicyclists specifically. These include:

  • It is unlawful to harass, taunt or maliciously throw an object at or in the direction of any person riding a bicycle.
    • First offense is punished by a $100 fine
    • Second offense is punished by a $500 fine
    • Third and subsequent offenses are punished by a $ 2,500.00 fine and imprisonment in the county jail for 7 days for the third and subsequent offenses
  • The operator of a vehicle that passes a bicyclist proceeding in the same direction may not make a right turn at any intersection or into any highway or driveway unless the turn can be made with reasonable safety.

Source: Miss. Code Ann. §§63-3-1313; 63-3-1309(3)

Distracted Driving Laws

Mississippi currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • A person who is authorized to drive under an intermediate license, a temporary learning permit or a temporary driving permit shall not operate a motor vehicle on a highway while using a wireless communication device to send or receive a written message while the motor vehicle is in motion;
  • A person shall not use a wireless communication device while operating a passenger bus with a minor passenger on the bus; and
  • No county, municipality or other political subdivision shall enact any ordinance restricting the use of cellular phones in any motor vehicle until such time as the state may authorize a county, municipality or other political subdivision to enact such an ordinance.

Source: Miss. Code Ann. §§ 63-1-73; 63-3-212

Where to Ride

Mississippi requires that every bicyclist operating a bicycle upon a roadway ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following conditions:

  • When it is unsafe to do so;
  • When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
  • When preparing for or making a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway;
  • When proceeding straight in a place where right turns are permitted; and
  • When necessary to avoid hazardous conditions, including those caused by a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side in the lane.

Source: Miss. Code Ann. §63-3-1307

Sidewalk Riding

Mississippi does not have a statute that specifically authorizes or prohibits the operation of a bicycle upon a sidewalk.

Source: N/A

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Mississippi does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

In Mississippi, bicycles are defined as vehicles. Mississippi's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to all vehicles and therefore applies to bicyclists. Bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and operating a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances may result in severe punishments.

Source: Miss. Code Ann. §63-11-30

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Mississippi does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Mississippi does not specifically provide for local authorities to regulate the operation of bicycles or require registration of bicycles, although such authorities may regulate the operation of bicycles through the exercise of their other legal powers.

Source: Miss. Code Ann. §63-3-211

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Mississippi are generally found in Title 63 of the Mississippi Code (Miss. Code Ann.), available here http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/mscode/.

Other Resources

The following resource may be useful:

Missouri

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Missouri requires that the operator of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on the roadway shall leave a safe distance when passing the bicycle, and shall maintain clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle.

Source: Mo. Rev. Stat. §300.411

Helmet Law

Missouri has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

Source: N/A

Share the Road license plates

Missouri, in conjunction with the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation, offers Share the Road license plates. For more information on such plates please visit: http://mobikefed.org/LicensePlate

Source: http://mobikefed.org/LicensePlate

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Missouri does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

Missouri currently has the following law aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • No person twenty-one years of age or younger operating a moving motor vehicle upon the highways of this state shall, by means of a hand-held electronic wireless communications device, send, read, or write a text message or electronic message.

Source: Mo. Rev. Stat. §304.820

Where to Ride

Missouri requires that bicyclists ride as near to the right side of the roadway as safe, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction, except under any of the following circumstances:

  • When making a left turn,
  • When avoiding hazardous conditions,
  • When the lane is too narrow to share with another vehicle, or
  • When on a one-way street.

Source: Mo. Rev. Stat. §307.190

Sidewalk Riding

Missouri allows bicycles to operate on sidewalks subject to the following rules:

  • No person shall ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk within a business district;
  • Whenever any person is riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk, such person shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian; and
  • No person shall ride a motorized bicycle upon a sidewalk.

Source: Mo. Rev. Stat. §300.347

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Missouri does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

In Missouri, bicycles are not defined as vehicles. Missouri's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to motor vehicles and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists. Nevertheless bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated.

Source: Mo. Rev. Stat. §§577.010; 300.010

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Missouri provides that any person operating a bicycle who enters or crosses an intersection against a red light shall have an affirmative defense to that charge if the person establishes all of the following conditions:

  • The bicycle has been brought to a complete stop;
  • The traffic control signal continues to show a red light for an unreasonable time;
  • The traffic control is apparently malfunctioning or, if programmed or engineered to change to a green light only after detecting the approach of a motor vehicle, the signal has apparently failed to detect the arrival of the bicycle; and
  • No motor vehicle or person is approaching on the street or highway to be crossed or entered or is so far away from the intersection that it does not constitute an immediate hazard.

Source: Mo. Rev. Stat. §304.285

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Missouri does not specifically provide for local authorities to regulate the operation of bicycles or require registration of bicycles, although such authorities may regulate the operation of bicycles through the exercise of their other legal powers.

Source: N/A

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Missouri are generally found in the Missouri Revised Statutes (Mo. Rev. Stat.), available here http://www.moga.mo.gov/homestatsearch.asp.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Montana

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Montana provides that operator of a motor vehicle may not:

  • Intentionally interfere with the movement of a person who is lawfully riding a bicycle; or
  • Overtake and pass a person riding a bicycle unless the operator of the motor vehicle can do so safely without endangering the person riding the bicycle.

Source: Mont. Code Ann. §61-8-320

Helmet Law

Montana has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

Source: N/A

Share the Road license plates

Montana does not offer Share the Road license plates at this time.

Source: N/A

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Montana does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

Montana currently has no laws that prohibit the use of devices associated with distracted driving. However, Montana does include distracted driving in its traffic education curriculum.

Source: Mont. Code Ann. §61-5-135

Where to Ride

Montana requires that bicyclists ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable except under any of the following circumstances:

  • When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
  • When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway; or
  • When necessary to avoid a condition that makes it unsafe to continue along the right side of the roadway, including those caused by a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.
  • When operating upon a one-way highway with two or more marked traffic lanes, in which case a bicyclist may ride as close to the left side of the roadway as practicable.

Source: Mont. Code Ann. §61-8-605

Sidewalk Riding

Montana allows bicycles to operate on sidewalks subject to the following rules:

  • A person operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk or a crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give audible signal before overtaking and passing any pedestrian;
  • A person may not ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk or a crosswalk where the use of a bicycle is prohibited by official traffic control devices.
  • Except as otherwise provided, a person operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk or a crosswalk has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.

Source: Mont. Code Ann. §61-8-608

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Montana does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

Montana's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to vehicles, and specifically excludes bicycles from the definition of vehicle, and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists. Nevertheless bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated.

Source: Mont. Code Ann. §61-8-401

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Montana does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Montana provides that its state traffic laws do not prevent local authorities with respect to sidewalks, streets, and highways under their jurisdiction and within the reasonable exercise of the police power from regulating the operation of bicycles and requiring the registration and licensing of bicycles, including requiring a registration fee.

Source: Mont. Code Ann. §61-12-101

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Montana are generally found in Chapter 61 of the Montana Code Annotated (Mont. Code Ann.), available here http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca_toc/index.htm.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Nebraska

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Nebraska requires that the driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction shall exercise due care, which shall include, but not be limited to, leaving a safe distance of no less than three feet clearance, when passing a bicycle and shall maintain such clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle.

Source: Neb. Rev. Stat. §60-6,133

Helmet Law

Nebraska has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

Source: N/A

Share the Road license plates

Nebraska does not offer Share the Road license plates at this time.

Source: N/A

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Nebraska does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

Nebraska currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • No person shall use a handheld wireless communication device to read a written communication, manually type a written communication, or send a written communication while operating a motor vehicle which is in motion;
  • The holder of an LPE-learner's permit shall not use any type of interactive wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle on the highways of this state; and
  • No operator of a commercial motor vehicle shall engage in texting while driving.

Source: Neb. Rev. Stat. §§60-6,179.01; 60-6,179.02; 60-4,124(5)(b)

Where to Ride

Nebraska requires that any bicyclist upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right-hand curb or right-hand edge of the roadway as practicable except any of the following circumstances:

  • When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
  • When preparing for a left turn onto a private road or driveway or at an intersection;
  • When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or right-hand edge of the roadway, including fixed or moving objects, stopped or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, or surface hazards;
  • When riding upon a lane of substandard width which is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane;
  • When lawfully operating a bicycle on the paved shoulders of a highway included in the state highway system; or
  • When operating a bicycle upon a roadway on which traffic is restricted to one direction of movement and which has two or more marked traffic lanes, in which case a bicyclist may ride as near to the left-hand curb or left-hand edge of the roadway as practicable.

Source: Neb. Rev. Stat. §60-6,317

Sidewalk Riding

Nebraska does not have a statute that specifically authorizes or prohibits the operation of a bicycle upon a sidewalk.

Source: N/A

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Nebraska requires that whenever a usable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a highway, a person operating a bicycle shall use such path and shall not use such highway. However, a bicycle may, alternatively, be driven on the paved shoulder of a highway.

Source: Neb. Rev. Stat. §§60-6,317(3); 60-6,142

Bicycling Under the Influence

Nebraska's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to motor vehicles and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists. Nevertheless bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated.

Source: Neb. Rev. Stat. §60-6,196

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Nebraska does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Nebraska provides that a local authority may by ordinance regulate the operation of bicycles and may provide for the registration and inspection of bicycles.

Source: Neb. Rev. Stat. §60-6,317(4)

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Nebraska are generally found in Chapter 60 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes (Neb. Rev. Stat.), available here http://nebraskalegislature.gov/laws/laws.php.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Nevada

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Nevada provides that the driver of a motor vehicle shall not intentionally interfere with the movement of a person lawfully riding a bicycle.

Further, when overtaking or passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction, the driver of a motor vehicle shall exercise due care and:

  • If there is more than one lane for traffic proceeding in the same direction, move the vehicle to the lane to the immediate left, if the lane is available and moving into the lane is reasonably safe; or
  • If there is only one lane for traffic proceeding in the same direction, pass to the left of the bicycle at a safe distance, which must be not less than 3 feet between any portion of the vehicle and the bicycle, and shall not move again to the right side of the highway until the vehicle is safely clear of the overtaken bicycle.

Source: Nev. Rev. Stat. §484B.270

Helmet Law

Nevada has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

Source: N/A

Share the Road license plates

Nevada does not offer Share the Road license plates at this time.

Source: N/A

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Nevada does not define who is a "vulnerable road user," but has several statutes aimed at protecting bicyclists specifically. These include:

  • It is unlawful for any person:
    • To throw any stone, rock, missile or any substance at any bicycle; or
    • Wrongfully to injure, deface or damage any bicycle or any part thereof
  • If a driver violates certain laws related to driving in a school zone and is the proximate cause of a collision with a pedestrian or a person riding a bicycle there are increased penalties due to such collision; and
  • If a driver violates certain laws related to overtaking a bicycle, such as the 3 foot minimum distance, and is the proximate cause of a collision with a person riding a bicycle there are increased penalties due to such collision.

Source: Nev. Rev. Stat. §§205.2741; 484B.363(6); 484B.653(6)

Distracted Driving Laws

Nevada currently has the following law aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • A person shall not, while operating a motor vehicle on a highway :
    • Manually type or enter text into a cellular telephone or other handheld wireless communications device, or send or read data using any such device to access or search the Internet or to engage in non-voice communications with another person, including, without limitation, texting, electronic messaging and instant messaging; or
    • Use a cellular telephone or other handheld wireless communications device to engage in voice communications with another person, unless using a hands-free device, other than to activate, deactivate or initiate a feature or function on the device.

Source: Nev. Rev. Stat. §484B.165

Where to Ride

Nevada requires that a bicyclist ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction, except:

  • When traveling at a lawful rate of speed commensurate with the speed of any nearby traffic;
  • When preparing to turn left; or
  • When doing so would not be safe.

Source: Nev. Rev. Stat. §484B.777

Sidewalk Riding

Nevada does not have a statute that specifically authorizes or prohibits the operation of a bicycle upon a sidewalk.

Source: N/A

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Nevada does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

In Nevada, bicycles are not defined as vehicles. Nevada's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to vehicles and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists. Nevertheless bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and a bicyclist may potentially be charged with a DUI because bicyclists are subject to the duties applicable to vehicles.

Source: Nev. Rev. Stat. §§484C.110; 484A.320

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Nevada does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Nevada provides that any local authority may enact by ordinance traffic regulations which cover the same subject matter and which are not in conflict Nevada's traffic laws or regulations adopted pursuant thereto. Any local authority may also enact by ordinance regulations requiring the registration and licensing of bicycles.

Source: Nev. Rev. Stat. §484A.400

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Nevada are generally found in Chapter 484B of the Nevada Revised Statutes (Nev. Rev. Stat.), available here: http://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-484B.html, or here: http://search.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS.html.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

New Hampshire

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

New Hampshire requires that very driver of a vehicle, when approaching a bicyclist, shall insure the safety and protection of the bicyclist and shall exercise due care by leaving a reasonable and prudent distance between the vehicle and the bicycle. The distance shall be presumed to be reasonable and prudent if it is at least 3 feet when the vehicle is traveling at 30 miles per hour or less, with one additional foot of clearance required for every 10 miles per hour above 30 miles per hour.

Source: N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §265:143-a

Helmet Law

New Hampshire requires that any person under the age of 16 riding a bicycle, as an operator or passenger, must wear a protective bicycle helmet.

Source: N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §265:144(X)

Share the Road license plates

New Hampshire does not offer Share the Road license plates at this time.

Source: N/A

Vulnerable Road User Laws

New Hampshire does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

New Hampshire currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • No person may write a text message or uses two hands to type on or operate an electronic or telecommunications device while operating a moving motor vehicle;
  • No person shall drive a motor vehicle while viewing a broadcast television image or a visual image from an image display device when the vehicle is in motion on a way; and
  • No person shall drive a motor vehicle with an image display device intended to be visible to the driver in a normal driving position when the vehicle is in motion and when restrained by the vehicle seat belts adjusted in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations.

Source: N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§265:105-a; 266:75

Where to Ride

New Hampshire requires that a bicyclist ride with traffic on the right portion of the road as far as practicable except when it is unsafe to do so or:

  • When overtaking and passing another bicycle or any other vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
  • When preparing for or making a left turn at an intersection or into a driveway;
  • When proceeding straight in a place where right turns are permitted; and
  • When necessary to avoid hazardous conditions, including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, broken pavement, glass, sand, puddles, ice, or opening doors of parked vehicles.

Source: N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §265:144(XI)

Sidewalk Riding

New Hampshire prohibits any vehicle from driving upon a sidewalk or sidewalk area except when a permanent or authorized temporary driveway crosses the sidewalk area. In New Hampshire bicycles are vehicles and this prohibition applies to bicycles.

Source: N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§265:26-a; 259:122

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

New Hampshire does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

In New Hampshire, bicycles are defined as vehicles. New Hampshire's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to all vehicles and therefore applies to bicyclists. Bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and operating a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances may result in severe punishments.

Source: N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§265-A:2; 259:122

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

New Hampshire does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

New Hampshire provides that any city or town shall have the power to make ordinances, bylaws or regulations respecting the use and equipment of bicycles on its ways, provided that any such ordinances, bylaws or regulations are at least as stringent as state laws respecting bicycles. Any city or town may require that be licensed and may charge reasonable fees for such licensing.

Source: N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §265:149

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of New Hampshire are generally found in Chapter 265 of the New Hampshire Revised Statutes (N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann.), available here http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/indexes/search.html.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

New Jersey

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

New Jersey does not have a law that sets a specific distance for a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle.

The overtaking of a bicycle by a motor vehicle, or vice versa, is likely governed by general traffic laws and, in most circumstances, such overtaking must be done to the left at a safe distance. However, bicycles are not vehicles under New Jersey law and therefore there is no law directly applicable to the safe overtaking of a bicycle.

Source: N.J. Stat. Ann. §39:4-85; 39:1-1

Helmet Law

New Jersey requires that any person under the age of 17 riding a bicycle, as an operator or passenger, must wear a protective bicycle helmet.

However, the failure of any person to wear a required helmet shall not constitute negligence per se, contributory negligence or assumption of risk, and shall not in any way bar, preclude or foreclose an action for personal injury or wrongful death by or on behalf of such person.

Source: N.J. Stat. Ann. §§39:4-10.1; 39:4-10.7

Share the Road license plates

New Jersey does not offer Share the Road license plates at this time.

Source: N/A

Vulnerable Road User Laws

New Jersey does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

New Jersey currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • The use of a wireless telephone or electronic communication device by an operator of a moving motor vehicle on a public road or highway shall be unlawful except when the telephone is a hands-free wireless telephone or the electronic communication device is used hands-free;
  • It shall be unlawful for the driver of a school bus to use a cellular or other wireless telephone while operating the school bus;
  • The holder of the special learner's permit shall not use any hand-held or hands-free interactive wireless communication device;
  • The holder of the probationary license shall not use any hand-held or hands-free interactive wireless communication device; and
  • The use of a wireless telephone or electronic communication device by an operator of a moving vehicle involved in the provision of public transportation service is unlawful.

Source: N.J. Stat. Ann. §§39:4-97.3; 39:3B-25; 39:3-13.2a; 39:3-13.4; 27:25-5.18

Where to Ride

New Jersey requires that every bicyclist ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction; except under any of the following situations:

  • To make a left turn from a left-turn lane or pocket;
  • To avoid debris, drains or other hazardous conditions that make it impracticable to ride at the right side of the roadway;
  • To pass a slower moving vehicle;
  • To occupy any available lane when traveling at the same speed as other traffic; an
  • To travel no more than two abreast when traffic is not impeded.

Source: N.J. Stat. Ann. §39:4-14.2

Sidewalk Riding

New Jersey does not have a statute that specifically authorizes or prohibits the operation of a bicycle upon a sidewalk. Vehicles and horses generally cannot go on sidewalks, but bicycles are not vehicles under New Jersey law.

Source: N.J. Stat. Ann. §39:4-71; 39:1-1

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

New Jersey does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

New Jersey law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to motor vehicles and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists. Nevertheless bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated.

Source: N.J. Stat. Ann. §39:4-50

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

New Jersey does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

New Jersey does not specifically provide for local authorities to regulate the operation of bicycles or require registration of bicycles, although such authorities may regulate the operation of bicycles through the exercise of their other legal powers.

Source: N/A

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of New Jersey are generally found in Chapter 39 of the New Jersey Permanent Statutes (N.J. Stat. Ann.), available here http://lis.njleg.state.nj.us/cgi-bin/om_isapi.dll?clientID=410167&depth=2&expandheadings=off&headingswithhits=on&infobase=statutes.nfo&softpage=TOC_Frame_Pg42.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

New Mexico

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

New Mexico does not have a law that sets a specific distance for a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle. The overtaking of a bicycle by a motor vehicle, or vice versa, is governed by general traffic laws and, in most circumstances, such overtaking must be done to the left at a safe distance.

Source: N.M. Stat. Ann. §66-7-310

Helmet Law

New Mexico requires that any minor riding a bicycle, as an operator or passenger, must wear a protective bicycle helmet. A minor is a person under 18 years of age.

Source: N.M. Stat. Ann. §§32A-24-3; 32A-24-2

Share the Road license plates

New Mexico does not offer Share the Road license plates at this time.

Source: N/A

Vulnerable Road User Laws

New Mexico does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

New Mexico currently has the following law aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • It is a traffic violation for any holder of a provisional license to use a mobile communication device while driving a motor vehicle.

Source: N.M. Stat. Ann. §66-5-1.1

Where to Ride

New Mexico requires that a bicyclist ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.

Source: N.M. Stat. Ann. §66-3-705

Sidewalk Riding

New Mexico does not have a statute that specifically authorizes or prohibits the operation of a bicycle upon a sidewalk.

Source: N/A

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

New Mexico does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

In New Mexico, bicycles are not defined as vehicles. New Mexico's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to vehicles and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists. Nevertheless bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and a bicyclist may potentially be charged with a DUI because bicyclists are subject to the duties applicable to vehicles

Source: N.M. Stat. Ann. §§66-8-102; 66-1-4.19

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

New Mexico does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

New Mexico provides that its state traffic laws shall not be deemed to prevent local authorities, with respect to streets and highways under their jurisdiction and within the reasonable exercise of the police power, from regulating the operation of bicycles and requiring their registration and licensing, including the requirement of a registration fee.

Source: N.M. Stat. Ann. §66-7-9

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of New Mexico are generally found in Chapter 66 of the New Mexico Statutes Annotated (N.M. Stat. Ann.), available here http://www.nmonesource.com/nmpublic/gateway.dll/?f=templates&fn=default.htm.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

New York

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

New York requires that the operator of a vehicle overtaking, from behind, a bicycle proceeding on the same side of a roadway shall pass to the left of such bicycle at a safe distance until safely clear.

Source: N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law §1122-a

Helmet Law

New York requires that any person under the age of 14 riding a bicycle, as an operator or passenger, must wear a protective bicycle helmet.

The failure of any person to wear a required helmet shall not constitute contributory negligence or assumption of risk, and shall not in any way bar, preclude or foreclose an action for personal injury or wrongful death by or on behalf of such person, nor in any way diminish or reduce the damages recoverable in any such action.

Source: N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law §1238

Share the Road license plates

New York does not offer Share the Road license plates at this time.

Source: N/A

Vulnerable Road User Laws

New York does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

New York currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • No person shall operate a motor vehicle upon a public highway while using a mobile telephone to engage in a call while such vehicle is in motion.
    • An operator of a motor vehicle who holds a mobile telephone to, or in the immediate proximity of his or her ear while such vehicle is in motion is presumed to be engaging in a call.
  • No person shall operate a motor vehicle while using any portable electronic device while such vehicle is in motion.
  • In New York City, the taxicab passengers' bill of rights includes the right that a driver does not use a cell phone (hand-held or hands free) while driving.

Source: N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law §§1225-c; 1225-d; New York City Administrative Code (NEW) §19-537

Where to Ride

New York requires that bicyclists ride as near to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway or upon a usable right-hand shoulder in such a manner as to prevent undue interference with the flow of traffic except under any of the following circumstances:

  • When preparing for a left turn or
  • When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions that would make it unsafe to continue along near the right-hand curb or edge, including those caused by traffic lanes too narrow for a bicycle or and a vehicle to travel safely side-by-side within the lane.

Source: N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law §1234

Sidewalk Riding

New York does not have a statute that specifically authorizes or prohibits the operation of a bicycle upon a sidewalk. However, in New York City no person shall ride a bicycle upon any sidewalk unless permitted by an official sign.

Source: New York City Administrative Code (NEW) §19-176

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

New York requires that upon all roadways, any bicycle shall be driven on a usable bicycle lane.

Source: N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law §1234

Bicycling Under the Influence

New York's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to motor vehicles and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists. Nevertheless bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated.

Source: N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law §1192

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

New York does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

New York does not specifically provide for local authorities to regulate the operation of bicycles or require registration of bicycles, although such authorities may regulate the operation of bicycles through the exercise of their other legal powers.

Source: N/A

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of New York are generally found in Title 7, Article 34 of the Vehicle & Traffic Consolidated Laws of New York (N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law), available here http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/menugetf.cgi?COMMONQUERY=LAWS.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

North Carolina

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

North Carolina does not have a law that sets a specific distance for a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle. However, North Carolina's traffic law requires that the driver of any vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass at least two feet to the left thereof, and shall not again drive to the right side of the highway until safely clear of such overtaken vehicle.

Source: N.C. Gen. Stat. §20‑149

Helmet Law

North Carolina requires that any person under the age of 16 riding a bicycle, as an operator or passenger, must wear a protective bicycle helmet.

However, no negligence or liability shall be assessed on or imputed to any party on account of the failure to wear a required helmet.

Source: N.C. Gen. Stat. §20‑171.9

Share the Road license plates

North Carolina offers Share the Road license plates. For more information on such plates please visit: http://www.ncdot.gov/bikeped/safetyeducation/plates/

Source: N.C. Gen. Stat. §§20‑79.4; 20‑81.12

Vulnerable Road User Laws

North Carolina does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

North Carolina currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a vehicle on a public street or highway or public vehicular area while using a mobile telephone to:
    • Manually enter multiple letters or text in the device as a means of communicating with another person; or
    • Read any electronic mail or text message transmitted to the device or stored within the device.
  • No person under the age of 18 years shall operate a motor vehicle on a public street or highway or public vehicular area while using a mobile telephone or any additional technology associated with a mobile telephone while the vehicle is in motion.
  • No person shall operate a school bus on a public street or highway or public vehicular area while using a mobile telephone or any additional technology associated with a mobile telephone while the school bus is in motion.

Source: N.C. Gen. Stat. §§20‑137.4A; 20‑137.3; 20‑137.3

Where to Ride

North Carolina requires that bicyclists drive in the right‑hand lane then available for thru traffic, or as close as practicable to the right‑hand curb or edge of the highway, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn.

Source: N.C. Gen. Stat. §20‑146

Sidewalk Riding

North Carolina does not have a statute that specifically authorizes or prohibits the operation of a bicycle upon a sidewalk.

Source: N/A

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

North Carolina does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

In North Carolina, bicycles are defined as vehicles. North Carolina's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to all vehicles and therefore likely applies to bicyclists. Bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and operating a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances may result in severe punishments.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation in its "Guide to North Carolina Bicycle and Pedestrian Laws" currently advises that this law does not apply to bicyclists. However, that Guide was published in 2005 and there was a change in law in 2006.

Source: N.C. Gen. Stat. §§20‑4.01(49); 20‑138.1; See page 8 of "A Guide to North Carolina Bicycle and Pedestrian Laws" [http://www.ncdot.gov/bikeped/download/bikeped_laws_Guidebook-Full.pdf]

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

North Carolina does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

North Carolina does not specifically provide for local authorities to regulate the operation of bicycles or require registration of bicycles, although such authorities may regulate the operation of bicycles through the exercise of their other legal powers.

Source: N/A

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of North Carolina are generally found in Chapter 20 of the North Carolina General Statutes (N.C. Gen. Stat.), available here http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/Statutes/StatutesTOC.pl.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

North Dakota

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

North Dakota does not have a law that sets a specific distance for a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle. The overtaking of a bicycle by a motor vehicle, or vice versa, is governed by general traffic laws and, in most circumstances, such overtaking must be done to the left at a safe distance.

Source: N.D. Cent. Code §39-10-11

Helmet Law

North Dakota has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

Source: N/A

Share the Road license plates

North Dakota does not offer Share the Road license plates at this time.

Source: N/A

Vulnerable Road User Laws

North Dakota does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

North Dakota currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • The operator of a motor vehicle that is part of traffic may not use a wireless communications device to compose, read, or send an electronic message; and
  • An individual at least sixteen and under eighteen years of age who has been issued a class D license may not operate an electronic communication device to talk, compose, read, or send an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle that is in motion.

Source: N.D. Cent. Code §§39-08-23; 39-08-24

Where to Ride

North Dakota requires that a bicyclist ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.

Source: N.D. Cent. Code §39-10.1-05

Sidewalk Riding

North Dakota prohibits any person from driving any vehicle, including a bicycle, upon a sidewalk or sidewalk area except upon a permanent or duly authorized temporary driveway.

Source: N.D. Cent. Code §§39-10-52.1; 39-07-01

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

North Dakota does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

In North Dakota, bicycles are defined as vehicles for some purposes including North Dakota's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances. Bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and operating a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances may result in severe punishments.

Source: N.D. Cent. Code §§39-08-01; 39-07-01

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

North Dakota does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

North Dakota does not specifically provide for local authorities to regulate the operation of bicycles or require registration of bicycles, although such authorities may regulate the operation of bicycles through the exercise of their other legal powers.

Source: N/A

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of North Dakota are generally found in Title 39 of the North Dakota Century Code (N.D. Cent. Code), available here http://www.legis.nd.gov/information/statutes/cent-code.html.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Ohio

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Ohio does not have a law that sets a specific distance for a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle. The overtaking of a bicycle by a motor vehicle, or vice versa, is governed by general traffic laws and, in most circumstances, such overtaking must be done to the left at a safe distance.

Source: Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §4511.27

Helmet Law

Ohio has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

Source: N/A

Share the Road license plates

Ohio, in conjunction with the Ohio Bicycle Federation, offers Share the Road license plates. For more information on such plates please visit: http://bmv.ohio.gov/sp_share_the_road.stm

Source: Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §4503.521

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Ohio does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

Ohio currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • No person shall drive a motor vehicle, trackless trolley, or streetcar on any street, highway, or property open to the public for vehicular traffic while using a handheld electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication; and
  • No holder of a temporary instruction permit who has not attained the age of eighteen years and no holder of a probationary driver's license shall drive a motor vehicle on any street, highway, or property used by the public for purposes of vehicular traffic or parking while using in any manner an electronic wireless communications device.

Source: Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§4511.204; 4511.205

Where to Ride

Ohio requires that a bicyclist ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable obeying all traffic rules applicable to vehicles and exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.

However, a bicyclist is not required to ride at the edge of the roadway when it is unreasonable or unsafe to do so. Conditions that may require riding away from the edge of the roadway include including a lane that is too narrow for the bicycle and an overtaking vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

Source: Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §4511.55

Sidewalk Riding

Ohio provides that no person shall drive any vehicle, other than a bicycle, upon a sidewalk or sidewalk area except upon a permanent or duly authorized temporary driveway.

Source: Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §4511.711

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Ohio does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

In Ohio, bicycles are defined as vehicles. Ohio's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to all vehicles and therefore applies to bicyclists. Bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and operating a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances may result in severe punishments.

Source: Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§4511.19; 4511.01

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Ohio does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Ohio provides that its state traffic laws do not prevent local authorities from, with respect to streets and highways under their jurisdiction and within the reasonable exercise of the police power, regulating the operation of bicycles; provided that no regulation shall be fundamentally inconsistent with the state traffic laws and that no regulation shall prohibit the use of bicycles on any roadway except as otherwise allowed. No local authority may require that bicycles be operated on sidewalks.

Source: Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§4511.07; 4511.711

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Ohio are generally found in Title 45 of the Ohio Revised Code (Ohio Rev. Code Ann.), available here http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/45.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Oklahoma

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Oklahoma requires that when overtaking and passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction, a person driving a motor vehicle shall exercise due care by leaving a safe distance between the motor vehicle and the bicycle of not less than 3 feet until the motor vehicle is safely past the overtaken bicycle.

Source: Okla. Stat. tit. 47 §11-1208

Helmet Law

Oklahoma has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

Source: N/A

Share the Road license plates

Oklahoma, in conjunction with the Oklahoma Bicycling Coalition, offers Share the Road license plates. For more information on such plates please visit: http://obc1voice.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=12&Itemid=29

Source: Okla. Stat. tit.47 §1135.3

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Oklahoma does not define who is a "vulnerable road user," but provides the following penalties for violations of the 3 foot passing law:

  • If the violation results in a collision causing serious physical injury to another person, the person shall be subject to a fine of not more than $500.00; and
  • If the violation results in the death of another person, the person shall be subject to a fine of not more than $1,000.00, in addition to any other penalties prescribed by law.

Source: Okla. Stat. tit. 47 §11-1208(b) & (c)

Distracted Driving Laws

Oklahoma currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • The operator of every vehicle, while driving, shall devote their full time and attention to such driving;
  • It shall be unlawful for a public transit driver to operate a motor vehicle on any street or highway within this state while using a cellular telephone or electronic communication device to write, send, or read a text-based communication while the motor vehicle is in motion; and
  • A learner's permit or intermediate Class D license may be suspended or canceled due to use of a hand-held electronic device while operating a motor vehicle for non-life-threatening emergency purposes.

Source: Okla. Stat. tit. 47 §§11-901b; 11-901c; 6-105

Where to Ride

Oklahoma requires that every bicyclist shall ride as close as is safe to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except under any of the following situations:

  • When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
  • When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway;
  • When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions and while exercising due care; and
  • When riding in the right-turn-only lane.
  • When riding upon a one-way street or highway with two or more marked lanes of travel, in which case a bicyclist may ride as close as is safe to the left-hand curb or edge of the street or highway.

Source: Okla. Stat. tit. 47 §11-1205

Sidewalk Riding

Oklahoma does not have a statute that specifically authorizes or prohibits the operation of a bicycle upon a sidewalk.

Source: N/A

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

The Oklahoma Administrative Code and Register requires that wherever a usable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a roadway, bicyclists shall use such path and shall not use the roadway.

Source: Oklahoma Administrative Code §725:30-26-13

Bicycling Under the Influence

Oklahoma's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to motor vehicles and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists. Nevertheless bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated.

Source: Okla. Stat. tit. 47 §11-902v1.

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Oklahoma does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

There is a law that allows motorcycles, but not bicycles, to proceed through red lights under limited circumstances. Bicycles were mentioned in a version of that law that was not signed into law.

Source: Okla. Stat. tit. 47 §11-202

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Oklahoma provides that its state traffic laws shall be applicable and uniform throughout the state and that no local authority shall enact or enforce any ordinance, rule or regulation in conflict with the state traffic laws, but may adopt additional traffic regulations. This may include regulating the operation of bicycles and requiring the registration and licensing of bicycles, including the requirement of a registration fee.

Source: Okla. Stat. tit. 47 §§15-101; 15-102

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Oklahoma are generally found in Title 47 of the Oklahoma Statutes (Okla. Stat.), available here http://www.oklegislature.gov/osstatuestitle.html.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Oregon

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Oregon requires that the driver of a motor vehicle pass a person operating a bicycle by driving to the left of the bicycle at a safe distance (a distance that is sufficient to prevent contact with the person operating the bicycle if the person were to fall into the driver's lane of traffic) and returning to the lane of travel once the motor vehicle is safely clear of the overtaken bicycle.

This requirement does not apply to a driver operating a motor vehicle:

  • In a lane that is separate from and adjacent to a designated bicycle lane;
  • At a speed not greater than 35 miles per hour; or
  • When the driver is passing a person operating a bicycle on the person's right side and the person operating the bicycle is turning left.

Source: Or. Rev. Stat. §811.065

Helmet Law

Oregon requires that any person under the age of 16 riding a bicycle, as an operator or passenger, must wear a protective bicycle helmet.

However, evidence of a lack of protective headgear shall not be admissible, applicable or effective to reduce the amount of damages or to constitute a defense to an action for damages brought by or on behalf of an injured bicyclist or bicycle passenger or the survivors of a deceased bicyclist or passenger if the bicyclist or passenger was injured or killed as a result in whole or in part of the fault of another.

Source: Or. Rev. Stat. §§814.485; 814.489

Share the Road license plates

Oregon, in conjunction with the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and Cycle Oregon, offers Share the Road license plates. For more information on such plates please visit: http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/DMV/Pages/vehicle/platenonprof.aspx

Source: Or. Rev. Stat. §805.205

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Oregon defines a "vulnerable user of a public way" as a pedestrian, a highway worker, a person riding an animal or a person operating any of the following on a public way, crosswalk or shoulder of the highway: (1) a farm tractor or implement of husbandry; (2) a skateboard; (3) Roller skates; (4) In-line skates; (5) a scooter; or (6) a bicycle.

Oregon protects vulnerable road users by providing increased penalties if the court determines that a person guilty of careless driving contributed to the serious physical injury or death of a vulnerable user of a public way:

In addition, Oregon provides that the offense of vehicular assault of a bicyclist or pedestrian is a Class A misdemeanor which occurs if:

  • The person recklessly operates a vehicle upon a highway in a manner that results in contact between the person's vehicle and a bicyclist or a pedestrian; and
  • The contact causes physical injury to the bicyclist or the pedestrian.

Source: Or. Rev. Stat. §§801.608; 811.135; 811.060

Distracted Driving Laws

Oregon currently prohibits a person, while operating a motor vehicle on a highway, from using a mobile communication device.

Source: Or. Rev. Stat. §811.507

Where to Ride

Oregon requires that a bicyclist ride as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway, except under any of the following circumstances:

  • When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle that is proceeding in the same direction;
  • When preparing to execute a left turn;
  • When reasonably necessary to avoid hazardous conditions including a lane on the roadway that is too narrow for a bicycle and vehicle to travel safely side by side;
  • When operating within a city as near as practicable to the left curb or edge of a roadway that is designated to allow traffic to move in only one direction along the roadway;
  • When operating a bicycle alongside not more than one other bicycle as long as the bicycles are both being operated within a single lane and in a manner that does not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic; and
  • When operating on a bicycle lane or bicycle path.

Source: Or. Rev. Stat. §814.430

Sidewalk Riding

Oregon requires that a driver of a motor vehicle yield the right of way to any bicyclist on a sidewalk.

Oregon allows bicycles to operate on sidewalks subject to the following rules:

  • A bicyclist may not suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and move into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard;
  • A bicyclist upon a sidewalk shall give an audible warning before overtaking and passing a pedestrian and yield the right of way to all pedestrians on the sidewalk;
  • A bicyclist may not operate on a sidewalk in a careless manner that endangers or would be likely to endanger any person or property;
  • A bicyclist may not operate at a speed greater than an ordinary walk when approaching or entering a crosswalk or potentially crossing motor vehicle traffic;
  • A bicyclist may not operate an electric assisted bicycle on a sidewalk; and
  • Except as otherwise specifically provided by law, a bicyclist on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk has the same rights and duties as a pedestrian on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk.

Source: Or. Rev. Stat. §§811.055; 814.410

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Oregon requires that a bicyclist must use a bicycle lane or bicycle path when a bicycle lane or bicycle path is adjacent to or near a roadway, except that a bicyclist is able to safely move out of the bicycle lane or path for the purpose of:

  • Overtaking and passing another bicycle, a vehicle or a pedestrian that is in the bicycle lane or path and passage cannot safely be made in the lane or path;
  • Preparing to execute a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway;
  • Avoiding debris or other hazardous conditions;
  • Preparing to execute a right turn where a right turn is authorized; and
  • Continuing straight at an intersection where the bicycle lane or path is to the right of a lane from which a motor vehicle must turn right.

However, a person is not required to comply with this law unless the state or local authority with jurisdiction over the roadway finds, after public hearing, that the bicycle lane or bicycle path is suitable for safe bicycle use at reasonable rates of speed.

Source: Or. Rev. Stat. §814.420

Bicycling Under the Influence

In Oregon, bicycles are defined as vehicles. Oregon's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to all vehicles and therefore applies to bicyclists. Bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and operating a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances may result in severe punishments.

Source: Or. Rev. Stat. §§813.010; 801.590

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Oregon does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Oregon does not specifically provide for local authorities to regulate the operation of bicycles or require registration of bicycles, although such authorities may regulate the operation of bicycles through the exercise of their other legal powers.

Source: N/A

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Oregon are generally found in Volume 17 of the Oregon Revised Statutes (Or. Rev. Stat.), available here: http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Pennsylvania

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Pennsylvania requires that the driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left of the bicycle within not less than four feet at a careful and prudent reduced speed.

Source: 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. §3303

Helmet Law

Pennsylvania requires that any person under the age of 12 riding a bicycle, as an operator or passenger, must wear a protective bicycle helmet.

However, in no event shall the failure to wear a required helmet be used as evidence in a trial of any civil action; nor shall any jury in a civil action be instructed regarding violations of the law requiring helmets; nor shall failure to use a helmet be considered as contributory negligence.

Source: 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. §3510

Share the Road license plates

Pennsylvania does not offer Share the Road license plates at this time.

Source: N/A

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Pennsylvania does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

Pennsylvania currently has the following law aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • No driver shall operate a motor vehicle on a roadway while using an interactive wireless communications device to send, read or write a text-based communication while the vehicle is in motion.

Source: 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. §3316

Where to Ride

Pennsylvania requires that a bicyclist ride in the right-hand lane available for traffic, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except:

  • When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or
  • When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into an alley, private road or driveway.

This requirement does not apply to:

  • A bicycle using any portion of an available roadway due to unsafe surface conditions.
  • A bicycle using a roadway that has a width of not more than one lane of traffic in each direction.

Source: 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. §3301

Sidewalk Riding

Pennsylvania allows bicycles to operate on sidewalks subject to the following rules:

  • A person riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk used by pedestrians shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian.
  • A person shall not ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk in a business district unless permitted by official traffic-control devices, or when a usable bicycle-only lane is available adjacent to the sidewalk.

Source: 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. §3508

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Pennsylvania does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

In Pennsylvania, bicycles are defined as vehicles. Pennsylvania's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to all vehicles and therefore applies to bicyclists. Bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and operating a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances may result in severe punishments.

Source: 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. §§3802; 102

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Pennsylvania does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Pennsylvania provides that its state traffic laws shall not be deemed to prevent local authorities on streets or highways within their physical boundaries from the reasonable exercise of their police powers. Regulating the operation of bicycles and requiring their registration and inspection, and the payment of a reasonable registration fee is presumed to be reasonable exercises of police power.

Source: 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. §6109

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Pennsylvania are generally found in Title 75 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes (Pa. Cons. Stat.), available here: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/li/public/cons_index.cfm.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Rhode Island

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Rhode Island requires that the driver of a motor vehicle must pass a bicyclist by driving to the left of the bicycle at a safe distance, that is sufficient to prevent contact with the person operating the bicycle if the person were to fall into the driver's lane of traffic, and returning to the lane of travel once the motor vehicle is safely clear of the overtaken bicycle. However, a driver of a motor vehicle need not follow that requirement when:

  • Driving in a lane that is separate from and adjacent to a designated bicycle lane;
  • Driving at a speed not greater than fifteen miles per hour; or
  • When the driver is passing a bicyclist's right side and the person operating the bicycle is turning left.

The driver of a motor vehicle may drive to the left of the center of a roadway to pass a person operating a bicycle proceeding in the same direction only if the roadway to the left of the center is unobstructed for a sufficient distance to permit the driver to pass the person operating the bicycle safely and avoid interference with oncoming traffic.

Source: R.I. Gen. Laws §31-15-18

Helmet Law

Rhode Island requires that any person under the age of 15 riding a bicycle, as an operator or passenger, must wear a protective bicycle helmet.

However, in no event shall failure to wear a helmet be considered as contributory or comparative negligence, nor shall the failure to wear a helmet be admissible as evidence in the trial of any civil action.

Source: R.I. Gen. Laws §31-19-2.1

Share the Road license plates

Rhode Island does not offer Share the Road license plates at this time.

Source: N/A

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Rhode Island does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

Rhode Island currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • No person shall use a wireless handset to compose, read or send text messages while operating a motor vehicle on any public street or public highway within the state of Rhode Island;
  • The use of a cell phone by a minor while said minor, any person less than 18 years of age, is operating a motor vehicle shall be prohibited, except in the case of an emergency;
  • The use of a cell phone by a school bus driver shall be prohibited, while the bus is transporting children except in the case of an emergency; and
  • A person shall not drive a bicycle or motor vehicle upon any highway while wearing earphones or a headset.

Source: R.I. Gen. Laws §§31-22-30; 31-22-11.8; 31-22-11.9; 31-23-51

Where to Ride

Rhode Island requires that every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction except where official traffic control devices (signs or pavement markings) specifically direct bicyclists to do otherwise.

Source: R.I. Gen. Laws §31-19-6

Sidewalk Riding

Rhode Island provides that a person may ride any vehicle operated by human power upon and along a sidewalk or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, unless prohibited by official traffic-control devices (signs). When riding on a sidewalk a person has all the rights and all the duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.

Source: R.I. Gen. Laws §§31-19-11; 31-19-12

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Rhode Island does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

In Rhode Island, bicycles are defined as vehicles. Rhode Island's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to all vehicles and therefore applies to bicyclists. Bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and operating a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances may result in severe punishments.

Source: R.I. Gen. Laws §§31-1-3; 31-27-2

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Rhode Island does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Rhode Island provides that its state traffic laws shall not be deemed to prevent local authorities, with respect to streets and highways under their jurisdiction and within the reasonable exercise of the police power, from regulating the operation of bicycles and requiring the registration and licensing of bicycles, including the requirement of a registration fee.

Source: R.I. Gen. Laws §31-12-12

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Rhode Island are generally found in Title 31 of the Rhode Island General Statutes (R.I. Gen. Laws), available here: http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

South Carolina

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

South Carolina does not explicitly address the distance to be maintained by motorists while passing a bicycle, but requires that a driver of a motor vehicle must at all times maintain a safe operating distance between the motor vehicle and a bicycle.

Source: S.C. Code Ann. §56-5-3435

Helmet Law

South Carolina has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

Source: N/A

Share the Road license plates

South Carolina, in conjunction with the Palmetto Cycling Coalition, offers Share the Road license plates. For more information on such plates please visit: http://pccsc.net/licenseplate.php.

Source: S.C. Code Ann. §56-3-4410

Vulnerable Road User Laws

South Carolina does not define who is a "vulnerable road user," but has several statutes aimed at protecting bicyclists specifically. These include:

  • It is unlawful to harass, taunt, or maliciously throw an object at or in the direction of any person riding a bicycle; and
    • A person who commits the above offense is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than two hundred fifty dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.
  • Every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or any person propelling a human-powered vehicle and shall give an audible signal when necessary.

Source: S.C. Code Ann. §§56-5-3445; 56-5-3230

Distracted Driving Laws

South Carolina does not restrict mobile phone use in a vehicle at this time.

Source: N/A

Where to Ride

South Carolina requires that every bicyclist operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable. In addition, South Carolina provides that:

  • A bicyclist may, but is not required to, ride on the shoulder of the roadway;
  • A bicyclist may ride in a lane other than the right-hand lane if only one lane is available that permits the bicyclist to continue on his intended route; and
  • When operating a bicycle upon a roadway, a bicyclist must exercise due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.

Source: S.C. Code Ann. §56-5-3430

Sidewalk Riding

South Carolina does not have a statute that specifically authorizes or prohibits the operation of a bicycle upon a sidewalk.

Source: N/A

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

South Carolina requires that whenever a bicycle lane has been provided adjacent to a roadway, operators of:

  • Motor vehicles may not block the bicycle lane to oncoming bicycle traffic and shall yield to a bicyclist in the bicycle lane before entering or crossing the lane; and
  • Bicycles are required to ride in the bicycle lane except when necessary to pass another person riding a bicycle or to avoid an obstruction in the bicycle lane. However, bicyclists may ride on the roadway when there is only an adjacent recreational bicycle path available instead of a bicycle lane.

Source: S.C. Code Ann. §56-5-3425

Bicycling Under the Influence

South Carolina's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to motor vehicles and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists. Nevertheless bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated.

Source: S.C. Code Ann. §56-5-2930

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

South Carolina provides that, notwithstanding any other provision of law, if a bicyclist, approaches an intersection that is controlled by a traffic-control device, the bicyclist may proceed through the intersection on a steady red light only if the bicyclist:

  • Comes to a full and complete stop at the intersection for one hundred twenty seconds; and
  • While exercising due care, treats the traffic control device as a stop sign, and determines it is safe to proceed.

Source: S.C. Code Ann. §56-5-970

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

South Carolina provides that its state traffic laws shall not be deemed to prevent local authorities, with respect to streets and highways under their jurisdiction and within the reasonable exercise of the police power, from regulating the operation of bicycles and requiring the registration and licensing of them, including the requirement of a registration fee.

Source: S.C. Code Ann. §56-5-710

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of South Carolina are generally found in Title 56 of the South Carolina Code of Laws (S.C. Code Ann.), available here: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/title56.php.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

South Dakota

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

South Dakota does not have a law that sets a specific distance for a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle. The overtaking of a bicycle by a motor vehicle, or vice versa, is governed by general traffic laws and, in most circumstances, such overtaking must be done to the left at a safe distance.

Source: S.D. Codified Laws §32-26-26

Helmet Law

South Dakota has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

Source: N/A

Share the Road license plates

South Dakota does not offer Share the Road license plates at this time.

Source: N/A

Vulnerable Road User Laws

South Dakota does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

South Dakota does not restrict mobile phone use in a vehicle at this time.

Source: N/A

Where to Ride

South Dakota requires that bicyclists ride as close as practicable to the right-hand edge of the roadway except under any of the following circumstances:

  • When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
  • When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or roadway; or
  • When avoiding conditions that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand edge including, those caused by a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

Source: S.D. Codified Laws §32-20B-5

Sidewalk Riding

South Dakota allows bicycles to operate on sidewalks subject to the following rules:

  • A person operating a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or a crosswalk, shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances, except that bicyclists must stop before entering a crosswalk or highway from a sidewalk or sidewalk area; and
  • A person operating a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or a crosswalk, shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian.

Source: S.D. Codified Laws §§32-20B-2; 32-20B-3

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

South Dakota does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

South Dakota specifically provides that Chapter 32-23, restricting driving under the influence, does not apply to any person riding a bicycle, tricycle, or other unpowered foot-pedal conveyance.

Source: S.D. Codified Laws §32-23-22

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

South Dakota does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

South Dakota does not specifically provide for local authorities to regulate the operation of bicycles or require registration of bicycles, although such authorities may regulate the operation of bicycles through the exercise of their other legal powers.

Source: N/A

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of South Dakota are generally found in Title 32 of the South Dakota Codified Laws (S.D. Codified Laws), available here: http://legis.state.sd.us/statutes/index.aspx.

Other Resources

The following resource may be useful:

Tennessee

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Tennessee requires that the operator of a motor vehicle, when overtaking and passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on the roadway, shall leave a safe distance between the motor vehicle and the bicycle of not less than three feet and shall maintain the clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle.

Source: Tenn. Code Ann. §55-8-175

Helmet Law

Tennessee requires that any person under the age of 16 riding a bicycle, as an operator or passenger, must wear a protective bicycle helmet.

However, in no event shall failure to wear a protective bicycle helmet be admissible as evidence in a trial of any civil action.

Source: Tenn. Code Ann. §§55-52-105; 55-52-106(c)

Share the Road license plates

Tennessee, in conjunction with the Jeff Roth Cycling Foundation, offers Share the Road license plates. For more information on such plates please visit: http://www.jeffrothcyclingfoundation.org/.

Source: Tenn. Code Ann. §55-4-276

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Tennessee does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

Tennessee currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • Every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care by operating the vehicle at a safe speed, by maintaining a safe lookout, by keeping the vehicle under proper control and by devoting full time and attention to operating the vehicle;
  • No person while driving a motor vehicle on any public road or highway shall use a hand-held mobile telephone or a hand-held personal digital assistant to transmit or read a written message;
  • No driver possessing a learner permit or intermediate driver license pursuant to this section shall operate a motor vehicle in motion on any highway while using a hand held cellular telephone, cellular car telephone, or other mobile telephone; and
  • A person shall not operate a motor vehicle with a television or video screen capable of displaying a television broadcast or video signal that produces entertainment or business applications, if the monitor or screen is intended to display images visible to the driver in a normal position when the vehicle is in motion.

Source: Tenn. Code Ann. §§55-8-136(b); 55-8-199; 55-50-311; 55-9-105

Where to Ride

Tennessee requires that bicyclists ride as close as practicable to the right-hand edge of the roadway except under any of the following circumstances:

  • When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
  • When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway; or
  • When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand edge including, those caused by a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

Source: Tenn. Code Ann. §55-8-175

Sidewalk Riding

Tennessee does not have a statute that specifically authorizes or prohibits the operation of a bicycle upon a sidewalk.

Source: N/A

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Tennessee does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

Tennessee's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to automobile, and other motor driven vehicles, and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists. Nevertheless bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated.

Source: Tenn. Code Ann. §55-10-401

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Tennessee provides that, notwithstanding any law to the contrary, when an intersection is controlled by a traffic-control signal that utilizes a vehicle detection device and such device fails to detect a bicycle or is inoperative due to the size of the bicycle then the rider of a bicycle approaching the intersection:

  • Shall come to a full and complete stop at the intersection, and
  • Exercising due care, as provided by law, may proceed with due caution when it is safe to do so.

However, it is not a defense to a traffic signal violation that the rider of a bicycle proceeded under the belief that a traffic-control signal utilized a vehicle detection device or was inoperative due to the size of the bicycle when in fact those conditions did not exist.

Source: Tenn. Code Ann. §55-8-110

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Tennessee does not specifically provide for local authorities to regulate the operation of bicycles or require registration of bicycles, although such authorities may regulate the operation of bicycles through the exercise of their other legal powers.

Source: N/A

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Tennessee are generally found in Title 55 of the Tennessee Code Annotated (Tex. Code Ann.), available here: http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/tncode/.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Texas

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Texas does not have a law that sets a specific distance for a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle. The overtaking of a bicycle by a motor vehicle, or vice versa, is governed by general traffic laws and, in most circumstances, such overtaking must be done to the left at a safe distance.

Source: Tex. Transp. Code Ann. §545.053

Helmet Law

Texas has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

However, Texas has designated April as Child Safety Month which, amongst other things, promotes ways to reduce accidental injury and death through the use of bicycle helmets.

Source: TS §662.105

Share the Road license plates

Texas, in conjunction with the Texas Bicycle Coalition Education Fund, offers Share the Road license plates. For more information on such plates please visit: https://rts.texasonline.state.tx.us/NASApp/txdotrts/SpecialPlateOrderServlet?grpid=60&pltid=97

In addition, funds from the "God Bless Texas" and "God Bless America" specialized license plates are used by the Texas Education Agency to support the Safe Routes to School Program.

Source: Tex. Transp. Code Ann. §§504.633; 504.648

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Texas does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

Texas currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • A person under 18 years of age may not operate a motor vehicle while using a wireless communications device;
  • A person under 17 years of age who holds a restricted motorcycle license or moped license may not operate a motorcycle or moped while using a wireless communications device;
  • An operator may not use a wireless communication device while operating a passenger bus with a minor passenger on the bus unless the passenger bus is stopped; and
  • An operator may not use a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle within a school crossing zone unless the vehicle is stopped; or the wireless communication device is used with a hands-free device.

Source: Tex. Transp. Code Ann. §§545.424; 545.425

Where to Ride

Texas requires that a person operating a bicycle on a roadway shall ride as near as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway, unless:

  • The person is passing another vehicle moving in the same direction;
  • The person is preparing to turn left at an intersection or onto a private road or driveway;
  • There exists a condition on or of the roadway that prevents the person from safely riding next to the right curb or edge of the roadway; or
  • The person is operating a bicycle in an outside lane that is:
    • Less than 14 feet in width and does not have a designated bicycle lane adjacent to that lane; or
    • Too narrow for a bicycle and a motor vehicle to safely travel side by side.
  • The person is operating a bicycle on a one-way roadway with two or more marked traffic lanes, in which case they may ride as near as practicable to the left curb or edge of the roadway.

Source: Tex. Transp. Code Ann. §551.103

Sidewalk Riding

Texas does not have a statute that specifically authorizes or prohibits the operation of a bicycle upon a sidewalk.

Source: N/A

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Texas does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

Texas's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to motor vehicles and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists. Nevertheless bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated.

Source: Tex. Transp. Code Ann. §49.04

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Texas does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Texas provides that its state traffic laws shall not prevent a local authority, with respect to a highway under its jurisdiction and in the reasonable exercise of the police power, from the operation and requiring registration and licensing of a bicycle or electric bicycle, including payment of a registration fee.

In addition, a governing body of a municipality may restrain or prohibit the firing of firecrackers or guns, the use of a bicycle or similar conveyance, the use of a firework or similar material, or any other amusement or practice tending to annoy persons passing on a street or sidewalk.

Source: Tex. Transp. Code Ann. §§542.202; 217.003

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Texas are generally found in Titles 545 and 551 of the Texas Statutes (TS), available here: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Search.aspx.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Utah

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Utah requires that in all circumstances, including when overtaking a bicyclist, an operator of a motor vehicle may not knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly operate a motor vehicle within three feet of a moving bicycle, unless the operator of the motor vehicle operates the motor vehicle within a reasonable and safe distance of the bicycle.

Source: Utah Code Ann. §41-6a-706.5

Helmet Law

Utah has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

Source: N/A

Share the Road license plates

Utah offers Share the Road license plates. Money raised by the plates goes to charitable organizations that promote safe bicycle operation, safe motor vehicle operation around bicycles, and healthy lifestyles. For more information on such plates please visit: http://dmv.utah.gov/license-plates/special-group-plates#sharetheroad.

Source: Utah Code Ann. §72-2-127

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Utah does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

Utah currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • A person operating a motor vehicle is guilty of careless driving if the person:
    • commits a moving traffic violation, that is not a speed limit violation, while being distracted by one or more activities taking place within the vehicle that are not related to the operation of a motor vehicle, including:
      • using a wireless telephone or other electronic device unless the person is using hands-free talking and listening features while operating the motor vehicle;
      • searching for an item in the vehicle; or
      • attending to personal hygiene or grooming.
  • A person may not use a handheld wireless communication device while operating a moving motor vehicle on a highway in this state to:
    • text message;
    • manually communicate through an electronic mail system;
    • manually enter data into a handheld wireless communication device;
    • send data, read text, or view images on a handheld wireless communication device; or
    • manipulate an application from a handheld wireless communication device.
  • A person commits criminal homicide, a third degree felony, if the person operates a moving motor vehicle in a negligent manner:
    • while using a handheld wireless communication device as described above; and
    • causing the death of another person.

Source: Utah Code Ann. §§41-6a-1715; 41-6a-1716; 76-5-207.5

Where to Ride

Utah requires that a person operating a bicycle shall ride as near as practicable to the right-hand edge of the roadway except when:

  • overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
  • preparing to make a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway;
  • traveling straight through an intersection that has a right-turn only lane that is in conflict with the straight through movement; or
  • reasonably necessary to avoid conditions that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand edge of the roadway, including those caused by a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

Source: Utah Code Ann. §41-6a-1105

Sidewalk Riding

Utah allows bicycles to operate on sidewalks subject to the following rules:

  • A person operating a bicycle shall:
    • yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian; and
    • give an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian;
  • A person may not operate a bicycle on a sidewalk, path, trail, or across a roadway in a crosswalk, where prohibited by a traffic-control device or ordinance;
  • A person operating a bicycle on a sidewalk, path, trail, or across a roadway on a crosswalk may not operate at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the existing conditions, giving regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing;
  • Except as otherwise provided, a person operating a bicycle on a sidewalk, path, or trail, or across a roadway on a crosswalk, has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances; and
  • Except for a bicycle or device propelled by human power, a person may not operate a vehicle on a sidewalk or sidewalk area other than on a driveway.

Source: Utah Code Ann. §§41-6a-1106; 41-6a-1702

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Utah provides that if a usable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a roadway, a bicycle rider may be directed by a traffic-control device to use the path and not the roadway.

Source: Utah Code Ann. §41-6a-1105(4)

Bicycling Under the Influence

In Utah, bicycles are defined as vehicles. Utah's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to all vehicles and therefore may apply to bicyclists. Bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated.

However, Utah law also specifically provides that a person operating a non-motorized bicycle or a vehicle or device propelled by human power is not subject to the penalties related to operator licenses under alcohol and drug-related traffic offenses.

Source: Utah Code Ann. §§41-6a-502; 41-6a-1102

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Utah does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Utah provides that its state traffic laws shall not prevent a local highway authority, for a highway under its jurisdiction and within the reasonable exercise of police power, from regulating the operation of a bicycle and requiring the registration and inspection of bicycles, including requiring a registration fee.

In addition, municipalities may prohibit or regulate the rolling of hoops, playing of ball, flying of kites, riding of bicycles or tricycles, or any other amusements or practices having a tendency to annoy persons passing in the streets or on sidewalks, or to frighten teams of horses, or to interfere with traffic.

Source: Utah Code Ann. §§41-6a-208; 10-8-69

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Utah are generally found in Title 41 of the Utah Code (Utah Code Ann.), available here: http://www.le.state.ut.us/Documents/code_const.htm.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Vermont

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Vermont requires that the operator of a motor vehicle approaching or passing a vulnerable user, including a bicyclist, shall exercise due care, which includes increasing clearance, to pass the vulnerable user safely. To accomplish safe passing a motor vehicle may cross the center of the highway if the left side is clearly visible and free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance to permit overtaking and passing to be completed without interfering with the operation of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction or of any vehicle overtaken.

Source: Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 23 §§1033; 1035

Helmet Law

Vermont has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

Source: N/A

Share the Road license plates

Vermont does not offer Share the Road license plates at this time.

Source: N/A

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Vermont defines a "vulnerable user" as a pedestrian; an operator of highway building, repair, or maintenance equipment or of agricultural equipment; a person operating a wheelchair or other personal mobility device, whether motorized or not; a person operating a bicycle or other non-motorized means of transportation (such as, but not limited to, roller skates, rollerblades, or roller skis); or a person riding, driving, or herding an animal.

Vulnerable users are protected by laws requiring:

  • A motorist to exercise due care in passing a vulnerable user, which includes increasing clearance, to pass the vulnerable user safely;
  • A motorist to not, in a careless or imprudent manner, approach, pass, or maintain speed unnecessarily close to a vulnerable user; and
  • An occupant of a vehicle to not throw any object or substance at a vulnerable user.

Source: Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 23 §§4(81); 1033; 1039

Distracted Driving Laws

Vermont currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • A person shall not engage in texting while operating a moving motor vehicle on a highway; and
  • A person under 18 years of age shall not use any portable electronic device while operating a moving motor vehicle on a highway.

Source: Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 23 §§1099; 1095a

Where to Ride

Vermont requires that a person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall exercise due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction and generally shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, but shall ride to the left or in a left lane when:

  • preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private roadway or driveway;
  • approaching an intersection with a right-turn lane if not turning right at the intersection;
  • overtaking another highway user; or
  • taking reasonably necessary precautions to avoid hazards or road conditions.

Source: Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 23 §1139

Sidewalk Riding

Vermont does not have a statute that specifically authorizes or prohibits the operation of a bicycle upon a sidewalk.

Source: N/A

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Vermont does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

Vermont's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies only to motor vehicles and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists. Nevertheless bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and a bicyclist may potentially be charged with a DUI because bicyclists are subject to the duties applicable to vehicles.

Source: Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 23 §§4(21); 1200; 1201

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Vermont does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Vermont does not specifically provide for local authorities to regulate the operation of bicycles or require registration of bicycles at a state-wide level. However, there are state laws that allow certain local authorities those regulatory powers.

Source:

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Vermont are generally found in Title 23 of the Vermont Statutes Annotated (Vt. Stat. Ann.), available here: http://www.leg.state.vt.us/statutesMain.cfm.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Virginia

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Virginia requires that any driver of any vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction shall pass at a reasonable speed at least two feet to the left of the overtaken bicycle and shall not again proceed to the right side of the highway until safely clear of such overtaken bicycle.

Source: Va. Code Ann. §46.2-839

Helmet Law

Virginia provides that the governing body of any county, city or town may, by ordinance, may require that any person 14 years of age or younger riding a bicycle, as an operator or passenger, must wear a protective bicycle helmet.

However, if there is an applicable ordinance, the failure to comply with that ordinance shall not constitute negligence, or assumption of risk, be considered in mitigation of damages of whatever nature, be admissible in evidence, or be the subject of comment by counsel in any action for the recovery of damages arising out of the operation of any bicycle.

Source: Va. Code Ann. §46.2-906.1

Share the Road license plates

Virginia offers Share the Road license plates. For more information on such plates please visit: http://www.dmv.virginia.gov/exec/vehicle/splates/info.asp?idnm=BIKW.

Source: Va. Code Ann. §46.2-749.111

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Virginia does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

Virginia currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle, bicycle or moped on the highways in the Commonwealth while using earphones on or in both ears;
  • It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a moving motor vehicle on the highways in the Commonwealth while using any handheld personal communications device to:
    • Manually enter multiple letters or text in the device as a means of communicating with another person; or
    • Read any email or text message transmitted to the device or stored within the device;
  • The holder of a provisional driver's license shall not operate a motor vehicle on the highways of the Commonwealth while using any cellular telephone or any other wireless telecommunications device, regardless of whether such device is or is not hand-held; and
  • No person shall use any wireless telecommunications device, whether handheld or otherwise, while driving a school bus.

Source: Va. Code Ann. §§46.2-1078; 46.2-1078.1; 46.2-334.01(C1); 46.2-919.1

Where to Ride

Virginia requires that any person operating a bicycle shall ride as close as safely practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway, except under any of the following circumstances:

  • When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
  • When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway;
  • When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions that make it unsafe to continue along the right curb or edge, including those caused by substandard width lanes;
  • When avoiding riding in a lane that must turn or diverge to the right; and
  • When riding upon a one-way road or highway, a person may also ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of such roadway as safely practicable.

Source: Va. Code Ann. §46.2-905

Sidewalk Riding

Virginia allows bicycles to operate on sidewalks subject to the following rules:

  • The governing body of any county, city, or town may by ordinance prohibit the riding of bicycles on designated sidewalks or crosswalks. Signs indicating such prohibition shall be conspicuously posted in general areas where the riding of bicycles, is prohibited;
  • No person shall ride a bicycle on a sidewalk, or across a roadway on a crosswalk, where such use of bicycles is prohibited by official traffic control devices;
  • A person riding a bicycle on a sidewalk, shared-use path, or across a roadway on a crosswalk, shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing any pedestrian; and
  • A person riding a bicycle on a sidewalk, shared-use path, or across a roadway on a crosswalk, shall have all the rights and duties of a pedestrian under the same circumstances.

Source: Va. Code Ann. §46.2-904

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Virginia does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

Virginia's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to motor vehicles and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists. Nevertheless bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated.

Source: Va. Code Ann. §18.2-266

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Virginia provides that, notwithstanding any other provision of law, when a bicycle rider approaches an intersection that is controlled by a traffic light, the rider may proceed through the intersection on a steady red light if, and only if, the rider:

  • Comes to a full and complete stop at the intersection for two complete cycles of the traffic light or for two minutes, whichever is shorter;
  • Exercises due care as provided by law;
  • Otherwise treats the traffic control device as a stop sign;
  • Determines that it is safe to proceed; and
  • Yields the right of way to the driver of any vehicle approaching on such other highway from either direction.

Source: Va. Code Ann. §46.2-833(B)

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Virginia provides that any locality may, by ordinance:

  • Provide for the public sale or donation to a charitable organization of any bicycle that has been in the possession of the police or sheriff's department, unclaimed, for more than thirty days;
  • Require every resident owner of a bicycle to obtain a license therefore and a license plate, tag, to be substantially attached to the bicycle;
  • Prescribe the license fee, the license application forms and the license form; and
  • Prescribe penalties for operating a bicycle on public roads or streets within the locality without an attached license plate, tag, or adhesive decal.

The ordinance shall require the license plates, tags, or adhesive decals to be provided by and at the cost of the locality. Any locality may provide that the license plates, tags, or adhesive decals shall be valid for the life of the bicycles to which they are attached or for such other period as it may prescribe and may prescribe such fee as it may deem reasonable. When any town license is required, the license shall be in lieu of any license required by any county ordinance.

Any bicycle found and delivered to the police or sheriff's department by a private person that thereafter remains unclaimed for thirty days after the final date of the required publicized notice may be given to the finder. The location and description of the bicycle shall be published at least once a week for two successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation within the locality. In addition, if there is a license, tag, or adhesive license decal affixed to the bicycle the record owner shall be notified directly.

Source: Va. Code Ann. §15.2-1720

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Virginia are generally found in Title 46.2 of the Code of Virginia (Va. Code Ann.), available here: http://leg1.state.va.us/000/src.htm.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Washington

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Washington requires that the driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian or bicycle that is on the roadway, on the right-hand shoulder, or on a bicycle lane within the roadway shall pass to the left at a safe distance to clearly avoid coming into contact with the pedestrian or bicyclist, and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken pedestrian or bicyclist.

Source: Wash. Rev. Code §46.61.110

Helmet Law

Washington has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

Source: N/A

Share the Road license plates

Washington offers Share the Road license plates. Funds generated by Share the Road license plates promote bicycle safety and awareness education in communities throughout Washington. For more information on such plates please visit: http://www.dol.wa.gov/vehicleregistration/spshareroad.html.

Source: Wash. Rev. Code §§46.68.420; 46.18.200; 46.04.535

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Washington defines a "vulnerable user of a public way" as:

  • A pedestrian;
  • A person riding an animal; or
  • A person operating any of the following on a public way:
  • A farm tractor or implement of husbandry, without an enclosed shell;
  • A bicycle;
  • An electric-assisted bicycle;
  • An electric personal assistive mobility device;
  • A moped;
  • A motor-driven cycle;
  • A motorized foot scooter; or
  • A motorcycle.

Washington protects vulnerable users of a public way by providing for the offense of negligent driving in the second degree with a vulnerable user victim. This offense is committed if, under circumstances not constituting negligent driving in the first degree:

  • A driver operates a vehicle in a manner that is both negligent and endangers or is likely to endanger any person or property; and
  • The driver proximately causes the death, great bodily harm, or substantial bodily harm of a vulnerable user of a public way.

A person found to have committed negligent driving in the second degree with a vulnerable user victim shall be required to:

  • Pay a monetary penalty of five thousand dollars, which may not be reduced to an amount less than one thousand dollars; and
  • Have his or her driving privileges suspended for ninety days.

Alternatively, a person found to have committed negligent driving in the second degree with a vulnerable user victim may elect to have a hearing where a reduced monetary penalty and traffic school may be imposed.

Source: Wash. Rev. Code §46.61.526

Distracted Driving Laws

Washington currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • A person operating a moving motor vehicle while holding a wireless communications device to his or her ear is guilty of a traffic infraction;
  • A person operating a moving motor vehicle who, by means of an electronic wireless communications device, sends, reads, or writes a text message, is guilty of a traffic infraction; and
  • The holder of an intermediate license may not operate a moving motor vehicle while using a wireless communications device unless the holder is using the device to report illegal activity, summon medical or other emergency help, or prevent injury to a person or property.

Source: Wash. Rev. Code §§46.61.667; 46.61.668; 46.20.075

Where to Ride

Washington requires that every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the right through lane as is safe except as may be appropriate while:

  • Preparing to make or while making turning movements, or
  • Overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.

    In addition, a person operating a bicycle upon a roadway which carries traffic in one direction only and has two or more marked traffic lanes, may ride as near to the left side of the left through lane as is safe.

    Source: Wash. Rev. Code §46.61.770

    Sidewalk Riding

    Washington provides that every person riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk or crosswalk must be granted all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to a pedestrian.

    However, the rider of a bicycle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian on a sidewalk or crosswalk. A person who violates this rule may be subject to a fine of up to $500. Fifty percent of the amount of such fine is to be deposited into a school zone safety account.

    Source: Wash. Rev. Code §§46.61.755; 46.61.261

    Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

    Washington does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

    Source: N/A

    Bicycling Under the Influence

    Washington's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances may be literally interpreted so that it applies to bicyclists. However, in City of Montesano v. Daniel Wells, 902 P.2d 1266 (1995), Washington's Second Circuit Court of Appeals held that the DUI law did not apply to bicyclists. Since this holding the Washington State legislature has not attempted to change the DUI law so that it more readily applies to bicyclists. In fact a new law was passed in 2000 which specifically addresses law enforcement interactions with bicyclists who are under the influence.

    Washington now specifically provides that a law enforcement officer may offer to transport a bicycle rider who appears to be under the influence of alcohol or any drug and who is walking or moving along or within the right-of-way of a public roadway. In that case the law enforcement officer shall:

    • Transport the intoxicated bicycle rider to a safe place; or
    • Release the intoxicated bicycle rider to a competent person; and
    • The law enforcement officer shall not provide the assistance offered if the bicycle rider refuses to accept it.

    In addition, the law enforcement officer may impound the bicycle operated by an intoxicated bicycle rider if the officer determines that impoundment is necessary to reduce a threat to public safety, and there are no reasonable alternatives to impoundment. The bicycle may be reclaimed by the bicycle rider when the bicycle rider no longer appears to be intoxicated, or by an individual who can establish ownership of the bicycle. The bicycle must be returned without payment of a fee.

    Source: Wash. Rev. Code §§46.04.670; 46.61.502; 46.61.790

    "Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

    Washington does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

    However, Washington does require that all existing vehicle-activated traffic control signals that do not currently routinely and reliably detect bicycles must be adjusted to do so to the extent that the existing equipment is capable consistent with safe traffic control. Priority is given to existing vehicle-activated traffic control signals for which complaints relating to bicycle detection have been received or otherwise identified as having a detection problem.

    Source: Wash. Rev. Code §47.36.025

    Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

    Washington provides that every city and town may by ordinance:

    • Regulate and license the riding of bicycles and other similar vehicles upon or along the streets, alleys, highways, or other public grounds within its limits;
    • Construct and maintain bicycle paths or roadways within or outside of and beyond its limits leading to or from the city or town;
    • Establish and collect reasonable license fees from all persons riding a bicycle or other similar vehicle within its respective corporate limits; and
    • Enforce ordinances by reasonable fines and penalties.

    Source: Wash. Rev. Code §§35.75.010; 35.75.030; 35.75.040

    Source of Laws

    The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Washington are generally found in Title 46 of the Revised Code of Washington (Wash. Rev. Code), available here: http://search.leg.wa.gov/.

    Other Resources

    The following resources may be useful:

West Virginia

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

West Virginia does not have a law that sets a specific distance for a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle. The overtaking of a bicycle by a motor vehicle, or vice versa, is governed by general traffic laws and, in most circumstances, such overtaking must be done to the left at a safe distance.

Source: W. Va. Code §17C-7-3

Helmet Law

West Virginia requires that any person under the age of 15 riding a bicycle, as an operator or passenger, must wear a protective bicycle helmet. However, municipalities may also enact ordinances on the use of bicycle helmets.

The failure to wear a required helmet is not admissible as evidence of negligence or contributory negligence or comparative negligence in any civil action or proceeding for damages, and shall not be admissible in mitigation of damages.

Source: W. Va. Code §§17C-11A-4; 17C-11A-8; 17C-11A-6

Share the Road license plates

West Virginia has a law that enables its Department of Motor Vehicles to issue Share the Road license plates. However, at this time no Share the Road plates are offered. If you are interested in Share the Road license plates the following websites may be helpful:

Source: W. Va. Code §17A-3-14

Vulnerable Road User Laws

West Virginia does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

West Virginia currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • A person may not drive or operate a motor vehicle on a public street or highway while:
    • Texting; or
    • Using a cell phone or other electronic communications device, unless the use is accomplished by hands-free equipment;
  • A holder of a level one instruction permit who is under the age of eighteen years shall be prohibited from using a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle; and
  • A holder of a level two intermediate driver's license who is under the age of eighteen years shall be prohibited from using a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle.

Source: W. Va. Code §§17C-14-15; 17B-2-3a

Where to Ride

West Virginia requires that every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.

Source: W. Va. Code §17C-11-5

Sidewalk Riding

West Virginia does not have a statute that specifically authorizes or prohibits the operation of a bicycle upon a sidewalk.

Source: N/A

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

West Virginia requires that whenever a usable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a roadway, bicycle riders shall use such path and shall not use the roadway.

Source: W. Va. Code §17C-11-5(c)

Bicycling Under the Influence

In West Virginia, bicycles are not defined as vehicles. West Virginia's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to vehicles and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists. Nevertheless bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated.

Source: W. Va. Code §§17C-1-2; 17C-5-2

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

West Virginia does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

West Virginia does not specifically provide for local authorities to regulate the operation of bicycles or require registration of bicycles, although such authorities may regulate the operation of bicycles through the exercise of their other legal powers.

Source: N/A

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of West Virginia are generally found in Chapter 17C of the West Virginia Code (W. Va. Code), available here: http://www.legis.state.wv.us/WVCODE/Code.cfm.

Other Resources

The following resource may be useful:

Wisconsin

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Wisconsin requires that an operator of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction exercise due care, leaving a safe distance, but in no case less than 3 feet clearance, when passing the bicycle and maintain such clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle.

Source: Wis. Stat. §346.075

Helmet Law

Wisconsin has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

Source: N/A

Share the Road license plates

Wisconsin, in conjunction with Harley-Davidson, offers Share the Road license plates. For more information on such plates please visit: http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/drivers/vehicles/personal/special/harley-davidson.htm.

Source: Wis. Stat. §341.140

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Wisconsin does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

Wisconsin currently has the following restrictions on distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • No person while driving a motor vehicle shall be so engaged or occupied as to interfere with the safe driving of such vehicle;
  • No person shall drive any motor vehicle equipped with any device for visually receiving a television broadcast when such device is located in the motor vehicle at any point forward of the back of the operator's seat or when such device is visible to the operator while driving the motor vehicle;
  • No person may drive any motor vehicle while composing or sending an electronic text message or an electronic mail message; and
  • No person who holds a probationary license or an instruction permit may drive any motor vehicle while using a cellular or other wireless telephone.

Source: Wis. Stat. §346.89

Where to Ride

Wisconsin requires that any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand edge or curb of the unobstructed traveled roadway, except:

  • When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
  • When preparing for a left turn or U-turn at an intersection or a left turn into a private road or driveway.
  • When reasonably necessary to avoid unsafe conditions, including fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards or substandard width lanes that make it unsafe to ride along the right-hand edge or curb.
  • When operating upon a one-way highway having 2 or more lanes available for traffic may ride as near the left-hand edge or curb of the roadway as practicable.

Source: Wis. Stat. §346.80

Sidewalk Riding

Wisconsin provides that when local authorities permit bicycles on the sidewalk, every person operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall exercise due care and give an audible signal when passing a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device rider, or a pedestrian proceeding in the same direction.

Source: Wis. Stat. §346.804

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Wisconsin does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

Wisconsin's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to vehicles and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists. Nevertheless bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated.

Source: Wis. Stat. §346.63

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Wisconsin provides that no bicyclist facing a steady red signal shall enter the roadway unless he or she can do so safely and without interfering with any vehicular traffic.

However, a bicycle facing a red signal at an intersection may, after stopping as required, for not less than 45 seconds, proceed cautiously through the intersection before the signal turns green if:

  • No other vehicles are present at the intersection to actuate the signal and the operator of the bicycle reasonably believes the signal is vehicle actuated; and
  • The operator of a bicycle yields the right-of-way to any vehicular or other traffic proceeding through a green signal at the intersection or crosswalk.

Source: Wis. Stat. §346.37(1)(c)

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Wisconsin does not specifically provide for local authorities to regulate the operation of bicycles or require registration of bicycles, although such authorities may regulate the operation of bicycles through the exercise of their other legal powers.

Source: N/A

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Wisconsin are generally found in Chapter 346 of the Wisconsin Statutes (Wis. Stat.), available here: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/prefaces/toc.

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

Wyoming

All laws mentioned below were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.

Safe Passing Laws

Wyoming does not have a law that sets a specific distance for a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle. The overtaking of a bicycle by a motor vehicle, or vice versa, is governed by general traffic laws and, in most circumstances, such overtaking must be done to the left at a safe distance.

Source: Wyo. Stat. Ann. §31-5-203

Helmet Law

Wyoming has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

Source: N/A

Share the Road license plates

Wyoming does not offer Share the Road license plates at this time.

Source: N/A

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Wyoming does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here: http://www.bikeleague.org/action/bikelaws/modellaws.php.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

Wyoming currently requires that no person operate a motor vehicle on a public street or highway while using a handheld electronic wireless communication device to write, send or read a text-based communication, subject to limited exceptions.

Source: Wyo. Stat. Ann. §31-5-237

Where to Ride

Wyoming requires that every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.

Source: Wyo. Stat. Ann. §31-5-704

Sidewalk Riding

Wyoming prohibits vehicles, other than motorized wheelchairs and vehicles moved by human power, from driving upon a sidewalk or sidewalk area except upon a permanent or duly authorized temporary driveway. Therefore, bicycles may be driven on sidewalks.

There are no other state laws related to the operation of bicycles on sidewalks.

Source: Wyo. Stat. Ann. §31-5-120

Mandatory Use of Bicycle Paths

Wyoming does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

In Wyoming, bicycles are defined as vehicles. Wyoming's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to all vehicles and therefore applies to bicyclists. Bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and operating a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances may result in severe punishments.

Source: Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§31-5-102; 31-5-233

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Wyoming does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Wyoming provides that its state traffic laws do not prevent local authorities, with respect to streets and highways under their jurisdiction and within the reasonable exercise of their police power, from regulating the operation of bicycles and requiring the registration and licensing of bicycles, including the requirement of a registration fee.

Source: Wyo. Stat. Ann. §31-5-109

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Wyoming are generally found in Title 31 of the Wyoming Statutes (Wyo. Stat. Ann.), available here http://legisweb.state.wy.us/statutes/statutes.aspx?file=titles/Title31/Title31.htm.

Other Resources

The following resource may be useful:

All laws mentioned here were current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change. The laws listed here are for informational purposes only. Please consult your state and local laws in order to determine the laws you are subject to while riding.

See the League's model statutes


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