Cycling is a great way to stay active, and it’s an environmentally friendly way to get around. However, it also comes with risks.
In 2019, 846 cyclists died in motor vehicle crashes, and over 300,000 injuries occurred while cycling. You can reduce your risk of injury by practicing bicycle safety and following bicycle laws.
Bicycle law varies by state, so it’s best to look up exact laws to ensure you are cycling responsibly. But, in general, there are several laws cyclists must follow in all states. Read on to learn about bicycle road laws.
Ride With the Flow of Traffic
Most states treat bicycles as vehicles and cyclists as drivers. So you are expected to ride in the same direction as traffic. In many states, they also have laws requiring cyclists to use the bike lane when available or keep all the way right.
Bicycles Must Obey Road Signs and Signals
Cyclists must follow stop signs, red lights, and other road signals while on the road. Since bikes aren’t equipped with turn signals, many states also have a law that requires cyclists to use hand signals to let others know when they are turning or stopping.
Yield To Pedestrians and Vehicles in the Road
Since bikes are considered vehicles, the law requires you to yield to pedestrians on the road. It is also illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk in many states since it can be dangerous for pedestrians and bikers.
You will also want to yield to any slower-moving vehicles in your path. State laws allow bikers to move to the left side of the lane to avoid an obstacle in the way but require bikers to yield first to ensure it is safe to pass.
Cycling Under the Influence
Since bikes are classified as vehicles in most states, they also have laws that make it illegal to ride while intoxicated. Cycling while intoxicated impairs your reflexes, judgment, and reaction time, making you more likely to get into an accident.
Helmet, Brakes, and Safe Passing Bike Safety Laws
Although not all states have helmet laws, it is always in your best interest to wear one. Helmets can protect you from serious injuries during an accident. Also, it will be easier for your bicycle accident attorney to recover damages if you are not at fault for the accident since you took steps to protect yourself.
Some states also have a brake law that requires all bikes to have a functioning brake system. Being able to stop at a moment’s notice can help keep you out of an accident.
Although many of these bike laws specify what you should do as a biker, you should also expect other vehicles to follow the road rules. Many states have safe passing laws that require motorized vehicles to keep a certain distance away from cyclists when passing them while traveling in the same direction.
Protect Yourself by Understanding Bicycle Law
Bicycle law provides what is expected of cyclists while on the road. These rules keep everyone on the same page and keep cyclists out of potentially dangerous situations that could hurt themselves or others. Be sure to check the laws in your state to ensure you are staying as safe as possible.
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