Bicycle laws are laws that help regulate the actions of bikers and how they can use the roads that are generally used mostly for automobiles. They can also help to regulate how automobile operators interact with bikers. Although these laws are obviously important for anyone who ever rides a bike on the road, or drives a car where bikes can be ridden, they’re often overlooked by both drivers and bicyclists.
According to Radio Iowa, only 61 percent of people surveyed in an Iowan town felt that they were comfortable saying they understood bicycling laws. Although that percentage may be higher in other more urban areas, it’s rarely near 100 percent. These are laws that we often assume we know, but we might be riding unsafely if we don’t check up on them.
Laws can vary from state to state, so it’s important that motorists and bicyclists understand the jurisdiction and the law that is enforced in the area that they are in. Bike League offers a long list of available biking laws that vary from state to state.
For instance, in Iowa, there is no dooring (the act of being aware of bikers when opening a car door) law, but there is a strong calling to be aware of dooring in the Iowa driver’s manual. Additionally, Iowa does not consider bicycles vehicles.
There is a different law in other states. In Pennsylvania, bicycles are treated as vehicles and have the same road rights and laws (such as being intoxicated while operating) as automobiles.
In most states, vehicles overtaking bicycles have to give three feet of space to the biker.
So, what are the most important laws to know about when it comes to riding in your state? The dooring law is important. Other important laws include helmet laws and sidewalk riding (some states, such as California, do not say yes or no to sidewalk riding). Some states even authorize bicyclists to run red lights if the intersection is not equipped to acknowledge bicycles.
Knowing these laws and how they affect your riding in the state you bicycle in is very important. It can be the difference between having a safe ride or a disastrous one.
If you would like more information on laws for bicyclists, or have been involved in a bicycling accident, contact us today.