Traffic Laws - Sharing the Road
Bicyclists and in-line skaters must obey all traffic signals, signs and pavement markings. Bicyclists and in-line skaters who violate the law are subject to traffic tickets. Parents can be held responsible for violations by their minor children.
Bicyclists and in-line skaters have the legal right to share the road on most public highways, but they are prohibited on interstate highways and expressways. In addition, authorities with jurisdiction over other controlled-access highways may prohibit bicycles.
Riding with Traffic
The law requires that bicyclists ride and in-line skaters glide with traffic. Bicycling and skating against traffic are leading causes of crashes. Moving with traffic makes bicyclists and in-line skaters more visible, and their movements more predictable to motorists. Riding or gliding with traffic also prevents interference with the flow of traffic and pedestrians.
If there is a usable bicycle or in-line skating lane, the bicyclist and in-line skater must use it. If there is no lane or it is unusable due to parked cars or other hazards, the bicyclist may ride and the in-line skater may glide either on the right shoulder, or near the right edge or curb of the roadway. A bicyclist or an in-line skater may move further left to avoid hazards such as parked cars or debris, or to turn left but the bicyclist and in-line skater must avoid undue interference with other traffic.
Bicyclists and in-line skaters may ride two abreast on roadways, but they must ride or skate single file when being overtaken by other vehicles. They may only travel more than two abreast on a shoulder, lane or path intended for bicycling and skating use if there is sufficient space. However, they must be single file when passing vehicles, pedestrians and other bicyclists or in-line skaters.
Turning at Intersections
Bicyclists and in-line skaters should use the same through or turning lanes as motorists. They should move to the center of the lane when preparing for either a right or left turn, to prevent a following motorist from sharing the lane. If there is more than one left turn lane, use the one furthest to the right. A bicyclist or in-line skater may also choose to dismount and use the pedestrian crosswalk.
After crossing at an intersection, a bicyclist or in-line skater should move to a usable right-hand shoulder or to the right side of the right-hand lane as soon as it is safe to do so.
All bicyclists and their passengers, age 14 and under, are required to wear an approved bicycle helmet. Child passengers, ages 1-4, must wear an approved bicycle helmet and ride in a specially designed child safety seat. Children under the age of one are prohibited from being transported on a bicycle.
In-line skaters, skateboarders, and non-motorized scooter riders age 14 and under must also wear an approved bicycle helmet.
Any parent or guardian whose child violates the helmet law is subject to a fine of up to $50.
Every bicyclist, in-line skater or scooter rider, regardless of age, should wear an approved helmet. Helmets significantly reduce the risk of sustaining a serious head injury. A helmet should fit squarely on top of the head in a level position and cover the top of the forehead extending down to about an inch above the eyebrows. The helmet should not be able to slide back and forth on the head or rock from side to side.
A bicycle must be equipped with:
- A brake capable of making the bike tires skid on dry level pavement.
- A bell, horn or other device that can be heard at least a hundred feet away. Sirens and whistles are not permitted.
- Bicycles driven between a half-hour after sunset and a half-hour before sunrise must be equipped with a white front headlight visible in darkness for at least 500 feet, and a red or amber taillight visible for at least 300 feet.
- A bicycle, when purchased new and/or driven at night, must have reflective tires, or wide-angle, spoke-mounted reflectors. Reflectors must be colorless or amber for front wheels, and colorless or red for rear wheels.