Bike Riding: Rules of the Road

Bike Riding: Rules of the Road

Spring has officially sprung which means it’s the perfect time for a bike ride. It’s time to squash any misconceptions about bike riding in your state. Read on to find out what’s legal when riding a bike and potential risk factors in your state. Keep up to date on the laws of your state as they are subject to change at any time.

Massachusetts

Safe passing

When it comes to safe passing, vehicles must drive to the left of the bicyclist at a safe distance. Just like any other vehicle, a bicyclist may drive their bike on the road. Bicyclists are also permitted to drive on the sidewalk unless the city or area specifically does not allow it. When riding with others you may ride abreast. When passing close traffic riding single file is required.

Helmet & Equipment

When it comes to safe passing, vehicles must drive to the left of the bicyclist at a safe distance. Just like any other vehicle, a bicyclist may drive their bike on the road. Bicyclists are also permitted to drive on the sidewalk unless the city or area does not allow it.

Rider Responsibility

As a rider in Massachusetts, there are some responsibilities you must adhere to when operating a bicycle. The law requires riders to use hand signals to communicate with other drivers, but they must adhere to this while always keeping one hand on the handlebars. When riding with another rider, you may ride side by side but may have to shift into a single file when traffic speeds up. If you are ever in a bike accident, you must notify the police of any personal injury or property damage over $100.

Rhode Island

Safe passing

Safe passing laws in Rhode Island are to ensure both vehicles and bicyclists are safe to drive among each other. Bike lanes are strategically made for only bikes. As a pedestrian or a driver, it is illegal to stop, stand, or park in a bike lane. As a driver, you are legally obligated to pass a bicyclist on the left side at a safe distance at a speed of 15 miles per hour. Riders legally are to ride on the regular path in traffic but stay closest to the right side. They are also able to ride on the sidewalk, as they have the same rights and duties as a pedestrian on the sidewalks.

Helmet & Equipment

Rhode Island helmet laws require anyone under the age of 15 to wear a helmet. This goes for operating the bike and riding as a passenger. Helmets are strictly enforced for this demographic but not wearing a helmet in the event of an accident will not be considered contributory to the events that transpired. Rhode Island Law urges riders to check equipment before every ride to ensure safety.

Rider Responsibility

New Distracted Driver Laws are required in Rhode Island to ensure drivers and riders are not occupied by anything while their attention should be on the road. Since bikes and vehicles have the same rights and duties, bicyclists must also refrain from handling devices and other distractions behind the wheel. This is similarly related to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. No car or bicycle should be operating under these conditions. In addition to the Distracted Driver Laws, The Vulnerable Road Users Law was passed, which defines who a vulnerable road user is and laws to protect them. Any person without the benefit of a motor vehicle would fall under this bracket.

Connecticut

Safe Passing

Connecticut has established laws to mandate safe passing between vehicles and bike riders. Motor vehicles are required to pass bike riders on the left side no less than 3 feet. Riders are required to drive on the right side going with the flow of traffic and not against it. When driving with other bicyclists, you may not drive any more than two abreast.  Bicyclists are not able to use parkways or limited access to state highways. They can operate on sidewalks and crosswalks when they yield to the right of way of a pedestrian.

Helmet Laws & Equipment

In Connecticut, anyone under the age of 15 is required to wear a helmet when riding. When it comes to night driving, equipment requirements need to be met to ensure safety. Your bike must be equipped with a front white light visible 500 feet away and a rear red reflector visible from 600 feet away. Reflective material must also be attached on the left and right of the bike visible from 600 feet. Lastly, every rider must ensure their brakes can stop within 25 feet at a speed of 10 miles per hour

Rider Responsibility

As a rider in Connecticut, your bicycle falls under the same traffic laws that vehicles do. In this case, bikers like drivers cannot operate their vehicles while under the influence. While driving, bicyclists must use hand signals to express their desired direction. Like Rhode Island, Connecticut also has adopted the Vulnerable Road User Law. This states that a bicyclist is protected as a vulnerable road user if they are injured in an accident caused by a motor vehicle.

Rules of the road are put in place to keep drivers, riders, and pedestrians safe. To stay safe while riding a bike and promote safety to other road users consider the above laws before you ride. Bike accidents can happen anytime so it’s pivotal to your safety to follow the above rules within your state and look out for new law.  If you are a victim of a Bike accident or someone you know had been affected by similar events calls Attorneys at Rob Levine & Associates today!

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