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What's the "best" bike law in your state or town?

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What's the "best" bike law in your state or town?

Old 05-29-18, 07:26 AM
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jmeb
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What's the "best" bike law in your state or town?

Was recently reading over Colorado's bike laws and found a nice little nugget. Was wondering what cyclist-friendly bits of law other's may have come across in their states or municipalities.

"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."

The small addition that safe lane position is at the discretion of the cyclist and not the motorist (or law enforcement) makes a big difference in arguments about this law.
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Old 05-29-18, 08:25 AM
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M.G.L. Chapter 85 Section 11 B "(2) the bicycle operator shall signal by either hand his intention to stop or turn; provided, however, that signals need not be made continuously and shall not be made when the use of both hands is necessary for the safe operation of the bicycle."

Personally, I'd like "shall not be made" changed to "need not be made", since we THEORETICALLY could get a ticket for dangerous hand signal operation.

But we can use this set of hand signals (be still my heart):



-mr. bill
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Old 05-29-18, 11:32 AM
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By participating in debates here, it has prompted me to look up the bike laws of several states and I noticed that in the last few years there seems to have been a movement to make bike laws somewhat uniform. I see a lot of similarity in my bike laws, here in Florida, with many other states. The only major difference I can think of are states that have adopted the Idaho Stop law.

All the "little nuggets" mentioned so far are included in my state's bike laws.

Bicycle Traffic Law Florida Bicycle Association
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Old 05-29-18, 02:17 PM
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4' passing law state wide. Still some AHs who either don't know or don't care, but I think it's definitely made a difference. The sheriff of a neighboring country that is home to a good deal of cyclists wasn't aware of the law eve though it had been on the books for several years. When he found out about it, his office started a media campaign to educate motorists. The office also printed up hundreds of yellow campaign-like signs to place along heavily cycled roads. I like to kindly educate people when the opportunity arises.
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Old 05-30-18, 01:27 AM
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Originally Posted by jmeb View Post
Was recently reading over Colorado's bike laws and found a nice little nugget. Was wondering what cyclist-friendly bits of law other's may have come across in their states or municipalities.

"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."

The small addition that safe lane position is at the discretion of the cyclist and not the motorist (or law enforcement) makes a big difference in arguments about this law.
The prior elected jerk of a sheriff in Larimer Country was the impetuous for that law change. That and Black Hawk's no bicycles law prompted a major review and changes in the Colorado bicycle laws.
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Old 05-30-18, 01:29 AM
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For Hawaii, the best law is required no-fault insurance for motorist.
The worst law is mandatory bike lane use law.
Second worst is bicycle registration law for the island of Oahu (City and County of Honolulu).
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Old 05-30-18, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
4' passing law state wide. Still some AHs who either don't know or don't care, but I think it's definitely made a difference. The sheriff of a neighboring country that is home to a good deal of cyclists wasn't aware of the law eve though it had been on the books for several years. When he found out about it, his office started a media campaign to educate motorists. The office also printed up hundreds of yellow campaign-like signs to place along heavily cycled roads. I like to kindly educate people when the opportunity arises.
That's interesting, I never heard of a 4' passing law, good for you all...Only one problem....I don't know which state you're referring to...
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Old 05-30-18, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by work4bike View Post
That's interesting, I never heard of a 4' passing law, good for you all...Only one problem....I don't know which state you're referring to...
PA. Only state with a 4' law.
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Old 05-30-18, 05:53 AM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post

But we can use this set of hand signals (be still my heart):



-mr. bill
I always use an open hand facing to the rear for stops just so that there's no mistaking it for pointing down at something on the road. Hopefully, most motorist are familiar with hand signals. At least pointing left and right is clear enough.

Last edited by KraneXL; 05-30-18 at 08:50 AM.
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Old 05-30-18, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
Hopefully, most motorist are familiar with hand signals. At least pointing left and right is clear enough.
You would hope. Not long ago I was approaching an intersection where I had the right of way, car waiting on my right. I pointed left to signal a left turn, car takes off in front of me going through the intersection. I guess they thought when I was pointing that direction that I was telling them to go. Luckily I wasn't going too fast and was able to stop before I got into the intersection enough for them to hit me.
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Old 05-30-18, 05:41 PM
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In Wisconsin, no honking at cyclists.
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Old 05-30-18, 06:05 PM
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I really don't fancy being a negative Nancy, but if us cyclists are just having these laws come onto our radar, I suspect motorists are FAR FAR behind.
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Old 05-30-18, 06:48 PM
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Alaska:

Bicycle Paths.
b) Persons riding bicycles on a roadway may not ride more than two abreast


13 AAC 04.325. Taillights.
a) A bicycle must be equipped with a taillight which displays a red light visible 500 feet to the rear of a bicycle.

Alaska Bike laws
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Old 06-03-18, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Kontact View Post
In Wisconsin, no honking at cyclists.
That's rad.

Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
I really don't fancy being a negative Nancy, but if us cyclists are just having these laws come onto our radar, I suspect motorists are FAR FAR behind.
The idea I had in starting this thread is to share good ideas to advocate for that have already found their place into law in other locales.
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Old 06-03-18, 03:57 PM
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They just change the law in Québec. If the speed limit is above 50 km/h, the distance is 1.5 meter from the cyclist (still one meter for 50 km/h and below), who doesn't have to be on the farthest right anymore but at a distance from the curb that he or she feels safe. We can now ride on sidewalk if a city allows it. Still no Idaho stops though

One thing that is still there that is not very well known is at an intersection, a cyclist will follow a street light unless a sign says it must follow the pedestrian light (a sign I have never seen be used). Too often I see cyclists stopped at an intersection waiting for the pedestrian light while the street light is green.
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Old 06-04-19, 07:48 AM
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I think if it comes to court, then you can and should ask a lawyer for help. He knows the laws better and protects your interests, if you are right of course. I do not see this problem.
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Old 06-04-19, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
M.G.L. Chapter 85 Section 11 B "(2) the bicycle operator shall signal by either hand his intention to stop or turn; provided, however, that signals need not be made continuously and shall not be made when the use of both hands is necessary for the safe operation of the bicycle."

Personally, I'd like "shall not be made" changed to "need not be made", since we THEORETICALLY could get a ticket for dangerous hand signal operation.

But we can use this set of hand signals (be still my heart):



-mr. bill
I deem it unsafe to remove my left hand from the handlebars just as I'm about to brake. Frankly, I can't think of a single time as a driver where a bike's sudden unsignaled stop ever caused a problem, and can't really think of a scenario where it would. I also generally don't bother signalling right turns because no one actually knows what that signal is, and I'm generally not crossing a traffic lane when I turn right.

My habit is to signal left turns even if I don't see a car behind or in front of me. I don't bother using my right hand to signal as I then don't know whether the driver can see the signal or not.

Last edited by livedarklions; 06-04-19 at 08:27 AM.
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Old 06-04-19, 08:25 AM
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I'm a big fan of the take the lane when there's a turn lane crossing your path rules in the two states I ride. I actually go to the far left of a right-hand turn lane, which leaves room for cars to safely pass on both sides of me. Drivers who get it love it (I don't slow them down at all), but there's a lot of jerks who will scream to me to get all the way to the right of the turn lane.
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Old 06-04-19, 08:42 AM
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We have a 3' law here in Tennessee but I am working with my state rep and senator to get some clarifications added.
We stay as far right as practical but can take the entire lane to avoid hazards.

It is a good idea for cyclists to know all of the cycling laws in their state. Our 3' law is well codified in state law and it is good to be able to cite it to a LEO if the need ever arises.
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Old 06-04-19, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I deem it unsafe to remove my left hand from the handlebars just as I'm about to brake. Frankly, I can't think of a single time as a driver where a bike's sudden unsignaled stop ever caused a problem, and can't really think of a scenario where it would. I also generally don't bother signalling right turns because no one actually knows what that signal is, and I'm generally not crossing a traffic lane when I turn right.

My habit is to signal left turns even if I don't see a car behind or in front of me. I don't bother using my right hand to signal as I then don't know whether the driver can see the signal or not.
I rarely panic brake, but yeah, all hands on the brake levers for panic braking. However, run of the mill stopping, yes, I signal a stop. Sometimes it's useful. Sometimes it's not. You can see how useful it was in this clip:


And changing lanes happens. This merge puts me into the left lane and I have to then cross into the right lane. I've never had a right arm right turn signal confuse anyone here. They might *IGNORE* it, or worse, SPEED UP to pass me on the right, but the signal is understood.

I've used every signal but one, you can probably guess which one.

-mr. bill

Last edited by mr_bill; 06-04-19 at 08:59 AM.
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Old 06-04-19, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by dark_sun View Post
Yes, indeed, laws and bills that concern cyclists are sometimes very strange, maybe not even logical. The most interesting thing is when there is a controversial situation in court about the incident and you need to somehow solve it in your favor.
Anyone have any credible evidence of just how frequently or infrequently laws and bills (controversial or not) that concern cyclists ever end up being discussed in any court other than contesting a ticket in traffic court?
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Old 06-04-19, 07:43 PM
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In Missouri the best law is really a combination of two adjacent statutes. 307.190 and 307.191

"307.190. Every person operating a bicycle or motorized bicycle at less than the posted speed or slower than the flow of traffic upon a street or highway shall 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 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. Bicyclists may ride abreast when not impeding other vehicles."

I like that wording because it lets me decide where the safest position is. A lot of these Kansas City roads are substandard width, so I exercise lane control frequently.

"307.191. 1. A person operating a bicycle at less than the posted speed or slower than the flow of traffic upon a street or highway may operate as described in section 307.190 or may operate on the shoulder adjacent to the roadway.

2. A bicycle operated on a roadway, or on the shoulder adjacent to a roadway, shall be operated in the same direction as vehicles are required to be driven upon the roadway.

3. For purposes of this section and section 307.190, "roadway" is defined as and means that portion of a street or highway ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the berm or shoulder."

I like this one because it clarifies that 1) the shoulder is not part of the roadway and 2) the shoulder is 100% optional. It also does not include any language mandating bike lane use.
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Old 06-17-19, 11:46 PM
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The "Idaho Stop" law was the clinching factor in my decision to move to Idaho upon retirement.

On one of my recon trips here before retirement, while riding across the prairie farmland to a distant town I wanted to check out, I came to a four-way stop. Two cars from the opposing direction, one each way, came to the stop at the same time. Not being in any kind of hurry, like a good cyclist should do, I unclipped and put my foot down and waited for them to proceed. Neither budged, so I made that "go ahead" motion to them. Instead, one of the cars made the "go ahead" motion to me. "Okay. Thanks", and off I went.

Then, on a different trip in a different year, I was cycling back to town on a very busy state-numbered highway. One lane each way, no turn lanes, and only about a foot of broken pavement past the fog line. That meant that I needed to ride about a foot into the traffic lane. I quickly noticed that cars didn't pass me unless they could get at least halfway over into the oncoming traffic lane. When there was oncoming traffic, they just waited patiently behind me. No horn honking. No yelling. Nothing, (well, one jacked up pickup truck did buzz me. I've since learned that truck drivers here are usually idiots.).

These two incidents told me that I had found my retirement home. Autos really seem to respect cyclists here, (at least in North Idaho). There is a great system of bike lanes too.

- - -

For those who don't know, the "Idaho Stop" is codified in the vehicle code and states that bicyclists can treat stop signs as yield signs and for a red light, they must come to a complete stop, and then if it is safe to proceed, they can ride through the red light. (I have not yet had the 'courage' to run a red light. Being retired, I'm not in that big of a hurry.)
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Old 06-18-19, 01:03 PM
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It is funny how drivers sometimes treat us like deer. Like "OMG! There's a cyclist. What's he going to do. Stay still, he might jump out in front of you."
Makes me and my wife chuckle sometimes. We end up unclipping until they get it figured out which sucks, but it is still humorous.
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Old 06-18-19, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by JW Fas View Post
In Missouri the best law is really a combination of two adjacent statutes. 307.190 and 307.191

"307.190. Every person operating a bicycle or motorized bicycle at less than the posted speed or slower than the flow of traffic upon a street or highway shall 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 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. Bicyclists may ride abreast when not impeding other vehicles."

I like that wording because it lets me decide where the safest position is. A lot of these Kansas City roads are substandard width, so I exercise lane control frequently.

"307.191. 1. A person operating a bicycle at less than the posted speed or slower than the flow of traffic upon a street or highway may operate as described in section 307.190 or may operate on the shoulder adjacent to the roadway.

2. A bicycle operated on a roadway, or on the shoulder adjacent to a roadway, shall be operated in the same direction as vehicles are required to be driven upon the roadway.

3. For purposes of this section and section 307.190, "roadway" is defined as and means that portion of a street or highway ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the berm or shoulder."

I like this one because it clarifies that 1) the shoulder is not part of the roadway and 2) the shoulder is 100% optional. It also does not include any language mandating bike lane use.
No, the shoulder is not a lane. Nevertheless, both motorist and cyclist sometimes confuse it as one. Thus complicating the issue for anyone that's unsure of its purpose.
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