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Bicycle Riding in the Road and the State Law

The link to the state law on bicycle regulations (316.2065) can be found HERE:

  • Bicycles must follow the same law as automobiles.
  • Bicycle riding at less than normal speed must ride in the bicycle lane, or if no bicycle lane, then they ride as close to the right side of the road as practicable except for the following conditions:
    • When overtaking or passing another bicycle or vehicle
    • When preparing for a left-handed turn
    • When reasonably necessary to avoid any condition or conflict, hazard or sub-standard lane width that makes it unsafe to do so
  • “Sub-standard-width lane” is a lane too narrow for a bicycle and a motor vehicle to both travel safely side-by-side in the same lane. State planning documents define this as 14 feet wide. Most typical lanes widths are 10-12 feet and are considered non-standard.

When a rider takes the lane on a substandard road, then the rider is legally impeding traffic. Since cars will need to move over into an adjacent or oncoming lane to pass, then riders riding two abreast don’t imped traffic any more than a single ride would, therefore it is okay for riders to ride two abreast in a sub-standard lane. This also reduces the overall length of the group the motorists have to pass, making it safer than passing a longer line of single file cyclists.

A few notable state laws went into effect on July 1st 2021:

  • Motorists can cross the center lane in a no-passing zone to safely pass a cyclist.
  • Group riders can cross intersections with stop signs in groups of 10 or less (after a complete stop).
  • Now motorists must obey the 3 feet passing law.
  • Bicyclists should use the left lane before making a left turn.
  • Motorists cannot turn right in front of a cyclist within 20 feet of any intersection.
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