Do bicycles have to follow the same laws as cars?
Whether you are a driver or a bicyclist, it is critical to learn about road laws as they apply to bicycles in order to stay safe on the road.
When riding a bicycle on the road, individuals must be aware of the law. Not following the rules about proper bicycling can lead to accidents which usually end with more severe injuries for the bicyclist. It is not worth the risk to ignore the law when riding a bike.
How the law defines a bicycle
According to the Ohio State Bar Association, the law in the state defines a bicycle as a vehicle. It does not distinguish between a bicycle and motor vehicle in the application of laws. Therefore, a bicyclist must follow the exact same rules that any other vehicle on the road must follow.
At the very basic level, laws regarding bicycles state that they must ride in the same direction as motor vehicle traffic, staying as close to the right side of the road as possible. They do have permission to ride on all roadways in Ohio except a few access roads and any freeway.
All road laws apply equally to bikes and motor vehicles. Bicyclists must obey all road signs and signals, along with every other road law.
There are some laws specific to bicycles, including that they must have a white light on the front of the bike and a red light on the rear, which must operate after dark. The back of a bike must also have a red reflector.
Individual cities may have specific rules for bicycles. They cannot prohibit riding on roadways, but it is okay to prohibit them from being on sidewalks, which many large cities do. There is no state age limit for riding a bike on the road, but cities have the right to impose age limits. Cities may also install bike lanes, but there is no law saying riders must use these lanes.
The Ohio Bicycle Federation explains that the state does not require registration or licensing for bicycles. However, cities may do so. In addition, any city ordinance that the locale wishes to enforce requires posting signs to alert bicyclists.
At intersections, bikes may have issues tripping the light if it is set on a detector. Such detectors will not pick up the weight of a bike and the light will never change as a result. In such a case, a bike may proceed through the intersection after assuring it is clear to do so.
The law for passing another vehicle applies in the same way to bicycles. Any passing must occur on the left only. No passing on the right, which opens the door for accidents.
Even when following all the rules of the road, bicyclists end up in accidents across Ohio. Since these accidents often include serious injuries, it is essential for bicyclists to consult an attorney, such as Colley Shroyer Abraham, to learn about their rights and to build a case for damages.