RIDING BICYCLES SAFELY AND LEGALLY
Recently, several people were injured in bicycle accidents. Here are ways to avoid accidents and trouble with the law:
- OBEY THE LAW! It's there for your safety. Here are provisions of the law for a moving bicycle in traffic. IC numbers are
- IC-9-21-11-1: Illegal for parents to authorize violations of law.
- IC-9-21-11-2: Bicycles must obey ALL moving traffic laws.
- IC-9-21-11-3: Riders must be on firmly attached regular seats.
- IC-9-21-11-4: No more riders than seats.
- IC-9-21-11-5: Rider may not attach bicycle or rider to motor vehicle.
- IC-9-21-11-6: Bicycles must not be more than two abreast in a traffic lane.
- IC-9-21-11-7: Riders must not carry anything that keeps them from keeping both hands on the handlebars.
- IC-9-21-11-8: Every bicycle MUST have a bell or other sound making device audible for 100 feet. No bicycle may have a
whistle or siren.
- IC-9-21-11-9: Between one half-hour after sunset and one half-hour before sunrise, each bicycle must display one white
headlight visible 500 feet, and one red tail lamp or red reflector visible 500 feet.
- IC-9-21-11-10: Brake must be capable of making wheel skid.
- IC-9-21-11-11: Bicycle riders must obey all traffic laws, ordinances, and traffic control devices.
- IC-9-21-11-12: Moped riders must be at least 15, have BMV ID card, and stay off interstate highways and sidewalks.
- IC-9-21-11-13: Moped riders under 18 must wear a federally approved helmet, and eye protection.
- Since bicycle riders must obey moving traffic laws, they must do all of the following:
- IC-9-21-3-7: Obey traffic lights. This means stop and STAY stopped at a RED traffic light, unless making a turn on red
permitted after a stop. Follow this link to find out
how to make traffic signals detect your bike.
- IC-9-21-3: Vehicles must be out of the intersection by the time the light turns RED.
- IC-9-21-8-32: Make a full stop at a STOP sign. Yield to all traffic that has already stopped, and to all traffic that
does not have to stop.
- IC-9-21-8-2: Slow vehicles must stay to the right unless turning or passing.
- IC-9-21-8-5: Overtaken vehicles must give way to overtaking vehicles.
- IC-9-21-8-6: Passing on the right is forbidden without an available lane to do so in.
- IC-9-21-8-8: Passing is prohibited within 100 feet of an intersection or grade crossing.
- IC-9-21-8-9: Ride only in the correct direction on a ONE-WAY street.
- IC-9-21-8-10: At a rotary, vehicles must be driven to the right of the central island.
- IC-9-21-8-6: It is illegal to drive off of the roadway. This means STAY OFF sidewalks, as they are not part of the
- Bloomington Indiana city code forbids riding bicycles on sidewalks, unless the rider is 8 years old or less, and the
wheels are 14 inch or less. Any bicycle on a sidewalk must be dismounted and walked.
- IC 9-21-8-23: U-Turns may not be made unless visibility exists in 750 feet in both directions.
- IC 9-21-8-25: Turn signals must be given continuously for 200 feet before the turn, or 300 feet if the speed limit is 50
miles per hour or higher.
- IC-9-21-8-28: Hand signals are defined legally.
- IC-9-21-8-34, IC-9-21-8-42: Stop before entering a public road from a driveway, alley, or building. If there is a
sidewalk, stop must before any part of the vehicle enters the part of it that crosses the driveway or alley.
- IC-9-21-5-7: A vehicle must pull off the road at the first reasonable opportunity if three or more vehicles are backed
up behind it.
- IC-9-21-4-12, IC-9-12-4-13: Pass only where permitted to do so.
- IC-9-21-6: Racing on public roads, and blocking a road to hold a race, are illegal.
- IC-9-21-8-21: Be in the correct lane for the maneuver planned.
- IC-9-21-2: Unlawful to lock bicycles to fire hydrants, or to traffic control devices or posts. This is in the INDIANA
MANUAL OF UNIFORM TRAFFIC CONTROL DEVICES.
- Federal law prohibits bicycles on wheelchair ramps, or blocking handicap access.
- IC-9-21-8-16, with IC-9-21-11-6: When more than two cyclists are riding together, they must break into pairs, leaving
room for a vehicle to enter between consecutive pairs. Clusters are illegal.
- IC-9-21-8-32 with IC 9-21-8-16: Each pair mentioned above must stop separately at a STOP sign. Other traffic has the
right to proceed between each pair.
- IC-9-21-13, IC-9-21-14: Do not break into or cross a funeral procession or a marching band procession.
- IC-9-21-8-14: Don't follow too close. Always leave at least two full seconds (this is documented complex task
reaction time) between when the vehicle ahead passes a given point, and when you pass it.
- IC-9-21-8-36: Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks or already in the road.
- Bicycles must NOT use crosswalks, unless being walked across a street.
- IC-9-21-3-7: Don't turn on red where prohibited, or without looking for pedestrians.
- IC-9-21-3-7: Turning vehicles yield to pedestrians.
- IC-9-21-8-30: Unless given a green arrow signal, left turns yield to oncoming traffic.
- It is a trespass to cut through private or business property without permission.
- IC-9-21-7-11: Flashing lights are allowed only for turn signals, slow moving vehicles, hazard warning, and emergency
- IC-9-21-7-10: Red lights are not allowed to be visible from in front of a vehicle other than an authorized emergency
- Safety tips:
- NEVER pass on the side of a vehicle after it signals a turn toward that side. Be especially careful not to pass a vehicle
on the right if it is signaling a right turn. Also watch vehicles that are not signaling. Some of them might turn without
giving the legal signal. The largest blind zone on most vehicles is to the back right.
- The geometry of a left turn is such that a bicycle may be hidden from the driver behind the left roof support during
the entire turn. Beware if the driver's face is hidden from you.
- Wear light colored clothing when riding at night.
- Check your light and audible warning batteries often.
- The more reflectors, the better. Wheel spoke reflectors are quite effective.
- Watch for drains, gratings, and railroad tracks. Cross the slots at right angles if possible, otherwise avoid streets
- Be careful near blind corners.
- Large vehicles have to swing left before making right turns. Be careful not to inadvertently pass a vehicle making such
- Be sure you are not hidden by other vehicles from traffic wanting to turn left across your path.
- Check for pedestrians before turning left through a gap in traffic.
- Since you are on a small vehicle, watch other traffic carefully to make sure you have been seen.
- Remember to give stop and slowing signals. You do not have automatic signals like motor vehicles do. If you need to give
both a stop signal and a turn signal at the same time, alternate them at about a 2 second interval.
- Never consider a possible delay to you in deciding if an action is safe.
- Tips on making a traffic actuated signal see your bike
- Traffic problems created by others:
- Motorists don't give bicycles proper spacing or access to traffic lane.
- Pedestrians cross against the light.
- Pedestrians expect vehicles to be able to stop quickly.
- Environmentalists protest new construction (maybe not bike lanes).
- Vandals steal or deface signs.
- Historic buildings prevent upgrades nearby.
- Bushes, trees, and fences too near roads, signs, and lights. These destroy pavement and restrict sight distance.
- "Not next to my house!"
- Charities illegally solicit money in the road.
- Too much hurry.
- Let engineers, not politicians, make traffic decisions.
- Provide bike lanes, or separated bikeways.
- Enforce pedestrian, bicycle, and traffic laws.
- Set speed limits according to actual safety conditions, not politics.
- Use more one-way streets to ease congestion.
- Emphasize moving traffic, not repeatedly stopping it. Coordinate signals.
- Remove traffic hazards instead of regulating.
- No quick fixes! Proper design is required.
- Ignore motives other than moving traffic quickly and safely.
- Enforce following distance limits with a time-spacing method.
- Require minimum sight distances to traffic control devices.
Some of the political opposition to bicycling as a valid mode of transportation is caused by the rampant lawbreaking done
by the majority of bicycle riders. This opposition would disappear if more bicycle riders obeyed the law.
- UNUSUAL TRAFFIC PROBLEMS
- WHY BICYCLE LAWBREAKING IS ILLEGAL
- BICYCLE PAGE
- MAKING SAFE BICYCLE PATHS AND SIDEPATHS
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