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What Are Bicyclists’ Rules of the Road?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), bicycles on the roadway are vehicles with the same rights and responsibilities as motorized vehicles. They must observe the same rules of the road as cars, and they must be treated by cars as if they were also motor vehicles. Make sure you are well-versed in the rules of the road to ensure your commute is a safe one.

Where to Ride

In Washington, D.C., bicyclists should try to ride on the right half of the roadway, but they are not required to be on the very rightmost edge of the road. Bicyclists are entitled to a portion of the lane. When passing or overtaking a vehicle, bikes may go around the left side of the car, just as a typical motor vehicle does when passing.

Cycling on sidewalks is permitted outside of the DC Central Business District. In areas where bicyclists are allowed to ride on the sidewalk, they must obey the following rules:

  • The bicyclist must not create a hazard.

  • Any person riding a bike upon a sidewalk shall yield right of way to pedestrians, and shall travel at a speed no greater than the posted speed limit of the adjacent roadway, provided that such speed is safe for the conditions then existing on the sidewalk.

  • No bicyclist shall suddenly leave a sidewalk and ride into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.

How to Ride

The District of Columbia requires bicyclists to behave in a certain manner, similar to the regulations motor vehicle drivers are required to operate under.

  • Any person under the age of 16 riding a bike, as an operator or passenger, must wear a helmet.

  • Distracted driving or biking is prohibited where such inattention is caused by reading, writing, performing personal grooming, interacting with pets, using personal communications technologies, and more.

  • Bicyclists may not operate a bike while under the influence of alcohol or any other controlled substance.

Involved in a Bike Accident? We Are Here to Help

Bike laws can be confusing, and accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, particularly when vehicles travel at fast speeds.

If you have been injured in a bike accident, our personal injury attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel are here to help. We are a proud sponsor of Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), and we are here to fight for you.

If you or someone you care about has recently been injured in a bicycle accident that was not your fault, allow one of our personal injury lawyers to review your case. Contact Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. at (202) 644-8303 for a free consultation today!