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Thread: State bike laws

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    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    State bike laws

    Have you read yours? Mine are on line, I did.

    Do you carry them with you? I do.

    Has carrying them ever helped solve a debate? Not me.

    Any big surprises in your state laws?
    Yes,
    I can park my bike in a car parking spot on the road.
    A cop can stop me and inspect my bike for lights, reflectors, brakes, etc. any time he wants.
    I can ride on the sidewalk and have all the rights and rules of a pedestrian when I am on the
    sidewalk (that includes a crosswalk). As soon as I switch to the road I'm a vehicle.
    It is illegal for a cyclist to use a whistle or a siren.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    Just read mine. Apparently you have to register your bikes in Massachusetts. How creepy.

    Other points of note: can pass cars on the right, sidewalk riding is explicitly allowed unless otherwise noted, "red light or reflector on the rear".
    Cambridge law also allows sidewalk riding except for certain business districts (where it's marked on the sidewalks).

    All-in-all, there isn't really anything I dislike about the laws. Even annoying vestigial things are taken care of (e.g. they don't require rear reflectors if you have a light).


    Ari
    Last edited by gsk3; 02-15-07 at 08:07 AM.

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    Senior Member Itsjustb's Avatar
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    > A cop can stop me and inspect my bike for lights, reflectors, brakes, etc. any time he wants.

    Hmmmm....I don't ride at night anymore so I don't keep a headlight on my bike (I do have a rear blinkie but it's attached to my trunk). If I lived in your state, does that mean I could be cited for not having a light? Even in the daytime?

    Also creepy.
    "Everyone is entitled to an opinion" is only half-right.

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    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsk3
    Just read mine. Apparently you have to register your bikes in Massachusetts. How creepy.
    Ari
    That is creepy. I didn't see that one coming. Do you have a link handy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Itsjustb
    > A cop can stop me and inspect my bike for lights, reflectors, brakes, etc. any time he wants.

    Hmmmm....I don't ride at night anymore so I don't keep a headlight on my bike (I do have a rear blinkie but it's attached to my trunk). If I lived in your state, does that mean I could be cited for not having a light? Even in the daytime?

    Also creepy.
    Just at night.

    § 31-19-10 Lamps and other equipment on bicycles. – (a) Front lamp. Every bicycle when in use at nighttime shall be equipped with a lamp on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least five hundred feet (500') to the front.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    Senior Member 1fluffhead's Avatar
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    Yeah, I have read mine only because they change last year. http://www.sha.state.md.us/exploremd...icyclists6.asp

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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1fluffhead
    Yeah, I have read mine only because they change last year. http://www.sha.state.md.us/exploremd...icyclists6.asp
    I tried to go there to read them, but all links to the Annotated Code of Maryland seem to be broken.

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    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    RCW 47.30.070
    Bicycle, equestrian, pedestrian paths as public highways.
    For purposes of 43 U.S.C. 912 and related provisions of federal law involving federally
    granted railroad rights of way, a bicycle, equestrian or pedestrian path shall be deemed to
    be a public highway under the laws of the state of Washington.


    Apparently, the MUP I ride on every morning is (according to budget funding and other laws) considered to be a public highway. Does this mean I can get a ticket for violating the posted 15mph speed limit? (Yes, there are actual black and white highway-type speed limit signs on the MUP.)

    <edit>
    For night bicycle riding, a white front light (not a reflector) visible for 500 feet and a red rear reflector are required. A red rear light may be used in addition to the required reflector (RCW 46.61.780).

    Dang, I'm rollin' illegal and I didn't even know. No red rear reflector at night; just my PB Superflash. In WA it's not an either/or.
    Last edited by CliftonGK1; 02-15-07 at 08:30 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1
    I tried to go there to read them, but all links to the Annotated Code of Maryland seem to be broken.
    http://www.dsd.state.md.us/comar/Ann...sportIndex.htm

    Scroll down to title 21 for Rules of the Road.

    When reading traffic laws, pay particular attention to the wording used in each law. It will vary slightly from state to state and sometimes the meaning is quite different. If a different word is used in two laws for what seems to be the same thing, such as substituting "highway" for "roadway," look at how the state defines that word and see how using one word in place of another can completely change the meaning of the law. You'll get a much better understanding of the law if you pay attention to all of these details. At least that was the case for me.

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    [QUOTE=2manybikes]That is creepy. I didn't see that one coming. Do you have a link handy?
    http://www.massbike.org/bikelaw/mass.htm

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    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=gsk3]
    Quote Originally Posted by 2manybikes
    That is creepy. I didn't see that one coming. Do you have a link handy?
    http://www.massbike.org/bikelaw/mass.htm
    It has to be a city that accepts the ruling and votes in favor of it. The only way to know is to check the town laws.

    No resident of any city which accepts this section by vote of its city council, or of any town which accepts this section by vote of the town, shall operate a bicycle within the limits thereof, unless such bicycle is registered under this section in such city or town and unless the registration plate or decal issued therefor is attached to such bicycle.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    Member sswartzl's Avatar
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    I was surprised that in PA you can ride two abreast. Also, sidewalk riding is legal except in a business district, though pedestrians have right of way.

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    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    I just checked the California code and smiled when I saw the max penalty for bike DUI is $250.00
    This space open

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    Quote Originally Posted by sswartzl
    I was surprised that in PA you can ride two abreast. Also, sidewalk riding is legal except in a business district, though pedestrians have right of way.
    It's legal in most states provided that you are not impeding the flow of traffic (if riding single file would allow passing that is not possible while riding two abreast, such as in a wide outside lane on a one lane each way road, then you should ride single file).

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    Quote Originally Posted by joejack951
    It's legal in most states provided that you are not impeding the flow of traffic (if riding single file would allow passing that is not possible while riding two abreast, such as in a wide outside lane on a one lane each way road, then you should ride single file).
    What is a wide outside lane on a one lane each way road? Just curious.

    Caruso

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    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    Think oversized lanes. Each lane would be about 1-1/2 lanes in width....this gives plenty of room for sharing the road.
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    Fred
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsk3
    Just read mine. Apparently you have to register your bikes in Massachusetts. How creepy.

    Other points of note: can pass cars on the right, sidewalk riding is explicitly allowed unless otherwise noted, "red light or reflector on the rear".
    Cambridge law also allows sidewalk riding except for certain business districts (where it's marked on the sidewalks).

    All-in-all, there isn't really anything I dislike about the laws. Even annoying vestigial things are taken care of (e.g. they don't require rear reflectors if you have a light).
    Ari
    For reference, I found MA at http://www.massbike.org/bikelaw/mass.htm

    I can remember getting a bike registration plate as a kid, haven't seen one since about 1965 though.

    Biggest change from then is kids under 16 require helmets.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carusoswi
    What is a wide outside lane on a one lane each way road? Just curious.

    Caruso
    On a one lane each way road, "the lane" is the "outside lane," by default. I've confused someone before by using this terminology so I apologize for doing so again. I should have just said "wide lane roadway."

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    http://www.state.nj.us/transportatio...gulations.shtm

    Summary of NJ laws: Head light w/ a tail light or red reflector at night. Audible signal that can be heard from 100'. A brake that can make the wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement.

    There are a lot more "may"s than I previously thought.
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    Senior Member trackhub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garandman
    For reference, I found MA at http://www.massbike.org/bikelaw/mass.htm

    I can remember getting a bike registration plate as a kid, haven't seen one since about 1965 though.

    Biggest change from then is kids under 16 require helmets.
    Let me guess: An oval shaped green plate with the name of the town on it, right? There's a few of those hanging in the window of the Broadway Bike school in Cambridge. Registration decals today are usually small stickers, issued by the city or town police department. In most cities and towns, it is 100% voluntary, and is typically done as part of an anti-theft campaign. Sometimes, it actually works.

    As far as I now, only Boston requires registration, and only of working messengers. The plate is a small plastic affair, usually wired into the spokes of a front wheel.

    Safe bicyling and knowing the rules of the road used to be taught in public schools in Massachusetts, back in the 60's. Nothing major, no tests or anything. Just colorful posters and a few hours each spring to safe cycling. It stopped at some point. I doubt it will ever return.
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    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trackhub
    Let me guess: An oval shaped green plate with the name of the town on it, right? There's a few of those hanging in the window of the Broadway Bike school in Cambridge.
    This is on my 1951 Schwinn Spitfire. Do you know when they stopped making the metal plates and why?
    From Taunton Mass. It's original.

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    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    I don't carry DC's bicycle laws with me; but here are some of the highlights ...

    (1) you must register your bike or risk a fine/impounding

    (2) you need to have reflectors or lights on the bike at night

    (3) you need to have a bell on your bike

    (4) bicycle infractions cost a lot less than similar infractions committed while driving.

    http://www.waba.org/areabiking/bikelaws.php

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    Commuter JohnBrooking's Avatar
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    I compiled a list of Maine's for my Bike Commuting Club.

    The most surprising part to me was "A motorized bicycle or scooter may not operate in excess of 20 MPH." No mention of unmotorized, so I guess it's okay for us go as fast as we want, right? Or did they just not think we could go that fast?

    "Hey, officer, look, I'm doing 23, give me a ticket!"
    Quote Originally Posted by MadfiNch on Commuting forum
    What's the point of a bike if you can only ride it on weekends, and you can't even carry anything with you?!
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    Just looked at mine again. http://mail.lightblast.net/~rosenthal/bikelaw/index.htm

    It is generally legal to bike on non-business-district sidewalks, which I didn't know. You're supposed to yield to pedestrians and give a signal when overtaking. You become a pedestrian instead of a vehicle. I suddenly have less actual reason to hate most of the bikers around here.

    I'm supposed to stay on the right side of the road, but I still ride on the left when commuting on a road with occasional bike lanes on the left side.

    I don't really have to signal turns if I need the arm on the handlebars, which I often do in the winter. That's good news.

    Old bike registration laws were apparently repealed in 2005. I don't know if anything replaced it.

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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnBrooking
    I compiled a list of Maine's for my Bike Commuting Club.

    The most surprising part to me was "A motorized bicycle or scooter may not operate in excess of 20 MPH." No mention of unmotorized, so I guess it's okay for us go as fast as we want, right? Or did they just not think we could go that fast?

    "Hey, officer, look, I'm doing 23, give me a ticket!"
    That's pretty typical.

    At least in CA, electric bikes have 20 mph governors for this reason.

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