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Rules Of The Road For Bicycles: What You May Not Know, But Should

By Keith Stachowiak on May 12, 2015 // Leave a Comment

You may be surprised to learn that the rules of the road apply to bicycles as well as motor vehicles. Understanding the legal statutes about bicycling in Wisconsin can help bicyclists and motorists alike, stay safe on the roadways.

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Is A Bicycle Considered A Vehicle?

Wisconsin Statute section 340.01(5) defines a bicycle as “every vehicle propelled by feet or hands acting upon pedals or cranks and having wheels any 2 of which are not less than14 inches in diameter.”

Therefore, bicycles are vehicles under Wisconsin law and the rules of the road referring to vehicles also apply to bicycles.

Understanding The Rules Of The Road For Bicycles

In Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 346, better known as the ‘Rules of the Road’, the Wisconsin legislature specified that except when special provisions are made for bicycles or when it specifies the provisions only apply to motor vehicles, “every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway or shoulder of a highway is granted all the rights and is subject to all the duties which this chapter grants or applies to the operator of a vehicle. . . . ” Wis. Stat. § 346.02(4)(a).

As such, bicyclists must abide by many of the same rules as motor vehicle operators. Some of these rules include abiding by traffic signs and signals, using appropriate signals when turning, and riding on the right side of the road.

Bicycling Statutes In Wisconsin

In addition to the requirements that bicyclists abide by the same rules as operators of motor vehicles, bicyclists have to follow some additional rules specific to bicycles. For example, in some municipalities only children are allowed to ride their bicycles on the sidewalk. Wis. Stat. § 346.804.

Another example would be that while bicyclists are required to ride on the right side of the road, the law is more specific as to the proper location for the bicycle. Bicyclists traveling on a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic “shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand-edge of the curb of the unobstructed roadway. . . . ” Wis. Stat. § 346.80.

Knowledge Helps To Promote Safety

The rules of the road are designed to protect all persons on Wisconsin roads. As the weather gets warmer and more people bring out their bicycles for the summer, remember to follow the rules of the road and make sure your bicycle is properly equipped for your safety as well as the safety of others.

Do you have a question about bicycles or a bike accident? Let us know in the comments!

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