In all 50 states, people on bikes are required to follow the same laws as other drivers.
Drive your bike as you would any vehicle.
Here are a few key principles that underpin all US traffic laws:
First Come, First Served
Everyone on the road is entitled to the lane width they need. This includes the space behind, to each side and the space in front. If you want to use someone else’s space you must yield to whoever is using it.
Ride on the Right
In the United States, everyone must drive on the right-hand side of the roadway.
Yielding to Crossing Traffic
When you come to an intersection, if you don’t have the right of way, you must yield.
Yielding when Changing Lanes
If you want to change lanes, you must yield to traffic that is in your new lane of travel.
The slowest vehicles on the road should be the furthest to the right. Where you position yourself on the road depends on the location of any parked cars, your speed, and your destination. Always pass on the left.
Bikes can share the same lane with other drivers. If a lane is wide enough to share with another vehicle (about 14 feet), ride three feet to the right of traffic. If the lane is not wide enough to share, “take the lane” by riding in the middle.
When there is a lane that is used for more than one direction, use the rightmost lane going in the direction you are traveling.
Follow all street signs, signals, and markings
If you would like to know more about bicycle traffic laws, please check out our other resources:
- Find bicycle-related traffic laws in your state + DC
- Read articles about 12 types of bicycle-related traffic laws comparing all 50 states + DC
- Learn about Model Legislation for bicycle safety laws