Bicycles are defined as “vehicles” under Ohio Law. This means bicycles can be lawfully operated on the majority of Ohio roads except for freeways or certain limited-access roadways. Thus, Ohio law requires cyclists to follow the basic rules of the road.
Like any vehicle operator, a bicyclist must ride with traffic, obey basic traffic laws, stop at stop signs and red lights, and follow all traffic control devices. Bicyclists have the same “right of way” as any motor vehicle.
Bicycle Rules and Regulations
There are a few Ohio bike-specific laws. Important bicycle law is that a bicycle must be operated as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable. The word practicable allows bicyclists to determine if the right side of the road is reasonable and safe to do so.
An unreasonable or unsafe roadway including avoiding fixed objects or parked cars, surface hazards, or moving vehicles allows a bicyclist to use the entire lane. If the lane is not wide enough for a car to safely pass by a bicyclist on the right side of the road, the bicyclist does not have to stay to the right side of the lane as it could be unsafe if the motor vehicle tries to pass.
Cyclists are able to ride side-by-side in the same lane as Ohio law does not require cyclists to move out of the way of faster traffic. Cyclists are also accountable for certain equipment requirements just as motor vehicles are. It is paramount to know what is necessary to ride a bike on the roadway to protect yourself and others.
Ohio law does not require bicyclists to use sidewalks – in fact most city ordinances prohibit it and encourage them to use the roadway. There is no legal restriction on who is able to ride their bike on public roadways. It is important for yourself and your children to be educated on the rules of the road to properly be able to protect yourself and others.
Nonetheless, as seen for motor vehicles, accidents on the road happen. If a bicycling accident happens to you or a loved one by a negligent motorist, you have the ability to file a personal injury claim. If a motorist carelessly injures a cyclist, the motorist’s auto policy would apply to pay the claim.
However, some cyclists are often surprised to learn that their own auto insurance may come into play, as well as their own homeowner’s insurance, health insurance and any “umbrella” or excess coverage they may have.
Nation Bike Month
May is National Bike Month were people are encouraged to ride their bikes to work and to increase bicyclist awareness. Each state and locality have different laws for bicyclists and it is important to not only know them but to be aware of your options if you are injured in a bicyclist accident.
If you were recently in a bicycle accident in Ohio and need help receiving compensation for your loss or more information regarding your legal rights as a bicyclist, contact us at the Law Offices of Christopher Jackson today for a free consultation.