Interesting Bike Laws

As I was putting our new State-By State Bicycle Law tool, I came across some interesting bike laws:

Arizona:Every owner of a bicycle, before the same shall be operated on any of the streets, alleys or public highways in the City, shall obtain a license from the Division of Licenses.

Hey Jeff! Got licenses on those steeds of yours?????

Delaware and Florida: No bicycle shall carry more persons than it was designed to carry, except an adult rider may carry a child securely attached in a back pack or sling.

Hey Ghost, make sure to keep him away from your munchies… and don’t forget to put his helmet on!!

Georgia:(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to sell a new bicycle or a pedal for use on a bicycle unless the pedals on such bicycle or such pedals are equipped with reflectors of a type approved by the Department of Public Safety. The reflector on each pedal shall be so designed and situated as to be visible from the front and rear of the bicycle during darkness from a distance of 200 feet. The commissioner of public safety is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations and establish standards for such reflectors.

For those of you that sell Crank Bros, Shimano and Look pedals… Beware of the pedal police!

Indiana: 9-21-11-8. Bicycle to be equipped with bell or similar device.–A person may not ride a bicycle unless the bicycle is equipped with a bell or other device capable of giving a signal audible for a distance of at least one hundred (100) feet.

More cowbell!!!!

Other findings:
Most states allow bicycles on the sidewalk, however, you lose your privileges as a vehicle and you must act as a pedestrian. A lot of states also require for minors of the age of 16 or 17 to wear a helmet, fines from $25-$100 are common.

The irony of all these laws is that they are rarely enforced. How many times have you seen kids riding with no helmets? Riders with no lights? and riders with more than 2 people on a bike?

So this begs the question, how many of you have ever gotten a citation on a bike?


  1. Val January 21, 2008 3:22 pm 

    The only citation I have ever gotten on a bike was for riding on the sidewalk. This was in Seattle, where it is perfectly legal. It was aroung 6:00 AM on a Sunday, there was next to no one out, and I was riding up the sidewalk at a slow walking pace, enjoying the morning, when a passing squad car blared at me with its PA system. The officer was seemingly furious with me, and proceeded to lecture me loudly and vehemently, with profanity. I actually knew the law, but I know enough to keep quiet in these instances. The best part was watching him fill out the citation. After he got done with all my personal info and the notes about time and place, he reached the space for the Statute Number. He flipped over his citation pad and looked at the list of statutes relating to bicycles. I watched over his shoulder as he ran his thumb down the columns three times (just to be sure) and found nothing pertaining to sidewalks. He then took the last number (I don’t remember what it actually was, but it would have looked like: 27.345.501) and added one to it (27.345.502, in other words), writing “Ride Bicycle On Sidewalk” in the remaining space. That’s right, if the officer doesn’t know the law, he’ll make one up! I took the citation, and a copy of the relevant sections of the Traffic Code, to the magistrate, who didn’t even look up from his desk as he told me “You must have been doing something or you wouldn’t have gotten a citation, but the officer isn’t here, so I purging this from the record.” Once again I kept my mouth shut, since that is hard to argue with, but I felt burned. Oh, well.

  2. Jack January 21, 2008 4:07 pm 

    There’s a similar legal requirement for pedal reflectors in the UK. You can get a specific plastic insert for SPDs as a result – it clips into one side of an SPD and has a rear reflector. However, the requirement is only that these reflectors (and wheel reflectors, and – I believe – bells) must be fitted at time of sale. There’s nothing to stop you removing them immediately, which most people do. Based on the text above, the law only applies to the sale of bikes or pedals; there’s nothing that says you have to keep the reflectors on…

  3. Mike Myers January 21, 2008 4:13 pm 

    Do military traffic tickets count? I got stopped and ticked when I was in the USAF—-for speeding. I was stationed in Wyoming and was stopped by SPs doing 42 in a 30 downhill. Best part was taking the ticket to my First Sergeant. :-)

  4. Derek January 21, 2008 5:18 pm 

    That Arizona bicycle license law is actually only a Phoenix law.

  5. Jeff the Veloteer January 21, 2008 9:49 pm 

    hmm…yeah I definitely do NOT have one of those licenses and I ride in Phoenix every day. uh oh.

  6. Moe January 21, 2008 9:53 pm 

    You should be called ‘The Bike Outlaw’ instead of the Veloteer!

  7. Ghost Rider January 22, 2008 5:26 am 


    I’ve never been stopped by the cops…hell, I don’t think they’ve ever noticed my cycling antics!

  8. Joel January 22, 2008 8:13 am 

    No citations for me, but my older bro got quite a few in Berkeley. His were all for running stop signs (actually, all the same stop sign and he was later hit – leading to a dislocated shoulder – at the same spot) so I don’t know if his citations count since they were non-bike specific.

  9. Paul January 22, 2008 8:43 am 

    Didn’t actually get ticketed, but pulled over for rolling through a red light. Scolded, lectured. I was 40 or so at the time.

  10. Dominic Dougherty January 22, 2008 10:03 am 

    CA recently updated their pedal reflector law: CVC 21201 (d)3 A white or yellow reflector on each pedal, shoe, or ankle visible from the front and rear of the bicycle from a distance of 200 feet.

    So now you just need something shiny in the general area of your feet!

  11. winston January 22, 2008 10:47 am 

    3000 miles a year in NYC and I finally got my first ticket — riding from my front door and dropping off the curb — That’s a “Quality of Life Crime” I was told. Not my own, apparently. When in Brooklyn, walk your bike to the curb…. or else.

  12. UltraRob January 22, 2008 11:28 am 

    When I was in high school, I got pulled over for following too close. I was drafting off a vehicle going about 30 mph. I didn’t get a ticket but got a long lecture.

    I don’t have any actual reflectors on my bike. Because of doing RAAM and RAAM qualifiers, I have reflective tape all over my bike, on my helmet and my shoes. I doubt it adds more than an ounce and really helps with safety if I’m out after dark.

  13. PushingWind January 22, 2008 2:13 pm 

    Back in mid-2001, there was some bike path work going on near downtown Denver. I changed my commute to ride around the community college to avoid construction. Riding my usual route around the campus, a “no-riding” sign appeared one day. Blew right by it and was soon tagged by a bike cop. He could not find the code violation number for riding in a no-riding zone, so wrote me up for speeding. He didn’t show up for the court date so I’m clean. I just wish I would have kept a copy of the ticket. Needless to say I never went that way again.

  14. Dan January 22, 2008 7:30 pm 

    No citation, but I was stopped by an officer in Alexandria, VA and scolded for riding on a parkway. He pointed to a bike lane about a block away and had me walk there through the grass.

  15. David December 5, 2008 12:40 am 

    well i got a stop sign ticket on my Bmx race bike today in tucson az which is funny cuz i rolled though it like 3 mph that asshole coulda just gave me a warning

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