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The Pennsylvania Bicycle Laws Cyclists Need to Know

bike accidentIn Pennsylvania, bicycles are considered vehicles, which requires cyclists to abide by general traffic laws as well as specific bicycle laws. Knowing Pennsylvania’s bike laws will help ensure the safety of cyclists and everyone else on the road.

If you or a loved one was injured in a bicycle accident, contact the experienced Harrisburg bicycle accident lawyers of Schmidt Kramer. We offer free consultations so you can learn what legal options may be available in your situation.

Call (717) 888-8888 today to discuss your bike accident with a skilled attorney.

Helmet Laws for Bicyclists

Wearing a bicycle helmet reduces head injury risk in an accident by 85 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. In Pennsylvania, all bicyclists under age 12 must wear a helmet when riding, including passengers and those riding in attached seats or trailers. Violating the bicycle helmet law may result in a fine of up to $25.

While helmets are not mandatory for riders who are 12 or older, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation recommends their use for all bicyclists. However, not wearing a helmet at the time of an accident will not reduce the compensation entitled to the injury victim.

Where Bicycles Can Ride

In Pennsylvania, bicyclists may either ride on the shoulder of the roadway following the direction of traffic or on the road under certain conditions, including:

  • In the right-most lane of a multi-lane road
  • In the right lane of a two-lane road
  • On the right side of a roadway that has no center dividing line
  • On the left curb or edge of a one-way road

Other important Pennsylvania road rules for bicyclists include the following:

  • Because pedestrians have the right of way on bike paths and sidewalks, always give an audible signal when you are about to pass a pedestrian.
  • When biking alongside parked cars, allow a four-foot clearance in order to avoid being hit by an opening car door.
  • Do not ride on freeways.
  • It is legal to ride on the sidewalk when outside of business districts or if there is no bike lane.
  • Do not ride more than two bicycles side-by-side unless you are using exclusive bicycle paths or lanes.

Lights and Equipment for Bicycles

When riding between sunset and sunrise and anytime it is dark, a bike must use a front white light plus a rear red reflector; these must be visible from at least 500 feet away.

Bikes must also have brakes that can stop the bike within 15 feet at an initial speed of 15 mph while on level, dry pavement.

Some municipalities in the state require bikes to have bells or another type of signaling device.

Bicycle Operation Laws

Bicyclists must follow certain operating bike rules while riding in Pennsylvania.

  • You must ride on a regular seat.
  • You cannot ride with a passenger on your handlebars or crossbar.
  • One hand must be on the handlebars at all times while riding; you cannot carry an item that prevents you from steering with one hand.
  • You may park your bike on a sidewalk if it does not block pedestrian traffic, or along the edge of the roadway if it does not block vehicle traffic.
  • Bicyclists cannot use headphones or earbuds while riding.

Biking Under the Influence

It is illegal to operate a vehicle while intoxicated in Pennsylvania. As bicycles are legally considered vehicles, this applies to bicyclists as well. Bicyclists may not ride while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Get Assistance with Your Bicycle Accident Claim Now

Bicycle accident victims can contact our experienced Harrisburg bicycle accident attorneys for assistance with filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. The seasoned lawyers of Schmidt Kramer help accident victims secure the compensation they deserve for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our lawyers work on contingency, so you only owe legal fees if we help recover compensation in your case.

Call (717) 888-8888 or complete our Free Case Review form now.