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Bicycle Laws 101: State of Ohio

Are you hitting the road with your new bicycle? Wait. It’s a bad idea to head out on your bicycle without understanding Ohio bicycle laws! Doing so could endanger you and others on the roadway. It may also lead to dealing with the police as you accidentally cross a line you shouldn’t have. To avoid both of those unfortunate scenarios, you need to read up on the Ohio bicycle laws! 

This article by Sandel Law Firm will be your guide. We will break down each law within Ohio that has the potential to impact your next bike ride. Avoid breaking the law unknowingly. Continue reading this article; you’ll have all the information you need to stay safe! 

Is it mandatory to wear a bicycle helmet in Ohio?

In the vast majority of Ohio, you do not have to wear a helmet on a non-motorized bicycle. However, that does not stand for every individual within Ohio, nor every area. There are multiple cities with ordinances that do require individuals under the age of 18 to wear a helmet. Still, even within those areas, it’s mainly required when participating in events and other activities. 

While that may be the case for non-motorized bicycles, what about motorized ones? 

Motorized bicycles are an entirely different story. In Ohio, no matter where you may find yourself, all ages must wear helmets on class 3 electric bicycles. You may find other laws on electric bicycles from class 1 above here.

If Ohio bicycle laws can’t convince you to wear a helmet, safety should. 

According to the National Library of Medicine information, helmets are a major safety asset. Helmets provide a 63 to 88 percent reduction in head and severe brain injury risk for all ages. Furthermore, the information tells us helmets offer equal levels of protection for crashes involving motor vehicles and other causes. All of which is to say that despite Ohio bicycle laws, for your safety, wear a helmet. Learn more about the safety benefits of helmets here. 

Do bicycles have to observe fundamental traffic laws

Do bicycles have to observe fundamental traffic laws?

For the most part, yes. As you are out on the road with your bicycle, Ohio bicycle laws expect you to behave responsibly. You must follow the flow of traffic, obey traffic laws and follow road signs. As if you are operating a motor vehicle. If at any point you fail to do so, Ohio bicycle laws state you are breaking the law. 

Beyond the normal traffic laws, cyclists must also ensure they are visible on the road. You may want to add pieces of bright clothing to areas of your body that move while paddling. You may also want to use some flashing bike lights. 

Try to be as visible as possible without obstructing the view of others on the roadway. Over 900 people were fatally struck in motor vehicle accidents while riding their bicycles in 2020 alone. So take time and equip the right gear before ever riding at night.

The Ohio Revised Code Chapter 4511-  What cyclists should follow

Below we are including some of the Ohio bicycle laws that we deem some of the most crucial. Please read them, and be sure that you follow them as you set out on your next ride. That way, you can come back and do it again. 

  • On a roadway, cyclists should ride as near the right side as possible unless it is unsafe/ unreasonable to do so. For instance, you may avoid riding so close when hazards like parked cars or moving vehicles are there. 
  • Cyclists may ride side by side in the same lane for the most part. However, you are not allowed to do so when on paths or roadways for the exclusive purpose of bicycles. 
  • As we mentioned, a bicycle must have reflectors. However, you must have more at night or when visibility is especially low. You must have a white light mounted to the front and a flashing/ steady red light on the rear.
  • According to Ohio bicycle laws require, every cyclist must learn and follow the standard hand/ arm motions for signaling purposes. 
  • The number of passengers a bicycle can carry is limited to the number it has the equipment to support. 
  • Non-motorized bicycles are allowed to ride on sidewalks. However, the Ohio Bicycle Federation recommends that you do not, as it is a potential cause for accidents. 

This concludes our article! Following these laws should keep you safe on your next outing. However, should the unexpected happen, the Sandel Law Firm is ready to assist you. Please contact us today to learn more.

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