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Philadelphia Bike Laws

Posted on September 11th, 2019

If you or a loved one are a regular bike rider, then you need to know the laws of the roadways when you head out. If you are a driver, you need to know the laws regarding bicycles as well. In Philadelphia, bicycles are legal vehicles. They are entitled to the same rights and responsibilities as a car. Today, we want to discuss the laws related to bikes and their equipment.

Bicycle Laws in Philadelphia

Even though bicycle riders are entitled to the same rights and responsibilities as cars on the roadway, it does not mean that they should act unsafely. There are some rules that bicyclists need to follow in order to stay safe. In Pennsylvania, bicycles:

  • Must be ridden in the same direction as traffic
  • Are entitled to ride in the middle of the lane
    • A driver may pass a bicycle if they can give the cyclist 4 feet of clearance before passing.
  • Can be ridden on any city street (even those without a bike lane)
  • Must obey all street signals and signs. This includes traffic lights, stop signs, yield signs, and crosswalks.
  • May not be ridden on sidewalks (unless the rider us under 13 years of age)

Along with giving bicyclists room when they pass, vehicle drivers are supposed to check their surroundings before opening their doors to avoid “dooring” the cyclist.

Bike Lane Laws

Bike lanes are only to be ridden in the correct direction. Generally, they are only one-direction lanes unless specifically noted as a two-way. In bike lanes, bicyclists may ride 2 abreast.

Are There Any Bicycle Equipment Laws?

Yes, there are laws for equipment on bicycles.

  • All bicycles must have a front white light and a rear red reflector.
  • Adults do not have to wear helmets in Pennsylvania. However, anyone under 13 years of age must wear a helmet when riding.
  • Bicycles can only carry as many people as there are seats.
  • All bicycles must have brakes.
  • Bicyclists are prohibited from wearing headphones while riding.

What are the fines for breaking these laws?

There are various fines associated with breaking the laws of the roadway when riding a bike. The following violations all carry a $119.50 fine:

  • Disregarding a traffic signal
  • Turning on red/failure to yield for pedestrian/traffic
  • Wrong way on a one-way street
  • Disregarding a stop sign
  • Disregarding a yield sign
  • Failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk
  • Clinging to a vehicle
  • Careless driving

It is important to follow these rules and not just for legal purposes. Bicyclists are very vulnerable on the roadways. It is not uncommon for a bicyclist to sustain serious injuries in a crash with a vehicle. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that there are approximately 500,000 bicycle rider injuries each year in the US. We commonly see the following injuries after a bicycle crash:

  • Broken and dislocated bones
  • Severe lacerations
  • Internal organ damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Concussions

If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident that was caused by another person’s negligence, please call the Ciccarelli Law Firm today and speak to one of our Philadelphia bicycle accident attorneys. We can discuss your case and look to see if you are entitled to any compensation. You can contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling us at 610-692-8700.