Pennsylvania Bicycling Laws
In the spring of 2015, Philadelphia’s Bike Share Program Indego sponsored by Independence Blue Cross was launched. The program features over 500 bicycles and over sixty stations located throughout the city. This program has also started across the state with bike share programs in Pittsburgh and Harrisburg. Riding your bike through the great state of Pennsylvania is a great way to get exercise and to get to work. You probably have noticed not only the blue stations where the bikes are parked but also a massive influx of riders cruising through the streets. It is becoming more and more popular and economical to ride your bike through the city and is a great source of exercise. Whether you are riding down Schuylkill River Trail, or on Boathouse row, or even zipping around Rittenhouse Square, bicycles are here to stay in Philadelphia. However, even though riding your bike can be a great way to get around the city or to get some exercise riding a bike through the city can be dangerous.
Because a bicycle is exposed on all sides if you are in a bicycle accident it can range from a minor cut and bump to a major accident that can impact your life. If you have been in an accident then you need to consider your legal rights. For more than 34 years the experienced and dedicated personal injury attorneys of The Reiff Law Firm have fought for bicycle accident and injury victims. When you work with our firm you can expect us to provide aggressive and strategic representation. We work to hold the careless, reckless, or negligent party financially accountable for your severe injuries or your loved one’s wrongful death. To schedule a free, private bicycle injury legal consultation call our firm at (215) 246-9000 today.
What Laws Apply to Bicyclists?
Title 75 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes contains the law, which are applicable to operating vehicles on Pennsylvania roads. Under this code, a bicycle is considered a vehicle and because of this when you are riding a bicycle in Pennsylvania you are still governed by the general rules, which are common to all vehicles. Additionally, because of their unique nature, Bicycles are subject to their own specific set of rules. To better understand the laws that are applicable to bicyclists the attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm have created an annotated list of some of the important sections of the Vehicle Code.
- All vehicles, including bicycles, must be driven on the right side of the road except when the following exceptions occur:
- Overtaking or passing
- An obstruction makes it necessary to drive on another part of the road.
- A traffic-control device indicates that another lane should be used
- A one-way street
- When making a left turn from a left turn lane § 3301(a)
- Vehicles, like bicycles, that travel at a slower speed than surrounding traffic must be driven in the right lane or as close as is practical to the right side curb or edge of the roadway, except when overtaking and passing or making a left turn. § 3301(b)
- Parents are responsible for ensuring that children follow the rules of the road when operating a bicycle. § 3503(a)
- A person operating a bicycle must sit on a permanent and attached bicycle seat. § 3504 (a)
- A bicycle shall not be used to transport more than the intended number of riders (usually one). However, an adult rider may transport children using a secured child carrier or bicycle trailer. § 3504 (b)
- Every person operating a bicycle on the highway must follow the rules of the road. § 3505(a)
- A bicycle may be ridden on the shoulder of the highway; the rider must travel in the same direction as vehicles on the roadway. § 3505(b)
- A bicyclist traveling at a slower speed than surrounding traffic must travel on the right side of the road unless there is an exception indicated in section 3301b or conditions exist that make riding on the right side unsafe. § 3505(c)
- Bicyclists on one-way streets may travel on the left side of the road if there are two or more marked traffic lanes. The driver shall ride as close to the left-hand curb or edge of the roadway as is safely possible. § 3505(d)
- Bicyclists may not ride more than two abreast except on bicycle paths, bicycle lanes, or other routes set-aside for bicyclists. § 3505(e)
- Bicyclists must use a bike lane or bike path if mandatory use of the route is indicated by traffic control devices. § 3505(f)
- A bicyclist may not carry a package or any other object that prevents the rider from keeping at least one hand on the handlebars. § 3506
- All bicycles used between sunset and sunrise must be equipped with a front headlamp that illuminates a path at least 500 feet from the front of the bike. The headlamp may be supplemented with a white flashing lamp, light-emitting diode or other device to increase visibility. Bicycles must also have a red rear reflector that 500 feet from the rear in all directions and an amber reflector on each side. A red flashing lamp, light-emitting diode or other device that increases visibility may be used in addition to the red reflector. § 3507(a)
- A bicycle may be equipped with a device that gives an audible signal that can be heard for a distance of at least 100 feet; however, the device may not be a siren. § 3507(b)
- Every bicycle must have a working braking system capable of stopping the bike in 15 feet from an initial speed of 15 miles per hour on a dry level surface. § 3507(c)
- Bicyclists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and must give an audible signal before overtaking or passing a pedestrian. § 3508(a)
- A bicyclist may not ride on the sidewalk in a business district unless permitted by traffic-control devices. § 3508(b)
- A rider may park his or her bike on the sidewalk unless parking is prohibited or restricted by a traffic control device. The bicycle may not interfere with the normal and reasonable flow of pedestrian or other traffic. § 3509(a)
- A bicycle may be parked on the roadway at an angle to the curb or edge of the roadway at any location where parking is allowed. It may be parked abreast of another bicycle. Parked bikes may not interfere with the normal flow of traffic or obstruct the movement of a legally parked motor vehicle. § 3509(b)
- Bicyclists and bicycle passengers under the age of 12 must wear a helmet that meets the standards of the American National Standards Institute, the American Society for Testing and Materials, or the Snell Memorial Foundation’s Standards for Protective Headgear for Use in Bicycling. This rule also applies to children in attached carriers and trailers. If a child does not wear a helmet while on a bike, the parent may be fined $25. Failure to wear a helmet cannot be considered negligence in a civil court case. § 3510(a)
- Bicycles are prohibited on freeways. § 3511(a)
What are the Most Common Causes of Injury?
According to the 2012 National Survey on Bicyclist and Pedestrian Attitudes and Behaviors, nearly a third of all injuries are caused when bicycles are struck by cars.
The six most frequent sources of injury are:
- Hit by a car
- Roadway/ walkway not in good repair
- Rider error/ not paying attention
- Crashed/ collision
Have You Been Hurt? Rely on The Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers of The Reiff Law Firm
For more than 34 years the experienced and dedicated personal injury attorneys of The Reiff Law Firm have fought for bicycle accident and injury victims. When you work with our firm you can expect us to provide aggressive and strategic representation. We work to hold the careless, reckless, or negligent party financially accountable for your severe injuries or your loved one’s wrongful death. To schedule a free, private bicycle injury legal consultation call our firm at (215) 246-9000 today.