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As a motorist, do you understand biking laws?

Posted by Scott Stueber on Apr 7, 2015 11:49:31 AM


Bicycling is growing in popularity. It’s easier on your joints, reduces stress, and can be enjoyed for a lifetime. Due to federal funding, there are more bike trails and street lanes than ever before. These upgrades allow for safer rides with your family and safer commutes to work.

If you’re not interested in biking, that’s fine. However, as a motorist, you should be familiar with the laws in your state that are designed to keep bicyclists safe. Here are some laws that may apply in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

  • Safe passing laws – This law requires a motor vehicle to allow no less than three feet of clearance when passing a bicyclist.
  • Treatment as a vehicle – Bicyclists have the same rights and duties of a driver of a vehicle.
  • Where to ride – If riding in the street, bicyclists need to ride as close to the curb or edge of the roadway as possible. Keep in mind bicyclists are probably still two to three feet from away from either. So while it can be frustrating to approach a biker in the road and have to slow down traffic, that biker has the right to be there. Respect their space and pass when it’s safe for both of you.
  • Dooring law – I’ll bet you’ve experienced this while driving your car: A door from a parked car suddenly opens just as you’re approaching the car. This situation can be even more dangerous for bikers. The Dooring law states that a person in a parked car DOES NOT have the right to open the door at any time. A driver or passenger may only open a door when it’s reasonably safe and doesn’t interfere with the movement of traffic.

If you’re interested in biking to work, riding with your family, or participating in a biking event, check out my blog, “Bike safety tips for commuters, families, and enthusiasts.” You’ll find tips for getting started and staying safe.

Do you have any tips or you’d like to share? If so, I’d love to hear them. Please share them in the box below.


Topics: Auto Safety, Bicycle Safety

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