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Be Familiar With Ohio Bicycling Laws

The State of Ohio takes biking laws seriously in order to protect the health and safety of those participating in the joys of exploring the trails that wind through the countryside of this great state. But do you know the bicycle laws?

Drivers often fail to look for two-wheel vehicles which makes bicycles and motorcycles vulnerable to reckless drivers. Not seeing a bicyclist, is not a valid legal excuse for killing or injuring a cyclist riding in a lawful manner in Ohio.

 

Same laws apply for bikes as cars

In the State of Ohio, a bicycle is required to follow the same laws as an automobile. The cyclist must follow all the basic rules of the road, that were learned in driver's education classes. Cyclist are permitted to travel on any Ohio roadway, except freeways or main interstates. It's recommended to cycle on roadways that are designed for bicyclists, such as bike paths or dedicated bicycle lanes that are available in certain Ohio cities.

Three Feet Law

In Ohio, there is a three feet law. What does that mean? There must always be three feet between a vehicle and a bicycle.

Special Bike Law

Of course, like anything, road conditions can vary from day to day due to weather conditions, debris in the road, vehicles parked or other hazards that require the normal travel route to be detoured. The cyclist might go to the middle of the road to avoid a hazard. In that case, the law requires that the cyclist take extra precaution, such as signaling, watching traffic closely, etc.

Safety Gear Law

Even though Ohio does not require the use of helmets, even in children, it's been proven that a helmet saves lives. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, head injuries caused by bicycle injuries are the leading cause of brain injuries or death. But, a helmet is not the only safety gear that is recommended for a safe bike ride. Reflective gear, bright clothing, a bike bell, and a headlight when biking later in the evening are also recommended.

Deaths are rare but here are statistics of what have/could happen

In Ohio, there are an average of 15 bicycle related deaths a year. Ohio's average is one of the lowest in the nation. California has an average of 113 death a year - which is the highest. The statistics indicate that persons between the ages of 50-59 are at high risk for bicycle fatalities. Males are more susceptible for fatalities than females.

Tips on how to be safe

  • Use safety equipment that is recommended. Ohio does not require the use of a helmet, but utilizing one is strongly recommended. It's also recommended to utilize reflective safety devices.
  • Use a headlight when bicycling at night or in dark areas.
  • Travel on the bike paths when possible.
  • Obey all traffic laws. Stop at all red lights. Stop at all stop signs. Use turn signals.

Many of our lawyers enjoy biking and some of our lawyers road bike through southern Ohio. We offer free consultations and are here if you ever need us. 

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