Bike Law Basics

 As a cyclist in Illinois, you are subject to the same traffic laws as motorists. Here are some basic bike laws to follow:
Helmet Law:
Although Illinois does not have a statewide law requiring cyclists to wear helmets, certain municipalities have their own laws that mandate helmet use for specific age groups. For instance, Skokie requires children under 17 to wear helmets when cycling.
Bicyclists must comply with all traffic laws, including those related to right-of-way. This means that they must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, stop at red lights and stop signs, and yield to other vehicles when necessary.
Bicycle Lanes:
 Bicyclists must use bike lanes where available and ride as close to the right side of the lane as possible (on a one way street, you may ride on the left side as well). Motorists are prohibited from driving in bike lanes except when turning or crossing the lane to park.
Bicyclists can pass on the left or right of other vehicles when it is safe to do so, but must pass on the left when the roadway is divided into lanes. Bicyclists must also signal their intention to pass.
Bicyclists must have a front light and rear reflector when riding at night. The front light must be visible from at least 500 feet, and the rear reflector must be visible from at least 100 feet.
Sidewalk Riding:
While Illinois does not have a statewide law prohibiting sidewalk riding, some municipalities have their own laws that limit or ban it. For example, in Chicago, bicyclists are prohibited from riding on sidewalks in business districts.
To gain a deeper understanding of the laws governing cycling in Illinois, here are some relevant statutes and ordinances:
  • Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/11-1502): This statute defines bicycles as vehicles and outlines the laws that apply to bicyclists, including right-of-way rules.
  • Chicago Municipal Code (9-52-010): This ordinance outlines laws that apply to bicycles in the City of Chicago, including bicycle registration, bicycle lanes, and sidewalk riding.
  • Skokie Municipal Code (106-227): This ordinance mandates helmet use for children under 17 when riding a bicycle.

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