Search
  • Colin Cameron

Chicago's Bike Laws: All in One Place


We often get asked by new and potential bike accident injury clients about the local or state laws that apply to the cyclist's particular accident. Did I break any laws? Did the driver break any laws? What if the driver got a ticket? What types of laws apply to cyclists in Chicago? Are there laws that provide additional protection for cyclists? Are there laws that inform cyclists where they can ride when there isn't a bike lane on the street? In light of questions like these, we thought it would be useful to post all the most frequently cited laws in one place. If you've been injured in a bike accident in Illinois, please message us or give us a call at 872.588.0727 for a free consultation.

Title 9, Chapter 52 of the Chicago Municipal Code applies specifically to cyclists:

9-52-010, Rights and Duties:

(a) Every bicyclist upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by the laws of this state declaring rules of the road applicable to vehicles or by the traffic ordinances of this city applicable to the driver of a vehicle, except as otherwise explicitly provided in this Code, or as to those provisions of laws and ordinances which by their nature can have no application.

(b) The regulations in the traffic code applicable to bicycles shall apply whenever a bicycle is operated upon any roadway or public sidewalk or upon any public path set aside for the use of bicycles, subject to those exceptions stated herein.

(c) Whenever authorized signs are erected indicating that no right or left turn or turn in the opposite direction is permitted, no bicyclist shall disobey the direction of any such sign unless he dismounts from the bicycle to make the turn, in which event he shall then obey the regulations applicable to pedestrians.

(d) Unless another fine or penalty is specifically provided in this chapter, any person who violates this chapter shall be fined not less than $50.00 nor more than $200.00 for each offense.

9-52-020 Riding bicycles on sidewalks and certain roadways.

(a) Unless the prohibition imposed by subsection (c) applies, a person may ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk within a business district, but only if such sidewalk has been officially designated and marked as a bicycle route, or such sidewalk is used to enter the nearest roadway, intersection or designated bicycle path, or to access a bicycle share station.

(b) Unless the prohibition imposed by subsection (c) applies, a person 12 or more years of age may ride a bicycle upon any sidewalk in any district, but only if such sidewalk has been officially designated and marked as a bicycle route, or such sidewalk is used to enter the nearest roadway, intersection or designated bicycle path, or to access a bicycle share station.

(c) Bicycles shall not be operated on Lake Shore Drive or on any public way where the operation of bicycles has been prohibited and signs have been erected indicating such prohibition.

9-52-021 Riding on North Sheridan Road sidewalk prohibited.

(a) No person 12 or more years of age shall ride a bicycle on the sidewalk adjacent to North Sheridan Road, between West Ardmore Avenue and West Sheridan Road (6400 north). The penalty for any person age 18 and older who violates this section shall be a fine of $200.

(b) In accordance with Section 9-52-020(c), the commissioner of transportation is authorized to erect and maintain signage which gives notice of the prohibition in subsection (a) of this section. No person shall be found in violation of this section unless the required signage has been posted.

9-52-030 Speed of bicycles.

No person shall operate a bicycle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions then existing.

(Added Coun. J. 7-12-90, p. 18634)

9-52-040 Yielding right-of-way.

(a) The operator of a bicycle emerging from an alley, driveway or building shall, upon approaching a sidewalk or the sidewalk area extending across any alleyway, yield the right-of-way to all pedestrians approaching on the sidewalk or sidewalk area and, upon entering the roadway, shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching on the roadway.

(b) Whenever any person is riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk, such person shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian.

(c) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (e) of this section, any bicyclist upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as near as practicable and safe to the right-hand side of the roadway, except in the following circumstances:

(1) when overtaking another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction; or

(2) when preparing for a left turn; or

(3) when reasonably necessary to avoid conditions including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge. For purposes of this subsection, the term “substandard width lane” means a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane; or

(4) when approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.

(d) Any bicyclist upon a roadway is permitted to pass on the right side of a slower-moving or standing vehicle or bicycle, but must exercise due care when doing so. When approaching a vehicle which has discharged passengers from its right side, a bicyclist must either yield to those pedestrians or pass on the left.

(e) Any person operating a bicycle upon a one- way roadway with two or more marked traffic lanes may

ride as near to the left-hand side of such roadway as practicable.

9-52-045 Bicycle operator's signals - Hand and arm - Manner.

A bicyclist upon the roadway or upon any public path set aside for the use of bicycles shall give hand and arm signals in the following manner:

1. Left turn, left hand and arm extended horizontally;

2. Right turn, left hand and arm extended upward, or right hand and arm extended horizontally;

3. Stop or decrease speed, left or right hand and arm extended downward.

9-52-050 Riding in single file required – Exceptions.

Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall ride single file except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles or except when riding two abreast does not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic. Persons riding two abreast shall ride within a single lane subject to Section 9-52-040 of this Code.

9-52-060 Carrying articles on bicycles.

No person operating a bicycle shall carry any package, bundle or article which prevents the rider from keeping at least one hand upon the handlebars.

9-52-070 Parking.

No person shall park a bicycle upon a street other than upon the roadway against the curb or upon the sidewalk against a rack, parking meter or sign pole to support the bicycle or against a building or at the curb in such manner as to afford the least obstruction to pedestrian traffic.

(Added Coun. J. 7-12-90, p. 18634; Amend Coun. J. 7-21-04, p. 28659, § 1)

9-52-071 Abandoned bicycles.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to abandon any bicycle on any public way within the city. A bicycle shall be deemed abandoned if it: (1) is in such a state of disrepair as to be incapable of being operated in its present condition, or (2) has not been moved or used in more than seven days and bears physical indicia of having been deserted.

(b) Any bicycle deemed abandoned pursuant to subsection (a) of this section may have a notice affixed to it which informs the bicycle's owner that the bicycle appears to be abandoned. The commissioner of transportation or his designee is authorized to affix such notices upon bicycles. This notice shall indicate:

(1) a telephone number for the owner to call to inform the department of transportation that the bicycle is not abandoned; and

(2) the date after which the bicycle may be removed if it is not claimed by its owner.

A bicycle shall not be deemed to be abandoned if the owner of the bicycle, within seven days of the affixing of a notice of abandonment, notifies the department of transportation that the bicycle is not abandoned.

(c) If a bicycle is not relocated or claimed by its owner within seven days of the affixing of a notice of abandonment, that bicycle may be removed and disposed of by the commissioner of transportation or his designee.

9-52-080 Headlamps, reflectors and brakes.

(a) Every bicycle when in use at nighttime shall be equipped with a head lamp which shall emit a white light visible from a minimum distance of 500 feet from the front and with a rear red reflector capable of reflecting the head lamp beams of an approaching motor vehicle back to the operator of such vehicle at distances up to 200 feet or a rear lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of at least 200 feet from the rear.

(b) Every bicycle shall be equipped with a brake that will enable the operator to make the braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement.

(Added Coun. J. 7-12-90, p. 18634)

9-52-090 Riding regulations.

(a) A person propelling a bicycle shall not ride other than astride a permanent and regular seat attached thereto.

(b) No bicycle shall be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed and equipped.

9-52-100 Parents or legal guardians responsibility.

No parent or legal guardian of any child shall authorize or knowingly permit the child to violate any of the provisions of this chapter applicable to bicycles.

9-52-110 Use of communication devices while operating a bicycle.

(a) For purposes of this section only, the following definitions apply:

“Communication device” means a device, including but not limited to a wireless telephone, personal digital assistant, or a portable or mobile computer, which is designed to transmit and receive electronic messages.

“Electronic message” means a self-contained piece of digital communication that is designed or intended to be transmitted between communication devices. An “electronic message” includes, but is not limited to electronic mail, a text message, an instant message, a command or request to access an internet site, or talking or listening to another person on the telephone or other communication device.

“Using” means composing, reading, sending or listening to an electronic message.

(b) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (c) of this section, no person shall operate a bicycle while using a communication device.

(c) The provisions of this section shall not apply to a:

(1) law enforcement officer or other emergency responder, when on duty and acting in his official capacity;

(2) person using a communication device with a “hands free” device or in a voice-activated mode, which allows the person to talk into and listen to the other party without the use of hands;

(3) person using a communication device for the sole purpose of reporting an emergency situation and continued communication with emergency personnel during the emergency situation; or

(4) person using a communication device while maintaining a bicycle in a stationary position.

(d) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be fined not less than $20.00 nor more than $50.00 for the first offense, not less than $50.00 nor more than $75.00 for the second offense, and not less than $75.00 nor more than $100.00 for a third or any subsequent offense.

(e) In addition to any fine provided for in this section, if a violation of subsection (b) of this section occurs at the time of a traffic accident, the person operating the bicycle may be fined in an amount not to exceed $500.00.

9-120-060 Traffic regulations to apply.

No person shall operate any bicycle upon the public ways or other places in this city in violation of any of the applicable provisions of Title 9 of this Code.

9-80-035 Opening and closing vehicle doors.

No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.

9-4-025 Bicycle safety violation – Penalty.

(a) (1) Any person who violates subsection (e) or (f) of Section 9-16-020, subsection (c) of Section 9-36-010, or Section 9-40-060, of this Code, shall be subject to a fine of $150.00 for each offense.

(2) Any person who violates subsection (e) or (f) of Section 9-16-020, subsection (c) of Section 9-36-010, or Section 9-40-060, of this Code, when such violation causes a collision between a motor vehicle and a bicycle, shall be subject to a fine of $500.00 for each offense.

(b) (1) Any person who violates Section 9-40-160 of this Code, when such violation interferes with the movement of a bicycle, shall be subject to a fine of $150.00 for each offense.

(2) Any person who violates Section 9-40-160 of this Code, when such violation causes a collision between a motor vehicle and a bicycle, shall be subject to a fine of $500.00 for each offense.

(c) (1) Any person who violates Section 9-80-035 of this Code, when such violation interferes with the movement of a bicycle, shall be subject to a fine of $300.00 for each offense.

(2) Any person who violates Section 9-80-035 of this Code, when such violation causes a collision between a motor vehicle and a bicycle, shall be subject to a fine of $1,000.00 for each offense.

Illinois State Statutes (625 ILCS 5/Ch. 11 Art. XV heading)

ARTICLE XV. BICYCLES

(625 ILCS 5/11-1501) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-1501) Sec. 11-1501. Application of rules. (a) It is unlawful for any person to do any act forbidden or fail to perform any act required in Article XV of Chapter 11 of this Code. (b) The parent of any child and the guardian of any ward shall not authorize or knowingly permit any such child or ward to violate any of the provisions of this Code.

(625 ILCS 5/11-1502) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-1502) Sec. 11-1502. Traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles.Every person riding a bicycle upon a highway shall be granted all of the rights, including, but not limited to, rights under Article IX of this Chapter, and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this Code, except as to special regulations in this Article XV and those provisions of this Code which by their nature can have no application.

(625 ILCS 5/11-1503) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-1503) Sec. 11-1503. Riding on bicycles. (a) A person propelling a bicycle shall not ride other than upon or astride a permanent and regular seat attached thereto. (b) No bicycle shall be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed and equipped, except that an adult rider may carry a child securely attached to his person in a back pack or sling.

(625 ILCS 5/11-1504) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-1504) Sec. 11-1504. Clinging to vehicles. No person riding upon any bicycle, coaster, roller skates, sled or toy vehicle shall attach the same or himself to any vehicle upon a roadway.

(625 ILCS 5/11-1505) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-1505) Sec. 11-1505. Position of bicycles and motorized pedal cycles on roadways - Riding on roadways and bicycle paths. (a) Any person operating a bicycle or motorized pedal cycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as close as practicable and safe to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under the following situations: 1. When overtaking and passing another bicycle,

motorized pedal cycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction; or

2. When preparing for a left turn at an intersection

or into a private road or driveway; or

3. When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions

including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, motorized pedal cycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge. For purposes of this subsection, a "substandard width lane" means a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle or motorized pedal cycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane; or

4. When approaching a place where a right turn is

authorized.

(b) Any person operating a bicycle or motorized pedal cycle upon a one-way highway with two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of such roadway as practicable.

(625 ILCS 5/11-1505.1) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-1505.1) Sec. 11-1505.1. Persons riding bicycles or motorized pedal cycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than 2 abreast, except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for their exclusive use. Persons riding 2 abreast shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic and, on a laned roadway, shall ride within a single lane subject to the provisions of Section 11-1505.

(625 ILCS 5/11-1506) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-1506) Sec. 11-1506. Carrying articles. No person operating a bicycle shall carry any package, bundle or article which prevents the use of both hands in the control and operation of the bicycle. A person operating a bicycle shall keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times.

(625 ILCS 5/11-1507) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-1507) Sec. 11-1507. Lamps and other equipment on bicycles. (a) Every bicycle when in use at nighttime shall be equipped with a lamp on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and with a red reflector on the rear of a type approved by the Department which shall be visible from all distances from 100 feet to 600 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle, except that a lamp emitting a steady or flashing red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear may be used in addition to or instead of the red reflector. (b) A bicycle shall not be equipped with nor shall any person use upon a bicycle any siren. This subsection (b) does not apply to a bicycle that is a police vehicle or fire department vehicle. (c) Every bicycle shall be equipped with a brake which will adequately control movement of and stop and hold such bicycle. (d) No person shall sell a new bicycle or pedal for use on a bicycle that is not equipped with a reflex reflector conforming to specifications prescribed by the Department, on each pedal, visible from the front and rear of the bicycle during darkness from a distance of 200 feet. (e) No person shall sell or offer for sale a new bicycle that is not equipped with side reflectors. Such reflectors shall be visible from each side of the bicycle from a distance of 500 feet and shall be essentially colorless or red to the rear of the center of the bicycle and essentially colorless or amber to the front of the center of the bicycle provided. The requirements of this paragraph may be met by reflective materials which shall be at least 3/16 of an inch wide on each side of each tire or rim to indicate as clearly as possible the continuous circular shape and size of the tires or rims of such bicycle and which reflective materials may be of the same color on both the front and rear tire or rim. Such reflectors shall conform to specifications prescribed by the Department. (f) No person shall sell or offer for sale a new bicycle that is not equipped with an essentially colorless front-facing reflector.

(625 ILCS 5/11-1507.1) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-1507.1) Sec. 11-1507.1. Lamps on mopeds. Every moped, when in use at nighttime, shall be equipped with a lamp on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front, and with a red reflector on the rear of a type approved by the Department which shall be visible from all distances from 100 feet to 600 feet to the rear when in front of lawful, low-powered beams of head lamps on a motor vehicle. A lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear may be used in addition to the red reflector.

(625 ILCS 5/11-1508) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-1508) Sec. 11-1508. Bicycle identifying number. A person engaged in the business of selling bicycles at retail shall not sell any bicycle unless the bicycle has an identifying number permanently stamped or cast on its frame.

(625 ILCS 5/11-1509) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-1509) Sec. 11-1509. Inspecting bicycles. A uniformed police officer may at any time upon reasonable cause to believe that a bicycle is unsafe or not equipped as required by law, or that its equipment is not in proper adjustment or repair, require the person riding the bicycle to stop and submit the bicycle to an inspection and such test with reference thereto as may be appropriate.

(625 ILCS 5/11-1510) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-1510) Sec. 11-1510. Left Turns. (a) A person riding a bicycle or moped intending to turn left shall follow a course described in Section 11-801 or in paragraph (b) of this Section. (b) A person riding a bicycle or moped intending to turn left shall approach the turn as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway. After proceeding across the intersecting roadway to the far corner of the curb or intersection of the roadway edges, the bicyclist or moped driver shall stop, as much as practicable out of the way of traffic. After stopping the person shall yield to any traffic proceeding in either direction along the roadway such person had been using. After yielding, the bicycle or moped driver shall comply with any official traffic control device or police officer regulating traffic on the highway along which he intends to proceed, and the bicyclist or moped driver may proceed in the new direction. (c) Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, the Department and local authorities in their respective jurisdictions may cause official traffic-control devices to be placed and thereby require and direct that a specific course be traveled by turning bicycles and moped, and when such devices are so placed, no person shall turn a bicycle or moped other than as directed and required by such devices.

(625 ILCS 5/11-1511) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-1511) Sec. 11-1511. Turn and stop signals. (a) Except as provided in this Section, a person riding a bicycle shall comply with Section 11-804. (b) A signal of intention to turn right or left when required shall be given during not less than the last 100 feet traveled by the bicycle before turning, and shall be given while the bicycle is stopped waiting to turn. A signal by hand and arm need not be given continuously if the hand is needed in the control or operation of the bicycle.

(625 ILCS 5/11-1512) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-1512) Sec. 11-1512. Bicycles on sidewalks. (a) A person propelling a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall yield the right of way to any pedestrian and shall give audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian. (b) A person shall not ride a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, where such use of bicycles is prohibited by official traffic-control devices. (c) A person propelling a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.

(625 ILCS 5/11-1513) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-1513) Sec. 11-1513. Bicycle parking. (a) A person may park a bicycle on a sidewalk unless prohibited or restricted by an official traffic-control device. (b) A bicycle parked on a sidewalk shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of pedestrian or other traffic. (c) A bicycle may be parked on the roadway at any angle to the curb or edge of the roadway at any location where parking is allowed. (d) A bicycle may be parked on the roadway abreast of another bicycle or bicycles near the side of the roadway at any location where parking is allowed. (e) A person shall not park a bicycle on a roadway in such a manner as to obstruct the movement of a legally parked motor vehicle. (f) In all other respects, bicycles parked anywhere on a highway shall conform with the provisions of this Code regulating the parking of vehicles.

(625 ILCS 5/11-1514) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-1514) Sec. 11-1514. Bicycle racing. (a) Bicycle racing on a highway shall not be unlawful when a racing event has been approved by State or local authorities on any highway under their respective jurisdictions. Approval of bicycle highway racing events shall be granted only under conditions which assure reasonable safety for all race participants, spectators and other highways users, and which prevent unreasonable interference with traffic flow which would seriously inconvenience other highway users. (b) By agreement with the approving authority, participants in an approved bicycle highway racing event may be exempted from compliance with any traffic laws otherwise applicable thereto, provided that traffic control is adequate to assure the safety of all highway users.

(625 ILCS 5/11-1515) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-1515) Sec. 11-1515. No person, firm, or corporation shall operate a commercial bicycle messenger service in a city with a population of more than 2,000,000 unless the bicycles used are covered by a liability insurance policy at the expense of the person, firm, or corporation. The insurance policy shall be issued in amounts no less than the minimum amounts set for bodily injury or death and for destruction of property under Section 7-203 of this Code. No insurer other than an insurer authorized to do business in this State shall issue a policy under this Section.

(625 ILCS 5/11-1516) Sec. 11-1516. Low-speed gas bicycles. (a) A person may operate a low-speed gas bicycle only if the person is at least 16 years of age. (b) A person may not operate a low-speed gas bicycle at a speed greater than 20 miles per hour upon any highway, street, or roadway. (c) A person may not operate a low-speed gas bicycle on a sidewalk. (d) Except as otherwise provided in this Section, the provisions of this Article XV that apply to bicycles also apply to low-speed gas bicycles.

(625 ILCS 5/11-1517) Sec. 11-1517. Low-speed electric bicycles. (a) Except as otherwise provided in this Section, the provisions of this Chapter that apply to bicycles also apply to low-speed electric bicycles. (b) Each low-speed electric bicycle operating in this State shall comply with equipment and manufacturing requirements adopted by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission under 16 CFR 1512. Each Class 3 low-speed electric bicycle shall be equipped with a speedometer that displays the speed the bicycle is traveling in miles per hour. (c) Beginning on or after January 1, 2018, every manufacturer and distributor of low-speed electric bicycles shall apply a label that is permanently affixed to the bicycle in a prominent location. The label shall contain, in Arial font in at least 9-point type: (1) a classification number for the bicycle that

corresponds with a class under Section 1-140.10 of this Code;

(2) the bicycle's top assisted speed; and (3) the bicycle's motor wattage. No person shall knowingly tamper or modify the speed capability or engagement of a low-speed electric bicycle without replacing the label required under this subsection (c). (d) A Class 2 low-speed electric bicycle shall operate in a manner so that the electric motor is disengaged or ceases to function when the brakes are applied. A Class 1 low-speed electric bicycle and a Class 3 low-speed electric bicycle shall operate in a manner so that the electric motor is disengaged or ceases to function when the rider stops pedaling. (e) A person may operate a low-speed electric bicycle upon any highway, street, or roadway authorized for use by bicycles, including, but not limited to, bicycle lanes. (f) A person may operate a low-speed electric bicycle upon any bicycle path unless the municipality, county, or local authority with jurisdiction prohibits the use of low-speed electric bicycles or a specific class of low-speed electric bicycles on that path. (g) A person may not operate a low-speed electric bicycle on a sidewalk. (h) A person may operate a Class 3 low-speed electric bicycle only if he or she is 16 years of age or older. A person who is less than 16 years of age may ride as a passenger on a Class 3 low-speed electric bicycle that is designed to accommodate passengers.

** This blog post is for advertising purposes and should not be construed as legal advice


4,173 views

Recent Posts

See All

(c) 2017 Cameron and Kane LLC

info@chicagobikelawfirm.com

call: 872.588.0727

2864 N. MIlwaukee Ave. Chicago, IL 60618

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter