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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Columbus, OH Bicycle Laws


Chapter 2173: BICYCLES, MOTORCYCLES, AND CHILDREN”S NON_MOTORIZED VEHICLES

The Columbus laws for bicycles are in the same chapter as the laws for motorcycles. This document summarizes the bicycle laws, removing the sections regarding motorcycle laws and the penalties for breaking the laws. Please consult the full text of the law available at the following website: http://library.municode.com/index.aspx?clientId=16219&stateId=35&stateName=Ohio.  Many of these laws are the same as Ohio law and the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) is referenced.

2173.01 CODE APPLICATION TO BICYCLES, CHILDREN’S NON-MOTORIZED VEHICLES
The provisions of this Traffic Code that are applicable to bicycles apply whenever a bicycle is operated upon any street or upon any shared-use path.

2173.015 DEFINITIONS (ORC 4511.01)
Bicycles are defined as vehicles and therefore cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of cars. Children’s non-motorized vehicle means any child’s wheeled device including a bicycle that is under 30” of handlebar height and operating at less than 5 mph, that is operator-propelled by human power (includes bicycles, roller skates, inline-skates, rollerblades, skateboards and scooters).

2173.02 RULES FOR BICYCLES AND CHILDREN’S NON-MOTORIZED VEHICLES (ORC 4511.53)
A person must ride on the regular seat of the bicycle and may not carry extra passengers unless the bicycle is equipped with additional seats. A child may be carried on a child carrier or bike trailer that is firmly attached to the bicycle. A person should not carry anything that prevents them from keeping at least one hand on the handlebars.
Children in Columbus aged 17 and younger must wear a helmet when riding bicycles or other children’s non-motorized vehicles (skates, rollerblades, skateboards, scooters). Parents and guardians are responsible for violation of this law.
There is no bicycle helmet law for Ohio. Experienced cyclists know that bike helmets and glasses should be worn by all adults and children on every ride to avoid head and eye injury.

2173.03 ATTACHING BICYCLE TO VEHICLE (ORC 4511.54)
No person shall attach their bicycle or themselves to any vehicle upon the roadway. No operator shall permit any person on a bicycle to attach themselves to their vehicle on the roadway.

2173.04 BICYCLE TO BE RIDDEN NEAR RIGHT SIDE OF ROADWAY; RIDING BICYCLES ABREAST (ORC 4511.55)
Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable obeying all traffic rules applicable to vehicles and exercising due care when passing a stopped vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.
This section does not require a person operating a bicycle to ride at the edge of the roadway or within a bike lane when it is unreasonable or unsafe to do so.  Conditions that may require riding away from the edge of the roadway include when necessary to avoid fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, surface hazards, or if it otherwise is unsafe or impracticable to do so, including if the lane is too narrow for the bicycle and an overtaking vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.
Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall ride not more than two abreast in a single lane, except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.
This law describes situations where cyclists may ride away from the right edge of the roadway. Other situations (described in ORC 4511.25) are when overtaking another vehicle, when preparing for a left turn, or when avoiding right turn-only lanes. Note that Columbus code states that cyclists are not required to ride in the bike lane. Cyclists should leave the bike lane when turning left and to avoid right turning traffic at intersections.
Experienced cyclists will ride single file on roadways when the lane is wide enough to allow other vehicles to safely pass. They should also ride single file on multi-use paths to allow other cyclists to safely pass.

2173.05  SIGNAL DEVICE ON BICYCLE, BRAKES (ORC 4511.56)
   (a) Every bicycle when in use between sunset and sunrise and in conditions of low visibility, shall be equipped with the following:
          (1) A lamp mounted on the front of either the bicycle or the operator that shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least five hundred feet to the front; and three hundred feet to the sides.  A generator-powered lamp that emits light only when the bicycle is moving may be used to meet this requirement.
          (2) A red reflector on the rear that shall be visible from all distances from one hundred feet to six hundred feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of head lamps on a motor vehicle.
          (3) A lamp emitting either flashing or steady red light visible from a distance of five hundred feet to the rear shall be used in addition to the red reflector; If the red lamp performs as a reflector in that it is visible as specified in subsection (a)(2) of this section, the red lamp may serve as the reflector and a separate reflector is not required.
     (b) Additional lamps and reflectors may be used in addition to those required under subsection (a) of this section, except that red lamps and red reflectors shall not be used on the front of the bicycle and white lamps and white reflectors shall not be used on the rear of the bicycle.
     (c) A bicycle may be equipped with a device capable of giving an audible signal, except that a bicycle shall not be equipped with any siren or whistle..
     (d) Every bicycle shall be equipped with an adequate brake.
In other words, a bell is not require .A cyclist should signal with a bell or announce “on your left” when passing a pedestrian or vehicle.

2173.07 BICYCLE YIELDS RIGHT OF WAY TO PEDESTRIANS
Cyclist shall yield right of way to pedestrians and give an audible signal before passing pedestrians in sidewalk, crosswalk or multi-use path.

 2173.08 RECKLESS OPERATION; CONTROL, COURSE AND SPEED
     (a) No person shall operate a bicycle:
          (1) Without due regard for the safety and rights of pedestrians and drivers and occupants of all other vehicles, and so as to endanger the life, limb or property of any person while in the lawful use of the streets or sidewalks or any other public or private property;
          (2) Without exercising reasonable and ordinary control over such bicycle;
          (3) In a weaving or zigzag course unless such irregular course is necessary for safe operation in compliance with law;
          (4) Without both hands upon the handlebars except when necessary to give the required hand and arm signals;
          (5) At a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions then existing.

2173.09 PARKING OF BICYCLE
No person shall park a bicycle upon a sidewalk in such a manner so as to unduly interfere with pedestrian traffic or upon a roadway so as to unduly interfere with vehicular traffic.

2173.10 RIDING ON SIDEWALKS (ORC 4511.711)
No person shall operate a bicycle upon a sidewalk, except for children’s non-motorized vehicles or at locations that the Columbus city council designates as shared-use paths.

2173.105 DRIVING MOTOR VEHICLES AND RIDING MOTORCYCLES ON SIDEWALKS, SHARED-USE PATHS OR BIKE LANES.
No person shall operate a motor vehicle or motorcycle upon a sidewalk or shared-use path. No person shall operate a motor vehicle or motorcycle in a bike lane except for: performing maintenance, loading or unloading, accessing on-street parking or turning right into streets or driveways at appropriate speed and distance allowance.

2173.11 IMPOUNDING
Whenever any bicycle is operated by any person, including a minor under the age of 21 years, in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter, the bicycle may be seized by any member of the Police Department and impounded for a period of time not to exceed 30 days and shall be released upon order of the Chief of Police.

2173.12 RIGHT OF WAY AT BIKE CROSSINGS
If traffic at a bike crossing is not controlled by a stop or yield sign or a traffic signal, the cyclist on the bikeway shall yield right of way to all vehicles on the road or street.

CHAPTER 571: BICYCLE REGISTRATION
There are several laws regarding registration of bicycles, bicycle licenses and transfers of ownership but they are not currently enforced. Recent attempts to locate bicycle licenses at the Columbus fire and police departments were unsuccessful.

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