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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ohio Bicycle Laws


The following laws which refer to drivers apply to cyclists. The following laws are a subset of the entire Ohio Revised Code traffic law available at the following website: http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4511.

4511.051 PROHIBITION AGAINST PEDESTRIANS AND SLOW-MOVING VEHICLES ON FREEWAYS
No person shall operate a bicycle within the boundary lines of a freeway except where there exists a facility that is separate from the roadway and shoulders designed and appropriately marked for bicycle use.

4511.07 LOCAL TRAFFIC REGULATIONS
Local authorities may regulate the operation of bicycles as long as such regulation is consistent with the uniform rules of the road prescribed by Ohio law and that no such regulation shall prohibit the use of bicycles on any public street or highway except as provided in ORC 4511.051. Signs giving notice of the local traffic regulations shall be posted upon the highway affected.

4511.711 DRIVING ON SIDEWALK
Ohio law allows bicycles to be driven upon sidewalks. Local authorities may prohibit but not require bicycle riding on sidewalks.

4511.12 OBEYING TRAFFIC CONTROL DEVICES
Drivers are obligated to obey all traffic control devices, including flag persons, signs, pavement markings, and signal lights.

4511.132 MALFUNCTIONING TRAFFIC SIGNALS
Drivers should treat malfunctioning traffic signals as a four way stop, exercising care while proceeding through the intersection. A malfunctioning signal exhibits no lights or fails to clearly indicate the assignment of right of way.
Position bicycle close to and inside detector wire single loop or near center wire of double loop to trigger detector. A signal detector which fails to detect a bicycle may be treated as malfunctioning. If signal fails to trigger for 3 minutes, proceed cautiously through the intersection when cross traffic is clear. Children should use pedestrian-activated signal and cross in the crosswalk as a pedestrian if signal detector fails.

4511.19 DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL OR DRUGS
Operation of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is prohibited.
This is the only violation which allows courts to assess points against a cyclist’s motor vehicle driver’s license. A cyclist should be fully in control of his/her faculties while cycling.

4511.22 SLOW SPEED
No driver may operate a vehicle at such a slow speed to impede the normal flow of traffic except when necessary for safe operation or to comply with the law. Courts must take into consideration the capabilities of the vehicle and its operator in deciding if an infraction has been committed.

4511.25 LANES OF TRAVEL UPON ROADWAYS
A vehicle is to be driven on the right side of the roadway except when:
(1)Passing another vehicle going in the same direction;
(2)Making a left turn;
(3)When an obstruction exists;
(4)When avoiding a right turn-only lane;
(5)When driving on a roadway for one-way traffic.
All of these exceptions to riding on the right side of the roadway also apply to cyclists.

4511.27 PASSING OTHER VEHICLES
Drivers must audibly signal before passing any other vehicle and then he or she may proceed to pass on the left at a safe distance and return to the right side when safely clear of the overtaken vehicle. The vehicle being passed must not increase speed until completely passed.
This law would apply to cyclists passing other cyclists (or pedestrians) on roads or bike trails.

4511.28 OVERTAKING AND PASSING ON THE RIGHT
Drivers may overtake and pass on the right of another vehicle when the vehicle being passed is making a left turn; when a clear roadway offers enough space for the overtaking vehicle to pass safely without driving off the roadway.
It is unsafe to pass traffic in your lane stopped for a red light or stop sign on the right side. Cars may be turning right, passengers may be exiting the vehicles and pedestrians may be walking in front of the vehicles. Cyclists should take their place in the line of stopped traffic. The only exception would be if all the vehicles being passed are turning left and there is sufficient space to pass on the right.

4511.31 HAZARDOUS ZONES
Allows for the crossing of a solid yellow line in instances when drivers are approaching a slower vehicle (bicycles, horse-drawn buggies, farm vehicles, etc) proceeding at less than half of the posted speed, as long as the faster vehicle is capable of passing without exceeding the speed limit and as long as there is sufficient clear space in which to do so.

4511.36 TURNING AT AN INTERSECTION
Drivers must make right turns as close to the right-hand edge of the roadway as practicable. Drivers should make left turns by merging into the left turn lane or left side of a single lane. After passing through the intersection, drivers shall commence travel in the lane closest to the right of the centerline, and then merge to the right-hand edge of the roadway. When traveling on a one-way street, a left turn must be made in the extreme left-hand lane available.
This law does not address the case of multiple left turn-only lanes. A good rule of thumb for cyclists is to choose the right-most lane which serves your destination.
Another method for turning left in heavy traffic is to stay right and cross to the opposite corner, stop the bike, turn to the left and cross again.

4511.39 TURNING AND STOP SIGNALS
Cyclists must indicate his or her intention to turn, or move left or right, by signaling at least once at least one hundred feet prior to a turn. A signal is also required when bringing a vehicle to a stop or suddenly decreasing speed. A cyclist is NOT required to signal if riding in a designated turn lane or if both hands are needed for the safe operation of the bicycle.

4511.40 HAND AND ARM SIGNALS
Left turn – Left hand and arm extended horizontally.
Right turn – Right hand and arm extended horizontally. Alternatively, left hand and arm extended upward.
Stop or decrease speed – Left hand and arm extended downward.

4511.41 RIGHT OF WAY AT INTERSECTIONS
When two vehicles coming from different directions approach an intersection at approximately the same time, the driver on the left shall yield the right of way to the vehicle on the right.
Cyclists should be very cautious of motorists who wave them through intersections. There may be other motorists who do not see the cyclist.

4511.42 RIGHT OF WAY WHEN TURNING LEFT
The driver of a vehicle attempting to turn left shall yield the right of way to a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction.

4511.431 STOPPING PRIOR TO DRIVING ONTO OR ACROSS SIDEWALK
4511.441 PEDESTRIAN RIGHT OF WAY
Drivers when entering a roadway must come to a complete stop and yield to any pedestrians on the sidewalk.

4511.46 RIGHT-OF-WAY OF PEDESTRIAN WITHIN CROSSWALK
Drivers shall yield the right of way to a pedestrian crossing a roadway within a crosswalk. Every intersection is a legal crosswalk, whether marked or not. Pedestrians have the right of way at marked and unmarked crosswalks.

4511.47 RIGHT-OF-WAY OF BLIND PERSON
Drivers shall yield the right of way to blind persons guided by a guide dog or carrying a white cane.
This law applies to ANY location, within or outside of a sidewalk or crosswalk.

4511.45 PUBLIC SAFETY VEHICLES
4511.451 FUNERAL PROCESSION
4511.75 STOPPING FOR STOPPED SCHOOL BUS
Drivers shall yield the right of way to any safety vehicles (by pulling off to the right side of the street) and to funeral processions. Drivers must stop at least 10 feet in either direction from stopped school buses displaying red and amber flashing lights and an extended stop sign.

4511.52 BICYCLES – ISSUANCE OF TICKET, POINTS NOT ASSESSED
Traffic laws applicable to bicycles apply whenever a bicycle is operated on a highway or bike path. A bicycle operator who violates any section of the traffic law may be issued a ticket by a law enforcement officer. No points can be assessed against the bicycle operator’s driver’s license except in instances of operating under the influence. When it is determined that a violation by a motor vehicle operator endangered the lives of bicycle riders, the vehicle operator (cyclist or motorist) may be required to successfully complete a bicycling skills course approved by the court.

4511.70 OPENING CAR DOOR INTO MOVING TRAFFIC
No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so, without interfering with the movement of other traffic.
This law applies to drivers and passengers of cars; bicyclists should ride defensively by staying at least 4’ left of parked cars.

4511.711 RIDING ON SIDEWALKS
Ohio law allows bicycles to be driven upon sidewalks. Local authorities may prohibit but not require bicycle riding on sidewalks.

4511.84 EARPHONES OR EARPLUGS ON OPERATOR PROHIBITED
Drivers of MOTOR VEHICLES may not wear earphones in both ears.

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