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Goldberg & Weigand, LLP
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Cape Cod Personal Injury Blog

Bicycles are on the road!

What to know to keep everybody safe, whether you're on one or sharing the road with them...

It's summertime, and bicycles are on the road! Bicyclists have the right to use public roads in Massachusetts except express state highways or any roadways where signs prohibiting bicycles are posted.   When riding a bicycle on a public way, you must obey the same basic traffic laws and regulations that apply to motor vehicle drivers, but there are some additional safety guidelines:

  • Keep to the right when passing a motor vehicle moving in your travel lane.
  • Use hand signals to indicate your intent to turn, or come to a complete stop before turning.
  • It's OK to ride on a sidewalk for safety outside of business districts, unless prohibited locally.
  • Yield to pedestrians and give them an audible signal before overtaking or passing.
  • Wear an approved bicycle helmet on a public way or bike path if you are under 16 years of age, and it must be secured to YOUR head.
  • From sunset to sunrise, make sure to have a reflector on each pedal or your ankles, or have reflective material on your clothing or your bike.
  • Report any crash involving personal injury and any crash involving property damage of more than $100 to local police.

If you're operating a motor vehicle in the presence of one or more bicyclists, please keep in mind the following rules of the road in Massachusetts:

  • Bicyclists do NOT always have to signal a turn, if both hands are needed for safe operation of the bike.
  • When you move to the left to pass a bicyclist, don't return to the right until you have completely passed the bike by a safe margin.
  • When passing a bike near where you want to turn right, make sure you're far enough past the bike to make the turn safely, or wait patiently until it has passed.
  • When turning left at an intersection or into a driveway or parking lot, you MUST yield right of way to a bicycle approaching from the opposite direction, if it's close enough to be a hazard.
  • Don't open your car door without checking behind you first.
  • Remember that bicycles are allowed to pass on your right, so check your passenger side mirror and your blind spot when you're sharing the road with bicyclists.

Common sense and patience can prevent many accidents between bicyclists and motor vehicles.  Now that the warm weather is here, take extra care the next time you're on the road.

For more information on the rules of the road in Massachusetts, visit the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles website:

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