It’s that time of year again, when our eco-friendly, fresh air-loving, cost-conscious friends hit the streets on their self-propelled personal transportation devices, commonly known as the bicycle. Biking is a terrific low-impact cardiovascular work-out, it helps decrease the number of cars on the road, the cost of gas is $0 for a bicycle, and some cyclists are even able to get around their communities faster because they can avoid the traffic and use bicycle paths. However, there are rules for riding one of these full-body convertible machines on the road, and they are not that different from the rules for driving a car.
Here are 8 Indiana bicycle laws you should be aware of:
- Every person riding the bicycle must have a properly attached seat and not be carrying anything that prevents them from keeping both hands on the handlebars. This also means no texting, shaving or eating while riding a bike. (Indiana Codes 9-21-11-3 and 9-21-11-7)
- Anyone riding on a roadway or bike path after sunset and before sunrise must have a white light that can be seen 500 feet in front of them, and a red light or reflector that can be seen 500 feet behind them. These items can usually be found at your local bike shop or sporting goods store. (Indiana Code 9-21-11-9)
- No cyclists may ever attach themselves or their bike to a motorized street car or vehicle. This may look like fun to some people, but it’s extremely dangerous and illegal. (Indiana Code 9-21-11-5)
- This next rule is somewhat unknown, but very important. Every bicycle must have brakes that are able to make the tires skid on dry, clean, level pavement. If your bicycle needs new brake pads, they are also usually available at your local bike shop or sporting goods store. (Indiana Code 9-21-11-10)
- Another fairly unknown rule is that every bicycle must be equipped with an audible device, such as a bell, that can be heard 100 feet away. While this rule does not seem to be strictly enforced, it is always important for cyclists to warn people near them that they are approaching in order to prevent serious injury to themselves and others. Cyclists may not use sirens or whistles as their audible device. (Indiana Code 9-21-11-8)
- Everyone riding a bicycle on the roadway must use the proper hand and arm signals to indicate when they are changing lanes or turning. These signals can be found in the Indiana Driver’s Manual. (Indiana Code 9-21-8-28)
- When riding with friends on a roadway, there can be no more than 2 bikes riding side-by-side. (Indiana Code 9-21-11-6)
- While drinking and biking may seem safer because the cyclist is not driving a half-ton, all-metal, motorized wrecking ball, the legal blood alcohol (B.A.C.) limit while riding a bike is the same as if driving a car, .08. (Indiana Code 9-30-5-1)
When driving your car this summer, always keep a lookout for cyclists on the road, and remember, they aren’t spending a penny on gas!
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Photo: A. Streeter via flickr and Creative Commons.