In Pennsylvania, a bicycle is considered a vehicle, and you must obey all of the laws that apply to other vehicles. There is also a set of rules that apply specifically to bicycles. If you ride in violation of the traffic laws, you greatly increase your risk of a crash, and will likely be found at fault in the event of an accident.
You cannot have more people on the bike than the bike is designed to carry but an adult can transport a child in a secure child carrier or trailer.
- You can ride a bicycle either on the shoulder or the roadway itself, depending on traffic speed, condition of the road and other safety factors.
- Like all road users, slower vehicles should keep to the right. Bicyclists may ride in the left lane of a one-way street that has multiple lanes. However, this does not apply to freeways.
- You cannot carry any packages or other items that prevent you from keeping at least one hand on the handlebars.
- If you use your bike between sunset and sunrise, it must be equipped with a front lamp, rear and side reflectors that are visible from at least 500 feet. This is both to help other motorists see you and also to illuminate your path.
- Your bike must be equipped with brakes that will stop the bike 15 feet from an initial speed of 15 mph on dry, level pavement.
- Pedestrians have the right-of-way on sidewalks and bicycle paths. You must give an audible signal as you approach and pass a pedestrian.
- You are not permitted to ride a bicycle on a sidewalk in a business district (except where permitted by official traffic control devices), or where there is a bicycle-only lane available.
- You can park your bicycle on a sidewalk as long as it does not impede pedestrian traffic.
- You can park your bicycle at the curb or edge of the roadway where parking is allowed as long as it does not obstruct other vehicles.
- Anyone under the age of 12 must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. This applies to anyone operating the bicycle, riding as a passenger or riding in an attached restraining seat or trailer. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation strongly recommends that all bicyclists wear helmets whenever they ride.
- Bicycles are not permitted on freeways in Pennsylvania without permission of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
- All traffic signals must be obeyed in accordance with standard vehicle laws. If a traffic signal does not detect your bicycle, try positioning the bicycle directly over the saw cuts in the pavement that detect vehicles. If the signal still does not detect you, you may treat the red signal as a stop sign and proceed through the intersection after yielding to all intersecting traffic (including pedestrians).
Hand and Arm Signals
- To signal a left turn, extend the left hand and arm horizontally.
- To signal a right turn, extend the right hand and arm horizontally, or extend your left hand and arm upward.
- To signal a stop or decrease in speed, extend the left hand and arm downward.