Bicyclists' Rights on the Road
Two wheels or four wheels, manpowered or engine-driven – every vehicle on the streets of Ohio must follow the rules of the road. The question that often arises is whether or not those rules vary from vehicle to vehicle, specifically between a motorist and a bicyclist. Interestingly, the answer is basically no. Everyone the road deserves the same respect, and bicyclists should ride and control their bikes as they would any other form of transportation. This means following all street signs and traffic lights, passing on the left, and so on.
To bring additional clarity to the issue, let’s consider a few circumstances that are more unique to bicycle riders and their rights on the road:
- Safe passage: Larger vehicles may only pass a bicyclist when it is safe, and granted that they provide them with enough space to avoid danger. In most cases, this means passing on the left with at least 3 feet between the car and the cyclist.
- Right-side rule: The law encourages bicyclists to stay as far to the right as is “safe and reasonable” to create an easier passing scenario for drivers. However, if you do not feel comfortable with hugging the right side of your lane, you are entirely permitted to bike right down the center as if you were in a car.
- Freeway use: There may be freeways in your area that do not permit the use of bicycles along their lanes; usually this applies to highways with controlled entrances and exits. You can check with your local department of transportation to see if a freeway in your city permits bicycle-use or not.
- Public transportation: Bicycles may be brought upon most forms of public transportation, such as buses or trains. There may be additional fares and mandatory storage racks, though.
- Sidewalks: Ohio State does permit that a bicyclist ride along sidewalks when it does not endanger anyone. Keep in mind that this is not advised outside of suburban areas, where storefront doors can swing open into the sidewalk unexpectedly.
Fair & Honest Representation When You Need It
Bicycle accidents in Ohio are all-too-common, as most drivers do not keep an eye out for vehicles smaller than another car. If you have been hurt in a bicycle accident despite your best efforts to be safe and follow the rules of the road, you may need to create a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party to win compensation for your injuries. Feel free to contact our Toledo personal injury attorneys from Williams DeClark Tuschman Co., L.P.A. today for more information. We offer no-cost, no obligation case evaluations to each client.