PENNSYLVANIA BICYCLE LAWS
For any questions about the State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact attorney Joey Piscitello directly.
Right to the Road
- Pennsylvania bicyclists generally have the same rights, and same duties, as drivers of motor vehicles.
- Bicycles may only carry the number of persons for which it is designed, except an adult may carry a child in a back pack or sling.
- There is a statewide requirement of helmet use for children under 12 years old.
- Pennsylvania’s DUI statute applies to bicyclists.
Where to Ride
- Bicycles are to ride as close as practicable and safe to the right side of the roadway except when overtaking another bicyclist, when preparing to make a left turn, when necessary to avoid a fixed or slow moving object or vehicle or when riding in a substandard width lane.
- On one-way roads and roads with one lane in each direction, bicycles may ride in the middle of the lane.
- Sidewalk riding is generally permitted but bicyclists riding on a sidewalk must yield the right of way to pedestrians and must give an audible signal before passing.
- Many municipalities, however, ban sidewalk riding for persons 12 or 13 years of age and older.
Motor Vehicle Doors
- No person may open the door of a motor vehicle unless it is safe to do so.
Bike Lanes, Bike Paths and Multi-Use Paths
- Pennsylvania bicyclists are not required to ride in or upon bike lanes or paths.
- To turn left bicyclists may perform a “box turn” or use the left turn lane.
- A bicyclist turning left must yield the right of way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction.
Stop Signs and Traffic Control Devices
- Bicyclists are required to come to a full and complete stop at all stop signs and traffic lights displaying a red signal.
- Statewide, bicyclists may proceed through a red signal with caution if the traffic signal’s detection system does not recognize it.
- Bicyclists must use hand/arm signals when turning and stopping.
Drivers Overtaking Bicyclists
- Motor vehicle drivers must allow at least 4 feet of space when passing a bicyclist.
- A driver may not drive recklessly near or drive unnecessarily close to a bicyclist.
- A driver turning right must yield to the right of way of a bicyclist proceeding straight.
Bicycles Passing on the Right
- Bicyclists may pass motor vehicles on the right if it is reasonably safe to do so.
- Bicyclists may not ride more than 2 abreast and may not impede motor vehicle traffic but if riding on a bicycle path or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles, riders are permitted to ride more than 2 abreast.
- Every bicycle must equipped with a white front facing headlight, and a red rear reflector or light, visible from at least 500 feet when used at nighttime. Every bicycle must also have amber reflectors on both sides of the bike.
- Every bicycle shall be equipped with a brake which will adequately control movement of and stop and hold such bicycle.
- Headphones and earbuds are prohibited from being worn by bicyclists.
Electric Assist Bikes
- E-bikes are defined as bicycles that have a motor that is no bigger than 750 watts and has a top speed of 20 mph or less.
- A rider must be at least 16 years of age to ride an e-bike.