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It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in South Carolina. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here).

This is a general overview of South Carolina’s bicycle laws. To see them in their completion, please visit South Carolina’s Department of Transportation. For any questions about this State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact South Carolina’s Bike Law Attorney Peter Wilborn directly. 

Right to the Road

Bicycles are not defined as vehicles but bicyclists generally have the same rights and duties as motor vehicle drivers.

 Where to Ride

  • Bicyclists are required to ride as far to the right of the roadway as is practicable.
  • Bicyclists may but are not required to ride on the shoulder of the roadway.
  • Bicyclists are required to use bike lanes when present.
  • Bicyclists may ride on the roadway when there is only an adjacent recreational bicycle path available instead of a bike lane.
  • Sidewalk riding is permitted except where prohibited by local ordinance. When on sidewalks, bicyclists must yield the right of way to pedestrians. Check local ordinances for variations of this rule.

HOW TO RIDE

  • Bicyclists may not ride more than two abreast, except on bike paths or parts of roadway set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.
  • Bicyclists must come to a complete stop at all stop signs and traffic lights displaying a red signal.
  • Bicyclists must signal when turning or coming to a stop.

Bicyclists Overtaking Cars

Bicyclists must exercise due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.

Cars Overtaking Bicyclists

Motor vehicle drivers must pass bicyclists at safe operating distance.

EQUIPMENT

  • At night, bicycles must be equipped with a front white light visible from 500 feet away and a red rear reflector or red light visible from 300 feet away.
  •  Every bicycle must be equipped with a brake that will make braked wheels skid on dry, level pavement.   

Prohibitions

  • A bicycle may not carry more than the number of persons for which it is designed.
  • Clinging to motor vehicles while bicycling is not permitted.
  • Bicycles must be operated with at least one hand on the handlebars.