Rules of the Road for Bicyclists

Rules of the Road for Bicyclists

(Crystal A. Proxmire, June 8, 2018)

Michigan – With more and more people taking to the streets with pedal power, it’s important that bicyclists and drivers be aware of the rules of the road.  Below is a list of key rules put together by the State of Michigan specifically for law enforcement agencies as a guide for enforcing those rules.

Michigan Bicycle Laws Reference Guide for Law Enforcement Officers


“Bicycle” means a device propelled by human power upon which a person may ride, having either 2 or 3 wheels in a tandem or tricycle arrangement, all of which are over 14 inches in diameter. MCL 257.4

Rights and Duties of Bicyclists

Each person riding a bicycle upon a roadway has all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle except as to the provisions which by their nature do not have application. MCL 257.657

Civil Infractions Specific to Bikes

Signals for Stopping or Turning. The operator of a bicycle upon a highway, before stopping or turning from a direct line shall first determine that the stopping or turning can be made in safety and shall give a signal as required. MCL


Keep Right. A person operating a bicycle upon a highway or street at less than the existing speed of traffic shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except as follows:

  1. When overtaking and passing;
  2. When preparing to turn left;
  3. When conditions make the right-hand edge of the roadway unsafe or reasonably unusable by bicycles;
  4. When traffic is turning right but the individual intends to

go straight through the intersection;

  1. When riding as near the left-hand curb or edge as practicable on a one-way highway or street.

MCL 257.660a

Multiple Riders. A bicycle shall not be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed and equipped. MCL 257.658(2)

Riding while Attached to a Vehicle. A person riding upon a bicycle shall not attach the same or himself to a vehicle upon a roadway. MCL 257.659

Riding More than Two Abreast. Individuals operating bicycles upon a highway or street shall not ride more than two abreast except upon a path or portion of the highway or street set aside for the use of bicycles. MCL 257.660b

Limited Access Highways. Bicycles shall not be permitted on a limited access highway in this state except for paths designated for the exclusive use of bicycles. MCL 257.679a

Operating on Sidewalks. Unless prohibited by an official traffic control device, an individual may operate a bicycle upon a sidewalk or a pedestrian crosswalk but shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian and has all of the rights and responsibilities applicable to a pedestrian using that sidewalk or crosswalk. MCL 257.660c

Carrying Packages. A person operating a bicycle shall not carry any package, bundle, or article that prevents keeping both hands upon the handlebars. MCL 257.661

Lights and Reflectors. A bicycle being operated between

1/2 hour after sunset and 1/2 hour before sunrise shall be equipped with an appropriate white lamp on the front and a red reflector on the rear. MCL 257.662(1)

Brakes. A bicycle shall be equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement. MCL 257.662(2)

Parents or Guardians. The parent or guardian of a minor shall not authorize or knowingly permit the child to violate the laws applicable to bicycles. MCL 257.656(2)

General “Rules of the Road”

Based on the particular facts and circumstances, certain provisions of the Michigan Vehicle Code, 1949 PA 300, which set forth the “rules of the road” for vehicles in general, may by their nature be applicable to bicyclists. Such possible offenses include, but are not limited to, the following:

Fail to Yield Right-of-Way MCL 257.649

Fail to Yield-Left at Intersection MCL 257.650

Fail to Stop-Leaving Private Drive MCL 257.652

Disobey Stop, Yield, or Merge Sign MCL 257.671

Disobey Traffic Signal MCL 257.612

MCL 257.614

Careless Driving MCL 257.626b

Impeding Traffic* MCL 257.676b

*Note: A bicyclist otherwise operating lawfully at less than the existing speed of traffic that “keeps right” as required by

MCL 257.660a, is not impeding the normal flow of traffic.

This material was developed through a project funded by the

Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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