Bicycling Safety & Rules of the Road


Ride Illinois bicycle safety Quiz

One for Children. One for Adults. One for Motorist  



Rules of the Road for Bicyclists

Bicycle Safety Equipment

Always wear an approved safety helmet while riding your bicycle. Doing so will insure that your head and brain will be protected from serious injury in case of an accident.

  • Your bicycle should have the following safety equipment:
    • Front lights for night riding (must be visible from at least 500 ft away)
    • Clear front reflector
    • Red rear reflector (must be visible from 100 to 600 ft)
    • A horn or bell (that could be heard from up to 100 ft away)
    • Reliable and properly adjusted brakes
    • Wheel-mounted side reflectors
    • Reflector pedals
    • Gears that are adjusted and operate smoothly
    • Properly adjusted seat
    • Handlebars and all accessories securely attached to bicycle.


Bicyclists Should Obey All Laws and Signals of the Roads

Bicyclists must obey the same traffic law signs and signals that apply to motorists because you are on Illinois roadways

  • Bicyclists must ride in the same direction as the traffic of cars/trucks. It is both against the law and very dangerous to ride in the opposite direction of traffic.
  • Allow yourself at least 3 feet of space between yourself and motorists when passing


Obey Rules of Riding on Sidewalk

Obey all pedestrian signs and signals when walking or riding your bicycle on a sidewalk or along a crosswalk

  • Pedestrians have the right-of-way on a sidewalk or crosswalk, therefore bicyclists must yield to them and slow down or go around when possible
  • When passing or approaching a pedestrian from behind, slow down and give some sort of signal to alert the pedestrian


Understand and Obey Pavement Markings

Pavement markings are there to regulate traffic as well as warn and direct drivers and cyclists on the road

  • White Stop Line: shows where you must stop for a traffic light or stop sign
  • Pedestrian Crosswalks: intersections may have white lines to show pedestrians their path of way (pedestrians have the right-of-way on crosswalks)
  • Center Lines: A double yellow center stripe indicates that there is more than one lane of traffic moving in both directions. Crossing the line is prohibited -except to turn out of or into a driveway or alley. White dashes mark the lane separations on either side o the double yellow stripe. You should ride on the right side of the right lane, except to pass or to make a left turn. A broken yellow line is present when there is only one lane for traffic in each direction. Passing is permitted in this case.


Directions and Arrows

Some busy streets have lanes with arrows pointing to a certain direction painted in the pavement. Some may say, “left only” or “right only” or some may have an arrow pointing straight ahead. Bicyclists should follow the direction of the arrows painted on the lane you are on.


Right-of-Way Laws

Right-of-Way means that one person has the right to go ahead of another person.  This applies to bicycle riders, motorists as well as pedestrians. When the other party do not follow the rule, you should let them have the right-of-way anyways to avoid the risk of an accident.

  • Two-way Intersections – when approaching a stop sign on a two-way intersection, you must yield the right-of- way to pedestrians and vehicles on the cross street
  • Four-way Intersections – when approaching a stop sign on a four-way intersection, you must yield the right-of-way to the vehicle or bicycle rider who arrived first/before you. Take turns and go one after another after coming to a stop. You may proceed only when it is clear and safe to do so.
  • Unmarked Intersections – intersections or crossings that are unmarked have no traffic signs or signals. The driver or bicycle rider on the left must yield to those on the right. When driving out of an alley or driveway, you must stop and yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and vehicles crossing before you proceed.
  • Emergency Vehicles- emergency vehicles with flashing lights and sirens sounding off always have the right-of-way. By law, you must pull over to the side of the road and stop in order to clear the way for the emergency vehicle to pass.
  • Disabled Persons – blind, hearing-impaired or physically disabled persons always have the right-of-way.  These people can usually be identified by their white canes or their support/guide dogs.
  • Police- riders and pedestrians must obey the officer’s directions. Right-of-way laws do not apply, unless a police officer directs otherwise.


Safety Tips for Bicycle Riders

    • Make sure your bike is equipped for safety and is working properly
    • Keep both hands on the handlebars
    • Ride single file
    • Always ride one to a bike (have another person makes the bike harder to balance and a passenger may obstruct your view)
    • Ride as close to the right edge of the road as practical
    • Ride in the same direction as other traffic (not against traffic)
    • Slow down at intersections and crosswalks
    • Avoid riding at night time (if riding at night, be sure to have visible light and reflectors)