The Rules of the Road for Illinois Cyclists
- The traffic laws that apply to a driver of a vehicle also apply to cyclists, except where the laws by their nature can have no application to cyclists.
This means cyclists have the same rights and duties as motorists.
- If traveling below the normal speed of traffic, a cyclist must ride as close as practicable and safe to the right-hand curb or edge of the road, except:
- When passing another bike.
- When preparing for a left turn.
- When trying to avoid unsafe conditions (e.g. pedestrians, animals, debris, potholes).
- When making a right turn.
- If on a one way road, a cyclist may ride as close as practicable and safe to the left-hand curb or edge of the road.
- Cyclists may ride no more than two (2) abreast , except on paths or roads used exclusively for bikes. However, cyclists riding two (2) abreast may not impede the normal and reasonable flow of traffic and must ride within a single lane.
- Cyclists may not carry anything that prevents the use of both hands to control the bike.
- Cyclists must always keep at least one (1) hand on the handlebars.
- When ridden at night, a bike must have a lamp on the front which emits white light visible from at least 500 feet and a red reflector on the rear visible from one hundred (100) to six hundred (600) feet. A red lamp in the rear may be used in addition to a white reflector.
- All bikes must have a brake.
- If a police officer has a reasonable belief that a bike is not safe or does not have the equipment required by law, he/she may stop the rider and inspect the bike.
- A bicycle can only be occupied and/or ridden by the number of people the bike is designed to accommodate (i.e., one (1) person per seat). However, an exception exists for adults carrying a child in a pack.
- Cyclists may not cling or grab onto vehicles.
- A parent or guardian of a child can not knowingly permit a child to violate the law.
- Additionally, cities and township may have conditions that specifically apply to cyclists. For example, in the City of Chicago, ordinances provide:
- Cyclists twelve (12) years of age or older may not ride on a sidewalk unless it is a designated bicycle route and no cyclist may ride on a sidewalk in a business district.
- Cyclists may not ride on a road which has an adjacent bicycle path.
- Cyclists must ride single file except on bicycle paths or parts of the roadway specifically set aside for the exclusive use of cyclists.
*Source, Article XV, Chapter 11 of the Illinois Vehicle Code and the Chicago Municipal Code