Bicycle Night Riding Safety Advisory

By Kenneth J Knabe- Greater Cleveland’s Bicycle Accident & Safety Attorney representing fellow cyclists injured by unsafe drivers. 14222 Madison Avenue, Lakewood, Ohio 44107. Phone: 216 228 7200; knabe@brownandszaller.com; www.brownandszaller.com. Attorney Knabe is a fellow cyclist, local bike club member and supporter, personal injury trial lawyer and corporate sponsor and co-author of the “Bikes and the Law” section for Bikecleveland.org.

My Motto is: “Front and back lights are LEGALLY right at night!” Make sure you have illuminated front and rear lights as required by Ohio law from sunset until sunrise. Ohio Rev.Code §4511.56 (2006).

“Conspicuity” means being seen! Reflective, contrasting clothing at night are helpful for night riding cyclists that need to be seen and not hit. Whenever possible, a cyclist should try to make eye contact with the driver to make sure the driver actually sees them.

As a “vehicle,” a cyclist must obey all traffic rules applicable to vehicles. Ohio Rev. Code §§4501.01(A) (2016) and 4511.01(A) (2016). FYI: cyclists that follow traffic laws are in 75-80% fewer accidents. Also, cyclists following the traffic laws will have the right of way just like any other car or truck. A cyclist must stop at red lights and stop signs. Ohio Rev. Code §4511.43 (2004); yield to pedestrians on a sidewalk. Ohio Rev. Code §4511.441 (2004); and ride in the direction of road traffic. Ohio Rev. Code §4511.25(A) and (C) (2006).

A cyclist must ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable and exercise due care when passing. However, a cyclist is not required to ride at the right edge of the roadway when it is unreasonable or unsafe because of surface objects, hazards or if the lane is so narrow that a car cannot safely pass the cyclist. Ohio Rev. Code §4511.55(A) and (C) (2006).

Predictability is another component for keeping a cyclist safe. A cyclist should avoid weaving or sudden movements and should announce their intentions regarding movement with these mandated hand signals. Ohio Rev. Code §4511.40 (2004).

No points can be assessed to a cyclist who violates traffic laws unless the cyclist is riding under the influence. Ohio Rev. Code §4511.52 (2006). Often times, a police officer may inadvertently issue a traffic citation to a cyclist and fail to delineate it as a no point violation. Be aware of this little known law and be careful on advising waivers of traffic tickets issued to cyclists.

Ohio law does not mandate the wearing of a helmet, but some cities require helmets, especially for minors. Though it is generally legal for an adult to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet, two-thirds or more of fatally injured bicyclists were not wearing helmets

Another very good resource is The OHIO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION’ S CYCLING SMARTER GUIDE.
https://www.dot.state.oh.us/Divisions/Planning/SPR/bicycle/Documents/ODOTCy clingSmarterGuide.pdf

Top