Passing laws: Ohio follows general traffic rules and accordingly in the event a motor vehicle passes a bicycle or vice versa, it shall leave a safe distance.
Helmet law: Ohio does not require the operator or passenger of a bicycle to wear a helmet.
Laws to Protect the Bicyclist: There are certain laws entitled “vulnerable user laws.” These laws, in essence, require the vehicle least at risk to yield to the vehicle most at risk. For example, a motor vehicle would have to yield to a bicycle and a bicycle would have to yield to a pedestrian. Ohio does not have any specific vulnerable law
Distracted Driving Laws: Ohio has the following laws enacted in an attempt to reduce distracted driving:
- The operator of a motor vehicle shall not use a mobile communications device while driving a motor vehicle to compose, read, or send an electronic message; and
- A driver with a temporary instruction permit under the age of 18 years or the holder of a probationary driver’s license may not operate an electronic communication device to talk, compose, read, or send an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle that is in motion.
Lane Position Laws for a Bicyclist: Generally speaking Ohio law requires bicyclists to be as close to the right hand edge of the road as possible. Except under the following circumstances:
- If is is unsafe to do so; and
- If the lane is too narrow to ride safely side by side with a motor vehicle.
Sidewalk Riding: Ohio prohibits the operation of a bicycle upon a sidewalk. It is important to note that Ohio does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.
Riding a Bike under the Influence: In Ohio, bicycles are defined as vehicles. Ohio’s law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to vehicles and therefore does apply to bicyclists.
Stop Sign Laws: Ohio bicycles have to follow the same rules as motor vehicles regarding the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and Ohio does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.
Important Resources and Links
Ohio Dept. of Transportation Guide to Bicycle Riding (good tips and instruction)