Biking at Tufts: Rules of the Road

Since we will re-opening this week, we wanted to make everyone aware of the biking laws (and your rights as a cyclist) in Massachusetts.  When you ride on the road, you, as a cyclist, should be treated the same as any vehicle, and cars are obligated to share the road with you!  Massbike has a full list of rights and responsibilities for bikers.  This is a great resource to being a safe and courteous member of the road! Here are some of the main points from their list:

  • Hand signals are a must, unless there is a need to have both hands on your handlebars (braking, steering, etc.)!
  • Pedestrians always have the right of way.  When passing a pedestrian, you must give an audible signal so they know you’re coming.
  • With any accident you are involved in, you have to let the police know of any injuries and/or property damage.
  • If you are biking at night, you are required to have a headlight that emits white light visible from at least 500 feet away and a red taillight that is visible from 600 feet away.
  • You are required to wear a helmet if you are 16 or younger (but we suggest you wear one at all ages!)
  • You are allowed to pass cars on the right
  • You cannot ride on sidewalks in commercial areas

In January 2009, the Bicyclist Safety Bill was signed into law in Massachusetts, bringing additional changes to the rights of cyclists:

  • Bikes can ride two abreast, but you must allow faster cars to pass.
  • There is a fine of up to $100 to drivers who “door” bicyclists

Whenever you need to signal in order to turn or stop, use the following hand signals:

Above all else, use common sense and always remember your equal rights to the road as any motorist!


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