Massachusetts Bicycle Law

Cyclists’ rights and responsibilities, from the Massachusetts Bicycle Law of 2008

*Cyclists have the right to use all Massachusetts public ways except limited access or express state highways and where signs specifically prohibit bicycles.
*Cyclists shall be subject to the traffic laws and regulations of Massachusetts Bicycles shall not be required to be registered.
*Cyclists must signal turns, but such signals shall not be required to be made continuously nor when the use of both hands is necessary for the safe operation of the bicycle.
*Bicyclists may ride 2 abreast sharing a single lane, but must facilitate traffic.
*Cyclists may ride to the right of vehicular traffic.
*Cyclists are required to give their name and address to a police officer who observes a traffic law violation.
*The violation shall not affect the status of the bicyclist’s license to operate a motor vehicle or status in the safe driver insurance plan.
*A headlight and red taillight or reflector are required when riding after sunset.
*Bicycles may be ridden on sidewalks outside business areas unless prohibited by local ordinance.
*Cyclists must yield the right of way to pedestrians and give an audible signal before overtaking pedestrians

Below:  Motorist and municipal responsibilities to cyclists, Massachusetts law as amended 2008

*When overtaking a cyclist, drivers vehicle shall use all or part of an adjacent lane or must wait for a safe opportunity to overtake the cyclist.
*In approaching or passing a person on a bicycle the operator of a motor vehicle shall slow down and pass at a safe distance and at a reasonable and proper speed.
*Drivers overtaking a bicyclist proceeding in the same direction may not make a right turn unless it can be made at a safe distance and speed.
*No person operating a vehicle that overtakes and passes a bicyclist proceeding in the same direction shall make a right turn at an intersection or driveway unless the turn can be made at a safe distance from the bicyclist at a speed that is reasonable and proper.
*When turning to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road or driveway an operator shall yield the right of way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction, including a bicycle on the right of the other approaching vehicles, which is within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.
*No person shall open a door on a motor vehicle unless it is reasonably safe to do so without interfering with the movement of other traffic, including bicyclists and pedestrians. Whoever violates the preceding sentence shall be punished by a fine of not more than $100
*It shall not be a defense for a motorist causing an accident with a bicycle that the bicycle was to the right of vehicular traffic.
*Municipal law officers shall be trained in bicycle safety, the rights and duties of bicyclists, and motorist responsibilities toward cyclists.

For more about the new Massachusetts bicycle laws, visit the Mass Bike website .

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