Are Bicycles Allowed On Highways – Bicycles In Motion

Are Bicycles Allowed On Highways

Are Bicycles Allowed On Highways

Keeping up with the speed of traffic or reacting to it is difficult for a slow-moving bike, so highway cycling is a bad idea. Most cars on the highway are traveling 65 to 85 miles per hour, while a typical bicyclist is only doing around twelve mph. Are bicycles allowed on highways?

Bicycles aren’t allowed on highways in 32 US states and many foreign countries. Even though a bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle and has all of the privileges, rights and responsibilities on public roads as a motor vehicle, they are prohibited on expressways. Each state enforces their own regulations because there is no federal law prohibiting riding a bicycle on a freeway.

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Can Bikes Go On Highways

In more than half the US states, a non-motorized bicycle is banned from highway travel. However, some bikes can go on highways.

If you live in one of the nearly 20 states that allow limited or full highway access, you can ride there. Plus, class one and two motorized bicycles have special permission in many areas.

What Bikes Are Highway Legal

Street legal dirt bikes and mopeds are allowed on US highways. These are the type of ‘bikes’ with brake lights and license plates.

However, most non-motorized bicycles exist in a grey area because they are sometimes permitted to travel on the highways, but only in a few states.

More importantly, bikes should only travel on interstates with specific signage indicating they have that right.

Naturally, if you live in an area that allows highway riding, then any bicycle legal for use on public property can be ridden on the highway.

That means most bikes are fine unless they have highly specific circumstances.

For example, some states forbid riding any bicycle without a seat on public roads, so a seatless bicycle wouldn’t be allowed on the highway either.

Can You Bike On US Highways

Most US states prohibit bicycle riding on interstate highways. However, eighteen of the fifty states do permit bikes, though several discourage the practice.

Below I’ve listed the states that allow a cyclist on the highway and the type of permission bikes have there. Bikes can only access the interstate anywhere else if an exception is in effect.

List Of States Allowing Bicycles Highway Access

StateHighway Access Permission Type
AlaskaAllowed if no suitable alternate route is available
ArizonaAllowed if no suitable alternate route is available
CaliforniaAllowed if no suitable alternate route is available
ColoradoAllowed if no suitable alternate route is available
District of ColumbiaDiscouraged
IdahoUnrestricted bike access on all interstate highways
MissouriDiscouraged
MontanaUnrestricted bike access on all interstate highways
NevadaAllowed if no suitable alternate route is available
New MexicoAllowed if no suitable alternate route is available
North DakotaUnrestricted bike access on all interstate highways
OklahomaDiscouraged
OregonAllowed unless specifically prohibited
PennsylvaniaAllowed if no suitable alternate route is available
South DakotaUnrestricted bike access on all interstate highways
TexasDiscouraged
UtahAllowed if no suitable alternate route is available
WashingtonAllowed unless specifically prohibited
WyomingUnrestricted bike access on all interstate highways

Can You Ride A Bike On The Freeway In California

You can ride a bike on the freeway in California, but only in some areas. Anywhere there’s access to a reasonable alternate route, cyclists are expected to take it.

Most major metropolitan areas have a frontage road, or other parallel streets offer bicyclists more accessible riding options.

It helps decongest the famously clogged highways, especially in southern California.

Can You Ride A Bike On The Highway In Texas

Texas State reserves the right to prohibit bicycles on highways, but there are no laws against it as far as I could discover.

In general, bikes on the interstates are frowned upon. It’s always a wise plan to check with local law enforcement, a lawyer, or a copy of the traffic laws to ensure there are no recent changes before you plan a highway ride.

According to a Bicycle Forums contributor, “You can ride Interstate 10 through Texas. You’ll miss the mountains, the canyons, the Hill Country, the forests of maples and pines, numerous historic sites – pretty much every reason to tour the southern half of the state, but you can ride the interstate.”

Are Bicycles Allowed On Highways In Canada

In Canada, bicycles are allowed on all the highways except for freeways. Freeways are specifically for fast-moving motorized traffic.

Canadian freeways use onramps and are found primarily in large urban areas where traffic would become unnecessarily congested without additional specialized roads for daily commuting traffic.

Can You Cycle On Highways Singapore

A bicycle cannot legally travel down an expressway or road tunnel in Singapore. Since expressways are equivalent to (some) highways, it’s safe to say no.

You cannot cycle on the highways in Singapore. Moreover, there is no indication that the laws will change any time soon.

Are Bicycles Allowed On Highways In India

Both bicycles and three-wheeled trikes are banned from the highways in India. Regrettably, the police are understaffed, and the population in India is massive.

As a result, there are plenty of bikes on the highway, and they have a higher than usual death rate.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is responsible for the ban. Unfortunately, the law is ineffective, with no significant ability to enforce it.

Still, I don’t recommend riding a bicycle on an Indian highway, both for your safety and as a practical common-sense choice for any non-citizen.

Facing foreign courts is expensive if you have to extend your trip.

Are Bikes Allowed On Highways Philippines

Bikes might occasionally be allowed on highways in the Philippines, but it’s generally forbidden or frowned upon heavily.

Until 2020 there were no unified bicycle laws proposed, but that changed recently.

According to the Manilla Times, “The proposed measure, House Bill 8156, filed on December 7, seeks to provide a framework for a bicycle law on a national level…”

There are bicycle only-lanes now, and cars are forbidden to travel within them. However, I could not find any allusions to bikes getting permission for highway travel, so it’s best to assume you can’t ride there for now.

Helpful Tips To Know About If Bicycles Are Allowed On Highways

When in doubt, always assume that you should not ride your bike on the highway. It’s better to take the longer route than risk a ticket or accident.

Here are more helpful tips to know about if bicycles are allowed on highways.

  • Even in areas where it’s allowed, highway riding is riskier than standard city streets because these roads were specifically built to handle excess, high-speed motorized traffic. Unless you are both highly experienced and willing to take the risk, it’s best to avoid cycling on the highway.
  • Not all countries have highways. For example, Chad has only paved about 0.8% of the roads overall.
  • There is one universal exception to the no-bikes-on-highways laws. If you are only crossing a highway at an intersection, your bicycle is allowed on the interstate for as long as that takes. Furthermore, in most places, if you live directly adjacent to a highway and have no other street access, then you might be allowed to use the road only as long as it takes to reach a turn-off for a non-highway street.

Final Thoughts

There are relatively few areas that allow bicycles on highways. Although a bike is a vehicle for most purposes in traffic, some unique laws only apply to non-motorized bicycles.

Most foreign countries that have highways also ban cyclists, though the extent to which they obey the laws varies.

I recommend avoiding interstate riding for purely practical reasons because your chances of a fatal accident are substantially higher.

However, you can still technically ride on the interstate in eighteen states if you choose to do so.

Brian Smith

Brian is the founder of Bicycles In Motion and an avid cyclist for 17 years. On the weekends, he enjoys exploring new bike trails and countryside roads to enjoy the outdoors.

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