Breaking News
More () »

Cyclists, these are the laws you do and don't have to follow in DC | The Q and A

You asked and we answered. Which laws do cyclists have to follow in the district?

WASHINGTON — The introduction of dockless bikes and Capital Bikeshare has put even more wheels on the pavement, making biking an increasingly popular mode of transportation in the district. 

But while D.C. is trying to make streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians, there is still a lot of confusion about which laws bikers need to follow. Here's a breakdown of what you can and can't do in the D.C. streets.

DO obey traffic laws.

Cyclists are required to obey traffic signals, signs and other controls applicable to vehicles. Unless otherwise stated (we'll get to that), bicycles should act like all other vehicles on the road.

DON'T ride on the sidewalk in restricted areas.

Within the central business district (CBD), biking is only allowed on lands under the jurisdiction of the National Parks Service like Lafayette Park and the National Mall.

RELATED: These are DC, Maryland & Virginia's most dangerous roads for cyclists & pedestrians

DO ride in bike lanes when available.

While there are no laws in D.C. that say you are required to use the bike lanes, it is always safest to use them if you can.

DON'T park your car in bike lanes.

It's illegal to stop, stand or park in designated bike lanes. You should avoid it for safety reasons, but if that's not enough motivation, you could get a $150 ticket.

RELATED: Drivers will be charged $150 for blocking bike lanes in DC

Here's where it gets a bit confusing. 

In a crosswalk, bicyclists have the same rights and restrictions as pedestrians. It is perfectly legal for a cyclist to pass other vehicles, on the right or left, in the same lane. If a lane is occupied by stopped vehicles, a biker can still use that lane to continue in the same direction.

To be as safe as possible on the road, drivers and cyclists alike need to be aware of each other's rights. Check out the D.C. Department of Transportation and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association's pocket guides below.

Remember to watch The Q & A on WUSA9, weekdays at 7 p.m.

RELATED: Montgomery Co. Council to hold meeting on implementing 'Vision Zero'

Download the brand new WUSA9 app here

Sign up for the Get Up DC newsletter: Your forecast. Your commute. Your news.

Paid Advertisement

Before You Leave, Check This Out