Traffic Laws & Safety

The safety of bicycle riders is a responsibility shared by both cyclists and motorists. A bicyclist shares the same rights and responsibilities as a motorist (RCW 46.61.755). Bicyclists’ and motorists’ actions are more predictable and safer when everyone follows traffic laws.

Ride Safely

  • Maintain your bike. Inspect your tires, brakes, gears, chain, and lights for safe and proper function before you ride.
  • Choose your route. In roundabouts or when making a left turn,  ride in the lane like a motor vehicle or use sidewalks and crosswalks.
  • Use caution crossing tracks and grates. Approach railroad tracks at a 90-degree angle. Metal surfaces may be slick when wet.
  • Be alert. Avoid wearing headphones or using electronic devices while riding to decrease the risk of  crashes.
  • Use your head. Wear a properly fitted helmet.
Information Box of a boy and his helmet how to make sure your helmet is fit properly.

Obey all traffic laws

  • Ride in the same direction as traffic and obey all traffic laws, signals, and signs.
  • The “Safety Stop” law allows cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs when it’s safe to do so. Cyclists must stop at traffic signals, school bus stop signs, stop signs at railroad crossings, and yield to pedestrians.
  • Use hand signals before turning, changing lanes, or stopping.
  • Cyclists may ride side by side, but no more than two abreast.
  • If riding at night, a white front light visible for 500 feet and a red rear reflector are required.

To Learn More...

Visit the Cascade Bicycle Club for other useful safety tips. 

Visit the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) for a full list of Bicycle Laws.

If you are a new rider, the League of American Bicyclists provides great resources and tips.

Be Courteous on Trails

  • Keep right. Pass on the left. Follow this rule to keep people safe and extend courtesy to other trail users’ experience.
  • Communicate your approach. Ring your bell or announce “passing on your left” or another greeting to notify others of your intent to pass.
  • Adjust your speed around vulnerable users. Some trail users are unable to move swiftly out of your path. Use caution riding around young children, pedestrians, elders, and people on horseback.
  • Pets must always be under an owner’s control. Don’t let your pet become a victim or cause someone else to become one.
  • Keep our trails and our environment clean. Clean up your pet’s waste. Pack out trash when a garbage container is not available.

Tips for Motorists

  • Yield to bicycles in a bicycle lane.
  • Do not drive in a bicycle lane except crossing over when making a turn.
  • If parked on street, look before opening a car door. Your door may be in the path of a cyclist.
  • Look carefully for cyclists. Scan intersections before entering or turning and yield to bicycles as you would for any vehicle.
  • Pass a bicycle the same way you would a car, or any other vehicle, allowing at least 3 feet of space between your vehicle and others.
  • Motorists must stop for bicyclists in a crosswalk. There is a crosswalk at the intersection of any 2 streets, whether painted or not. Bicyclists should dismount if using a crosswalk to cross the street.
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