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For safe riding, know the rules of the road

By Staff reports

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- You might not need a driver's license to ride a bike on city streets and state roads, but there are state laws and city ordinances governing operating a bicycle. Here's a condensed version of those rules:

  • Bike riders shall ride as far to the right side of the roadway as practical.
  • Bikers shall not ride more than two abreast.
  • The same traffic laws that apply to vehicles apply to bikes.
  • Riding a bike on sidewalks is prohibited. Dismounting and leading a bike is allowed on sidewalks.
  • Bicyclists must signal when stopping or changing direction unless both hands are needed on the handlebars for balance.
  • The correct signals are made with the left arm: To make a left turn, extend left arm straight out to the side. To make a right turn, bend left arm upward. To stop, extend left arm downward.

  • No bicycle shall be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed and equipped.
  • Bikers may ride only on a permanent, attached seat.
  • In West Virginia, riders age 15 and younger must wear a bike helmet.
  • Bikes must have a bell, horn or other warning device that can be heard for at least 100 feet. Sirens or whistles, however, are prohibited on bikes.
  • Bikers may sound a short warning when approaching or passing other vehicles or pedestrians.
  • No bike can proceed down a city street by inertia, or momentum, with the feet of the rider removed from the pedals.
  • Riders can't practice any trick or fancy riding in any street or take both hands off the handlebars.
  • Bicycles used at night must have a front lamp that emits a white light visible from at least 500 feet and a red reflector on the rear that can be seen from 50 to 300 feet. Lights must be on from 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise.
  • All bikes must be equipped with a brake that enables the rider to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement.
  • No rider can attach the bike or himself to any streetcar or vehicle upon a roadway.
  • No one on a bicycle shall carry any package, bundle or article that prevents the driver from keeping at least one hand upon the handlebars.

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