Bicycles are vehicles
Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles. According to Ohio law, cyclists are permitted to "drive" on all roads except freeways, and are subject to the same rules that apply to all drivers.
Cyclists are not motorized vehicles, however, so a few additional Ohio laws apply to the car-bicycle road relationship.
Under Ohio law, a motorist must:
- Maintain a safety zone of approximately three feet between the car and the bicycle;
- Pass a bicycle only when safe to do so;
- Leave ample room when turning right after passing a bicyclist so the bicyclist is not cut off when the motorist slows for the turn.
Ohio law stipulates that cyclists:
- Must ride on the right side of the road—in the same direction as traffic. Drivers turning right do not expect a vehicle on the left side of the road and may turn into the path of a cyclist if one is riding there.
- Can ride two abreast, and single cyclists can ride in the middle of the lane when necessary for the cyclist’s safety, although local governments can mandate single-file-only riding. (The cities of Cleveland Heights and University Heights have accepted the state law that allows cyclists to ride two abreast. Gates Mills is the only nearby community that has posted signs that “Bicycles must ride single file.”)
- Use lights at night.
- Use hand signals before turning.
Common sense dictates that bicyclists should obey the rules of the road. As it is for drivers, it's dangerous for bicyclists to talk or text on a cell phone while driving. Wearing a helmet is strongly advised, though it is not required by law.
Heights Bicycle Coalition
The Heights Bicycle Coalition was formed in the spring of 2010 and works to encourage citizens to ride their bicycle for fun, fitness and transportation.