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Man, woman and child riding bicyclesThere are many reasons why people ride bicycles: to help the environment, to get some exercise, to raise money for a charity, to save money on gas and car repairs, to spend time with family and friends, or to enjoy the outdoors.  But whatever the motivation is, remember that bicyclists also have to follow state and local laws and regulations.

In honor of National Bike Month, here are a few Massachusetts laws pertaining to bicycles:

Opening Door of a Vehicle:

“No person shall open a door on a motor vehicle unless it is reasonably safe to do so without interfering with the movement of other traffic, including bicyclists and pedestrians.”  Mass. General Laws chapter 90 sec. 14

Safe Passing by a Motor Vehicle:

“If it is not possible to overtake a bicycle or other vehicle at a safe distance in the same lane, the overtaking vehicle shall use all or part of an adjacent lane if it is safe to do so or wait for a safe opportunity to overtake.”  Mass. General Laws chapter 89 sec. 2

“No person operating a vehicle that overtakes and passes a bicyclist proceeding in the same direction shall make a right turn at an intersection or driveway unless the turn can be made at a safe distance from the bicyclist at a speed that is reasonable and proper.”  Mass. General Laws chapter 90 sec. 14


“A person operating a bicycle on a sidewalk shall yield the right of way to pedestrians and give an audible signal before overtaking and passing any pedestrian.”  Mass. General Laws chap. 85 sec. 11B

Package Carrying:

“The operator shall not carry any package, bundle or article except in or on a basket, rack, trailer or device designed for such purposes.  The operator shall keep at least one hand upon the handlebars at all times.”  Mass. General Laws chapter 85 sec. 11B(6)


“Any person 16 years of age or younger operating a bicycle or carried as a passenger on a bicycle on a public way, bicycle path or on any other public right-of-way shall wear a helmet.”  Mass. General Laws chapter 85 sec. 11B(2)(iii)

Accident Reporting:

“The operator of a bicycle shall report any accident involving either personal injury or property damage in excess of one hundred dollars, or both, to the police department in the city or town where the accident occurred.”  Mass. General Laws chapter 85 sec. 11B(11)

For more information on the topic, see our Law About Bicycles.

For ideas on how to plan a bike month event, visit the League of American Bicyclists’ website.




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