While driving in Missouri, it is not uncommon to drive past a cyclist on a trail, neighborhood sidewalk or bike lanes on the road. However, many cyclists do not understand what they can or cannot do on major roads. Cyclists who do not follow Missouri’s bicycling laws may be involved in an arrest or a bike accident causing serious injuries that may be devastating to their lives and families.
No matter what goals your bicycle helps you achieve, here is an overview of Missouri laws to provide awareness and help prevent a bike accident on our roadways.
A Bicyclist’s Rules of the Road
According to the Missouri Driver Guide, cyclists are required to follow the same traffic laws as any other motor vehicle, including riding with the flow of traffic and stopping at stop signs and lights. However, there are also specific rules bicyclists must follow to avoid a serious bike accident. These rules of the road are:
- Using proper hand signals to turn right or left;
- Riding near to right side of the road if going below the speed limit;
- Not using sidewalks in a Missouri business district;
- Not riding alongside major highways; and
- Outfitting your bicycle with the proper equipment to avoid injury and allow drivers to see you.
While every Missouri city and county has its own traffic laws, there are multiple pieces of equipment every bike needs to have in Missouri to ensure the cyclist is protected and a motor vehicle driver can see them on the road. If a cyclist does not ride with these essential equipment pieces on their bike, they may not have a viable personal injury case if they are seriously injured.
During the day, a bicycle must have a brake or brakes that enable a rider to stop their bicycle from a speed of 10 miles per hour on dry, level and clean pavement within 25 feet of another motor vehicle, bike or other object. This means a rider must check their brakes and tire treads frequently to keep themselves and others safe. If their brakes are not in proper working order, it may lead to a serious accident from slipping on a turn or hitting a car from not being able to adequately stop in time.
Riding Your Bicycle at Night
Night riding may provide a bicyclist with a cooler experience to ride, but proper precautions need to be taken to keep the rider safe. All bicycles are required by Missouri law to have the following pieces of equipment to avoid a night bike accident:
- A white light mounted to the front of the bicycle or carried by a bicyclist on their helmet that is visible at 500 feet.
- A rear-facing red reflector of at least two square inches or a red light visible at 600 feet.
- Reflectors or reflective stickers on wheels, pedals and bicyclist shoes that may be seen at 200 feet.
- Reflective material on the sides of the bicycle or bicyclist that may be seen at 300 feet.
Missouri Helmet Laws
A helmet is a rider’s greatest source of protection from a catastrophic head injury, especially if they are riding on or near roads frequented by motor vehicles. While Missouri law does not require a helmet, many St. Louis counties and cities have specific helmet requirements depending on the age or location of the rider.
For example, Grant’s Trail crosses into multiple cities and municipalities across St. Louis County, which has a helmet law for ages 1 to 16. However, if you are riding the trail in the Grantwood Village area, all ages must wear helmets.
Share our Missouri Roads
Following our state laws is the first step to keeping yourself and others safe from a bike accident. With your vigilance and patience, you have the ability to make our roads safer for drivers and bicyclists alike.
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