Bikes are cool. Missouri is a cool place to ride a bike too. But you have to know the rules to ride safely and comfortably, with minimum risk of accidents and penalties. We reviewed and summarized Missouri bike laws just for you, so read on if you are interested.
Where do the laws allow to ride a bike in Missouri?
The most important thing is to know the legal places to ride. Riding on illegal roads does not only increase the risk of an accident but might also bring you a penalty.
First, let’s talk about the roads. Bicyclists can ride on all roads and streets, except interstates. The speed there is just too great, and they are too dangerous for cyclists. When riding on a road, ride in the same direction as other traffic and stay on the right side. You can use road shoulders too. Two cyclists can ride side by side, as long as they do not obstruct the way for other traffic.
You can also ride bikes on sidewalks, except in business districts. Missouri bike laws strictly prohibit riding on sidewalks in business districts. Otherwise, you can use sidewalks but remember that pedestrians have the right of way. Before overtaking them on sidewalks, give a signal. You can’t ride motorized bicycles (similar to mopeds) on the sidewalk, though.
Missouri laws when riding bikes in the dark
If you plan to ride in the dark (30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes to sunset), there are more rules to minimize the risk of accidents. The bike must have:
- A lamp in the front (installed or carried by the cyclist) with a white light that is visible from 500 feet away;
- A red reflector in the rear that is visible from 600 feet away;
- Reflective material or lights on moving parts of the bicyclist, such as lower legs, visible from 200 feet away from the rear and the front;
- And reflective material or lights on the sides vehicle or the bicyclist, visible at 300 ft.
This equipment should make other drivers see you in the dark. Of course, you must follow general safety rules too, just like during the day.
Required bike equipment
To legally ride on public roads, the bike must have certain equipment. Brakes are the most important. You must be able to stop within 25 feet when riding at a speed of 10mph. There is also the equipment you need at night, which we already covered.
What about helmets? The state itself does not say anything about helmets, but different Missouri counties have different rules. In most municipalities of St. Louis County, bicyclists under 17 need to wear helmets. Some even require everyone to wear helmets. Columbia and St. Charles municipalities require cyclists under 16 to wear helmets.
Following the rules for motor vehicles
Bicyclists are not exempt from traffic rules. Just like motor vehicles, they have to follow all the traffic rules applicable. So, do not forget to stop at a red light, do not ride drunk, signal turns with your hand or mechanical devices. Be especially careful when making a left turn. If the road has two lanes, move to the second lane to make a left turn. Still, try to stay to the right side of this lane too.
If you do not obey traffic rules or bike laws, you can get a fine. If you are under 17, the bike might also be impounded for up to 5 days. Also, if a car hits you when you are not abiding by one of the laws, you will likely be partially at fault and might not recover damages.
Also, be careful when riding. We do not recommend listening to music or looking at your cellphone when on a bike. Such things distract you, and you might not notice an obstacle, crash, and put at risk not only yourself but also others.
Hopefully, you have a better idea about Missouri bike laws now and will be able to ride safely. You may want to have a copy of the bike laws on you all the time: it is useful to check it from time to time or show it to other people in case of an argument. You can download a convenient copy for print here.
Perhaps you are planning to travel in Missouri? Check out the best Missouri road trips ideas.