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Total Traffic




Percentage of Total Traffic Fatalities


Pedalcyclist Fatalities per Million Population



Chapter  4511  of  the  Ohio  Revised  Code  contains  the  laws  that  govern  operation of vehicles on Ohio roads. Most driving laws apply to cyclists as well as motorists. There are also a few laws that apply specifically to cyclists.

This  guide  shows  excerpts  of  Ohio  Law  as  of  Jan.  1,  2011.   Check  for  any  revisions to the law at Also check local ordinances  for  bicycle  laws  specific to  your  community.  Most  common  laws  include riding on the sidewalk and helmet usage.

§4511.01 Definitions.
(A) “Vehicle” means every device, including a motorized bicycle, in, upon, or by which any person or property may be transported or drawn upon a highway, except that “vehicle” does not include any motorized wheelchair, any electric personal assistive mobility device, … or any device, other than a bicycle, that is moved by human power.
(G) “Bicycle” means every device, other than a tricycle designed solely for use as a play vehicle by a child, propelled solely by human power upon which any person may ride having two tandem wheels, or one wheel in the front and two wheels in the rear, or two wheels in the front and one wheel in the rear, any of which is more than fourteen inches in diameter.

§4511.52 Bicycles.
(A)  Sections…  of  the  Revised  Code  that  are  applicable  to  bicycles  apply  whenever a bicycle is operated upon any highway or upon any path set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.
(B)  Except  [operating  under  the  influence  of  alcohol  or  drugs],  a  bicycle  operator who violates any section of the Revised Code… applicable to bicycles may be issued a ticket, citation, or summons by a law enforcement officer for the  violation.... A  person who  commits  any  such  violation while  operating a bicycle shall not have any points assessed against the person’s driver’s license. (C) Except [violations involving alcohol or drugs], in the case of a violation… by a bicycle operator or by a… motor vehicle operator [who] endangered the lives of bicycle riders at the time of the violation, the court… may require the bicycle operator  or  motor  vehicle  operator  to  take  and  successfully  complete  a  bicycling skills course approved by the court in addition to or in lieu of any penalty otherwise prescribed by the Revised Code for that violation.

§4511.07 Local traffic regulations.
(A)(8)…  [local  authorities  may  regulate]  the  operation  of bicycles;  provided  that no such regulation shall be fundamentally inconsistent with the uniform rules of the road… and that no such regulation shall prohibit the use of bicycles on any public street or highway except [on freeways](B) No ordinance or regulation enacted under… this section shall be effective until signs giving notice of the local traffic regulations are posted...

§4511.25 Lanes of travel upon roadways of sufficient width.
(A) Upon all roadways of sufficient width, a vehicle… shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway except …
(1) When overtaking and passing another vehicle …, or when making a left turn …;
(2) When an obstruction exists making it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the  highway;  provided, any  person so  doing shall  yield the  right of  way to all vehicles traveling in the proper direction …;
(3) When driving upon a roadway divided into three or more marked lanes …; (4) When driving upon a roadway designated and posted with  signs for one‐way traffic;
(5) When otherwise directed by a police officer or traffic control device.
(B)…any  vehicle…proceeding at less  than  the  prevailing  and  lawful  speed of  traffic… shall be driven in the right‐hand lane then available for traffic, and far enough to the right to allow passing by faster vehicles if such passing is safe and reasonable, except …:
(a) When overtaking and passing another vehicle …;
(b) When preparing for a left turn;
(c) When the driver must necessarily drive in a lane other than the right‐hand lane to continue on the driver’s intended route.
(2)  Nothing  in  …  this  section  requires  a  driver  of  a  slower  vehicle  to  compromise the driver’s safety to allow overtaking by a faster vehicle.

§4511.55 Riding bicycles; motorcycles abreast.
(A) Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable obeying all traffic rules applicable to vehicles  and  exercising  due  care  when  passing  a  standing  vehicle  or  one  proceeding in the same direction.
(B) Persons riding bicycles or motorcycles upon a roadway shall ride not more than  two  abreast in a  single lane,  except on paths or  parts of  roadways  set  aside for the exclusive use of bicycles or motorcycles.
(C) This section does not require riding at the edge of the roadway when it is unreasonable or  unsafe…  [such as]  when  necessary to  avoid fixed or  moving  objects, parked or moving vehicles, surface hazards, or if it otherwise is unsafe or impracticable to do so, including if the lane is too narrow for the bicycle and an overtaking vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

§4511.27 Rules governing overtaking and passing of vehicles.
(A)(1) The  operator of a  vehicle... overtaking  another  vehicle… proceeding in  the same direction shall,… pass to the left thereof at a safe distance, and shall not  again  drive  to  the  right  side  of  the  roadway  until  safely  clear  of  the  overtaken vehicle...
(2) Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, the operator of an overtaken vehicle shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle…

§4511.36 Rules for turns at intersections.
The driver of a vehicle intending to turn at an intersection shall be governed by the following rules:
(A)  Approach  for a  right  turn  and a  right  turn  shall  be  made  as  close  as  practicable to the right‐hand curb or edge of the roadway.
(B) At any intersection where traffic is permitted to move in both directions on each  roadway entering  the  intersection, an  approach  for a left  turn  shall be  made in that portion of the right half of the roadway nearest the center line thereof  and  by  passing  to  the  right  of  such  center  line  where  it  enters  the  intersection and after entering the intersection the left turn shall be made so as to leave the intersection to the right of the center line of the roadway being entered.  Whenever  practicable the left turn  shall be  made in that  portion of  the intersection to the left of the center of the intersection…

§4511.39 Turn and stop signals.
(A) No person shall turn a vehicle… or move right or left upon a highway unless and until such person has exercised due care to ascertain that the movement can be made with reasonable safety nor without giving an appropriate signal in the manner hereinafter provided.
When required, a signal of intention to turn or move right or left shall be given continuously during  not less than  the  last  one  hundred  feet traveled by  the  vehicle … before turning, except that in the case of a person operating a bicycle, the signal shall be made not less than one time but is not required to be continuous. A bicycle operator is not required to make a signal if the bicycle is  in  a  designated  turn  lane,  and  a  signal  shall  not  be  given  when  the  operator’s hands are needed for the safe operation of the bicycle….

§4511.40 Hand and arm signals.
(A) [Hand signals shall be given with the left hand and arm as follows:]
(1) Left turn, hand and arm extended horizontally;
(2) Right turn, hand and arm extended upward;
(3) Stop or decrease speed, hand and arm extended downward.
(B) … a person operating a bicycle may give a right turn signal by extending the right hand and arm horizontally and to the right side of the bicycle.

§4511.56 Bicycle signal devices.
(A) Every bicycle when in use [between sunset and sunrise and when visibility is less than 1000 feet] shall be equipped with the following:
(1) A lamp on the front … that shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least five hundred feet to the front and three hundred feet to the sides. A generator‐powered lamp… may be used to meet this requirement.;
(2) A red reflector on the rear that shall be visible from all distances from one hundred feet to six hundred feet to the rear…;
(3) A lamp emitting either flashing or steady red light visible from a distance of five  hundred  feet  to  the  rear…  If  the  red  lamp  performs  as a  reflector… a  separate reflector is not required.
(B)  Additional  lamps  and reflectors  may be  used…  except  that red  lamps or  reflectors shall not be used on the front and white lamps and reflectors shall not be used on the rear of the bicycle.
(D) Every bicycle shall be equipped with an adequate brake….

§4511.711 Driving upon sidewalk area.
No  person  shall  drive  any  vehicle,  other  than a  bicycle,  upon a  sidewalk  or  sidewalk area except upon a permanent or duly authorized temporary driveway…  no  local  authority  may  require  that  bicycles  be  operated  on  sidewalks.

§4511.22 Slow speed.
(A) No person shall stop or operate a vehicle… at such an unreasonably slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when stopping or reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or to comply with law.
(C)  In  a  case  involving  a  violation  of  this  section,  the  trier  of  fact,  in  determining whether the vehicle was being operated at an unreasonably slow speed, shall consider the capabilities of the vehicle and its operator.

§4511.31 Establishing hazardous zones.
(B) [Prohibition of passing] does not apply when all of the following apply:
(1) The  slower vehicle is proceeding at less than  half the  speed of the  speed  limit applicable to that location.
(2) The faster vehicle is capable of overtaking and passing the slower vehicle without exceeding the speed limit.
(3) There is sufficient clear sight distance to the left of the center or center line of the roadway to meet the overtaking and passing provisions of… the Revised Code, considering the speed of the slower vehicle.

§4511.21 Speed limits ‐ assured clear distance.
(A) No person shall operate a motor vehicle … at a speed greater or less than is reasonable  or proper,…  and  no  person  shall  drive  any  motor  vehicle…  at a  greater speed than will permit the person to bring it to a stop within the assured clear distance ahead.

§4511.132  Operation  at  intersections  with  malfunctioning  traffic  control signal lights. 
(A)The  driver of a  vehicle… who  approaches an  intersection where  traffic is  controlled by traffic control signals shall do all of the following, if the signal facing the driver either exhibits no colored lights or colored lighted arrows or exhibits a combination of such lights or arrows that fails to clearly indicate the assignment of right‐of‐way:
(1)  Stop at a clearly  marked stop  line, but if none,  stop  before entering  the  crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or, if none, stop before entering the intersection;
(2) Yield the right‐of‐way to all vehicles… in the intersection or approaching on an  intersecting  road,  if  the  vehicles…  will  constitute  an  immediate  hazard  during the time the driver is moving across or within the intersection or junction of roadways;
(3) Exercise ordinary care while proceeding through the intersection.

§4511.051 Freeways ‐ prohibited acts.
(A) No person, unless otherwise directed by a police officer, shall:
(2) Occupy any space within the limits of the right‐of‐way of a freeway, with… a bicycle,

§4511.54 Prohibition against attaching bicycles and sleds to vehicles.
(A) No  person  riding  upon  any  bicycle…  shall attach  the  same or  himself to  any… vehicle while it is moving upon a roadway.



  • Bike Accident Attorneys is a fantastic law firm dedicated to cyclists! Ben Dodge will go above and beyond to make sure everything you need is taken care of. He is one of the kindest and most honest people I've ever had the honor of knowing. In addition he is a cyclist just like us and knows our mindset and needs. I highly recommend contacting Ben before you do anything else if you are in the unfortunate circumstance of needing help if something happens to you on a ride.

    Charles B. Avatar
    Charles B.

    Unfortunately 1 year ago I was in a very bad bicycle accident and also took out some of my fellow riders. Fortunately though Ben from Bike Accident Attorneys was on that same bike ride and what a blessing that was for me and those that were also involved. Him and his staff were amazing and so helpful with everything. He was a tremendous help and the greatest thing was not only was I represented professionally, but I gained a close friend and riding teammate. Thank you Ben and to your wonderful staff!

    Kristi R. Avatar
    Kristi R.

    I was referred to Ben and his firm when I was hit by a car. Before I hired him as my attorney, Ben spent an enormous amount of time with me both answering my questions, as well as making sure I was comfortable with the process, timelines, and possible outcomes. Throughout the case I was given timely status reports and updates on the discussions from both sides. Not only was the service provided top notch, but Ben himself is a pleasure to work with. If this is ever something you find yourself in need of, there is no better place to go than BAA.

    Brian S. Avatar
    Brian S.