Is a Bicyclist a Driver or a Pedestrian?

Ever seen someone riding a bicycle on the streets and wonder if it was legal? Perhaps a bicyclist caused your car accident, riding recklessly through traffic. You are now wondering if they will be considered a vehicle or pedestrian to determine fault. The answer to this question can be complex and will depend on where you live.

If you have any questions about the law or how it will apply in your jurisdiction, you can contact an experienced, qualified attorney in your region to help you. Because laws change rapidly and local applications can vary, it is important that you only use this guide to help answer your questions. Only an attorney licensed in your region will be able to answer them.

Bicycle Rules of the Road

Bicycles are generally found in an interesting mix of law areas. While it is common to see someone riding a bike on the sidewalk, it is more unusual to see someone driving a car along the sidewalk. Some states allow local municipalities the freedom to set their own rules regarding bicycles, which makes it more difficult to determine whether a pedestrian is a vehicle. As a general rule, bicycles are considered a vehicle by many states and local governments. They are subject to the same traffic laws as cars.

In many states, bicyclists must be aware of all traffic control devices such as stop signs and traffic lights when riding a bicycle on the streets. Similar laws are being applied for bike riders, as well. Many states have laws regarding texting or talking on a cell while driving. A license plate is required in some states to allow a bicycle rider to use the roads. Operating a bicycle when you are under the influence of alcohol or other impairment may be a crime, just like driving drunk or impaired behind the wheel. In many jurisdictions, a driver’s licence is not required for operating a bike. However, one could be charged with an offense while riding a bicycle and face penalties.

Bicyclists may also be subject to laws in some states. Bicyclists must ride in public places so that they are not in danger. Bicycle helmets are required in many states. Bicyclists must use designated bike riding lanes on streets.

It is rarer that bicycle riders are considered pedestrians than any other type of vehicle. Bicyclists are not allowed to ride in crosswalks as pedestrians. In fact, it is possible for them to be considered criminals in certain jurisdictions. Bicyclists, like pedestrians, can cause car accidents that pedestrians would not be able to.

However, due to the vastly different laws in many states and even local municipalities, it is crucial to consult an experienced, qualified attorney in your area to determine if a bicyclist is a driver or pedestrian in your case.

Updated 01/18/22