About Public Service

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50 W. Gay Street 
Columbus, OH 43215-9005 
Office :   (614) 645-0618  
Fax :   (614) 645-7805 
Email : Contact Information

Motorists and the Law

Please click on the links below to show relevant State (Ohio Revised Code ORC) and City laws (City of Columbus Code CoCC). The citation and text of the laws will be displayed when you click.
  • Definition of a bicycle.  Under State of Ohio law and Columbus City Code, bicycles have the same right-of-way rights as motor vehicles. 
  • Definitions of “vehicle,” “bicycle” and children’s non-motorized vehicles 
  • How City of Columbus Code applies to bicycles 
  • Columbus bikeways include shared-use paths, bike lanes and bike routes 
  • By law, bicycles belong on the road
    Bicycles, as motor vehicles, must obey traffic laws
    Bicyclists should ride to the right side of the right lane
    Bicyclists should ride single file or no more than two abreast
    Circumstances for when a bicyclist may move to the center of the lane 
  • City of Columbus Children’s Bicycle Helmet requirement:  All bicycle and non-motorized vehicle (bicycles, skates, rollerblades, skateboards and scooters) riders under the age of 18 must wear a bicycle helmet  
  • Bicycle rider allowing faster vehicles to pass
    Not compromising the safety of a bicyclist related to being passed by faster vehicles
  • Prohibitions on passing a vehicle on the right side/when passing on right is allowed: 
    Drivers must audibly signal before passing another vehicle, must pass to the left at a safe distance and return to the right side when safely clear of the overtaken vehicle
    Overtaken vehicle must not increase speed until completely passed 
  • Automobiles are permitted to pass bikes in no passing/hazardous zones (solid yellow centerline) if bicyclist is going less than half the maximum speed, and there is sufficient clear space in which to do so without exceeding the speed limit 
  • Bicycle riders should ride as far to the right side of the roadway as practicable
    Bicycle riders should ride single file or no more than two-abreast
    Bicycle riders may move to the center of the lane when it is unreasonable or unsafe to ride to the right edge of the right lane
    Bicycle riders are not required to ride in bike lanes if bike lanes are on the roadway 
  • Cities, Counties, townships and villages must conform with state department of transportation manual and specifications for uniform traffic control devices, including signals and signage    
  • Bicycle riders may be issued tickets for violating traffic laws.
  • Requirements for legal and safe operation of a bicycle:  Bicyclist should not carry extra passengers unless bicycle is equipped or if child carrier or trailer is used. Bicyclist should keep at least one hand on handlebars
  • Bicycle riders are required to use legal and proper hand signals for turns and lane changes
    Bicycle hand signals are not required to be continuous
    Bicycle hand signals are not required when both hands are needed to safely control the bicycle
    Bicycle riders, when in designated left or right turn lanes, are not required to display proper hand signals   
  • Proper use of proper hand signals to signal turns and stops required 
  • Bicycle riders, except small children, are prohibited from riding on sidewalks
  • Motor vehicles and motorcycles prohibited from using sidewalks, shared-use paths or bike lanes 
  • No local government/authority can require bicycles be ridden on the sidewalk  
  • Requirements for bicycle lights, reflectors and brakes:  Bicycles should be equipped with front and rear lights from sunset to sunrise and during inclement weather. Bicycles should have adequate brakes.