DEAR SHERIFF: With the weather improving and bicyclists riding the roadways and trails, can you summarize the Indiana bicycling laws?
ANSWER: With Elkhart County being a great place for bicycling, this is the time of the year to be aware of bicyclists, both children and adults, who may be traveling with the motoring public. Indiana code 9-21-11 contains bicycling regulations which are intended to keep the bicyclist and motoring public safe as they interact.
Essentially, a person riding a bicycle upon a roadway has all the rights and duties applicable to a person who drives a vehicle, except for special regulations noted below and those by their nature which have no application. That includes obeying all applicable traffic control devices, including traffic signals and stop signs. The bicyclist should always ride on the right side, with traffic, unless on a marked bicycle path. Keep in mind that most city ordinances restrict bicycle use on a sidewalk, unless otherwise noted as a bicycle path.
Regarding the general operation, a person riding a bicycle upon a roadway may not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles. A bicyclist may not carry any item that prevents them from keeping both hands upon the handlebars nor are they allowed to attach the bicycle to a moving vehicle.
A bicycle may not be used to carry more people at one time than the number for which the bicycle is designed and equipped. A bicyclist may not ride other than upon the permanent and regular seat attached to the bicycle; or carry any other person upon the bicycle who is not seated upon an attached and regular seat on the bicycle. A person may not ride upon a bicycle unless seated. So much for the circus acts performed by young children in a typical neighborhood!