Rules of the Road

Minnesota traffic rules and regulations apply to bikes so be sure to obey stoplights and street signs


A person operating a bicycle has generally the same rights and responsibilities as when he/she operates a motor vehicle. Get all the details from State of Minnesota / City of Minneapolis Rules & Regs.

General Smart Cycling Tips from the League of American Bicyclists and Safety Tips from Bike Walk Twin Cities.

Many people keep bicycling in the winter here in Minnesota. Here's some Winter Biking Tips.

Yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and when riding on the sidewalk or on trails.

Let other cyclists know when you are passing them (eg. "on your right").

Ride as close to the right-hand curb as possible (except when turning or for safety reasons).

Bicycle parking is allowed on sidewalks as long as it doesn’t block pedestrians and there are no local restrictions.

Obey all traffic signs and signals.

Use arm signals to indicate that you are turning.


When riding in the street, ride in the same direction as traffic.

When riding after dark, you must use a light on the front and back of your bike.

Short video in English, Spanish, Somali, and Hmong.

In the unfortunate incident that you are involved in a crash, here's 8 steps to take after a bicycle accident and when and how to report a bike crash.

The best way to ensure you ride is safe and enjoyable is to follow the law and some best practices for riding in the Twin Cities area.


Bikes, like cars, are vehicles and people riding bikes must follow the same traffic laws as people driving other vehicles with some exceptions. Failure to follow the law can result in a citation that may go on your driving record. Normal traffic laws apply to people riding bikes.

Same road, same rules

Bike riders must follow all normal traffic laws with some exceptions (see below).

Right to the road

Bike riders may use any lane on any street (except prohibited highways and freeways) and are not required to use bike lanes. You may use an entire lane at anytime if needed.

Go with the flow

People on bikes must travel in the same direction as traffic.

Obey stop signs and lights

Like all road users, people on bikes must stop at stop signs and obey traffic lights.

Yield to people walking

People walking and using mobility devices have the right of way;
yield to them in crosswalks, on sidewalks and shared areas.

Signal your turns

Signal lane changes and turns with your arm unless you need both arms to control your bike.


Exceptions to traffic laws
for people riding bikes

Stay to the right

When using an entire lane, ride as far to the right as is safe and comfortable
except when passing, turning, avoiding hazards, riding in a bike lane.

Use lights

A front light and rear light or rear reflector are required at night.

Riding side by side

Bikes may ride two abreast in a single lane if they do not impede normal traffic flow.

Sidewalk riding

Sidewalk riding is not allowed in business districts or where prohibited by local ordinances. When on sidewalks, yield to people walking and using mobility devices and follow all rules pertaining to sidewalk users.

One person per bike

Only one person is allowed on a bike unless specifically
equipped for more (e.g. tandem or baby seat).

Traffic lights with detectors

After waiting an unreasonable amount of time at a red light that uses a sensor that does not detect them, a bike rider may proceed through the light after yielding to all cross traffic.

Laws for motor vehicle drivers

Pass bikes at a safe distance

Motor vehicle drivers must pass bike riders at a safe distance, no less than three feet.

Don’t stop in bike lanes

Motor vehicles cannot stop or park in bike lanes.

Don’t drive in bike lanes

Motor vehicles cannot drive in bikes lanes except
when turning or parking and after yielding to bike riders.

Open doors carefully

Opening motor vehicle doors must not interfere with bike riders or other traffic.

More information

For more on Minnesota bike law, check out the Minnesota Bike Law —
FAQ section of the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota’s Minnesota Bicycling Handbook.

Best practices for best enjoyment

Ride predictably

When possible, ride in a straight line at consistent speed so other road users know where you are going.

Remain stationary while waiting at a stop sign or light.

If you are comfortable doing so, signal turns and lane changes with your arms.

Don’t ride on sidewalks Riding on sidewalks is dangerous. because sidewalks are not designed for people biking.

With the exception of young children, people on bikes should walk bikes when on sidewalks.

Warn before passing: wherever you are riding, give an audible signal (ring a bell or say “passing on your left”) before passing bikers or walkers.

Respect other trail users: be mindful of other users when biking on off-street trails or paths.

Always yield to people walking and using mobility devices and give an audible signal before passing other trail users.

Adjust your speed to trail traffic conditions.

Remember you can always pull over and walk your bike on the sidewalk if you find yourself biking on an uncomfortable or unsafe stretch of roadway.

Stop behind the crosswalk: regardless of what type of vehicle you are operating, do not stop in the crosswalk.

Experiment to find the right bike, route, speed and outfit for you. Only you can determine what works best for you. 

Enjoy the ride!

More information

Check out the Rules of the Road section of the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota’s Minnesota Bicycling Handbook for more information about riding in the street—including where you should position yourself in lanes and intersections in common scenario.