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Have Fun But Follow Bicycling Laws in New Hampshire

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As the warmer weather sets in, many people are getting their bicycles out from the garage or basement for a long-awaited ride.  Bicycling can be a fun means of exercise and eco-friendly transportation.  Don’t let your bicycling experience be ruined by not following bicycling laws.

Here is a non-exclusive list of some laws bicyclists should be aware of in New Hampshire:

You can get a DWI on a bicycle.  Unlike other states, New Hampshire does apply the DWI/DUI laws to bicycles.  Under State law, a bicycle is considered a vehicle and our DWI statute do not differentiate between vehicles with and without motors.  Getting a DWI on a bicycle comes with severe penalties and fines, including the loss of driver’s license.

Under 16 = mandatory helmet use.  Any person operating a bicycle in New Hampshire under the age of 16 must wear a helmet that is approved by DHHS.  There are programs in New Hampshire for free or low-cost helmets that can be found at .

No hanging off cars for a boost.  Grabbing onto cars, with or without the driver’s permission, in order to receive a boost on a bicycle or skateboard is strictly prohibited in New Hampshire.  Although Marty McFly made it look easy in the movie Back to the Future, this behavior can lead to serious injuries and is barred by state statute.

No more passengers than the number of seats. Although the use of foot pegs and handlebars is a popular means by which to carry additional passengers on a bicycle around the United States, such practices are prohibited in New Hampshire.  New Hampshire strictly bars any additional passengers beyond the amount the bicycle was designed for.  Therefore, if you want to ride with one or the more passengers, you will need to buy a tandem bicycle.

You need reflective gear for night riding. Reflective apparel such as a vest, shirt or pants must be worn when riding between ½ hour before dusk until ½ hour after dawn.

You must keep your bicycle in good condition and allow it to be inspected. All bicycles must have brakes, tires, and moving parts in good condition.  If a police officer wants to inspect your bicycle, you must allow him to.

You must obey traffic laws.  Bicyclists are considered operators and therefore have to obey the same traffic rules, such as traffic light signals and road signs (ex. Slow Down, One Way, Train Crossing, etc.)  Cyclists must use hand signals if they want to turn or change lanes.  If the road has bike lanes, cyclists are required to use those lanes and to follow the same direction as motor vehicles.

You must remain to the right.  Bicyclists must remain to the right of the roadway and not impede traffic.  Limited moves toward the middle of the roadway are allowed to avoid hazards and make left-hand turns.

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident or are being prosecuted for an alleged violation of the bicycle laws, contact Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C. today at (603) 288-1403 for experienced legal assistance or fill out our contact form.