Thursday, January 6, 2011

South Carolina Bicycling Laws

I was interested in learning about the state laws on bicycling. I found this great link that leads to a summary of South Carolina Code of Laws, dated May 12, 2009. Here's a few of the more interesting things I found:

According to State law...
  • A bicycle is a device only propelled by pedals. 
    • Where do electric bicycles fit?
  • It's legal to proceed through a red light - after coming to a full and complete stop and waiting 120 seconds (and treat the red light like a hard-core stop sign. AKA make sure there's no traffic coming!)
  • Car drivers are expected to exercise care exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or any person propelling a human-powered vehicle... bicyclists observing any child or any obviously confused, incapacitated or intoxicated person. 
    • What?! Folks, please don't Drink and Bike. No BUI's, please!
  • Only one bike rider per permantly fixed apparatus aka seat.
    • Remember riding on your neighbors handle bars? or maybe on the back axle of a bmx bike? It's illegal, according to state law.
  • Cyclist's are protected from harassment, taunting and/or maliciously thrown objects. Perpetrators can be fined or imprisoned.
  • You can't ride your bike behind a car, skater or sled, either.
  • White lights in the front and red lights in the rear are a must!
  • Cops can use bikes as part of a police patrol. The bike can have a siren!
    • Cool. I would love to see this.
  • Bicycles and baby carriages are deemed as baggage on steam trains and ferries. Apparently, just like trunks, bikes and carriages don't have to be crated, boxed, locked or protected in a certain way.
  • The state codes promote biking and walking to school safety. (Permitting of a Safe Routes to School Team.)
This is quite the list! My favorites are the fact that bicycles and baby carriages are in the category (even if it's just for shipping purposes) and that it's against the law to ride on your best friend's handle bars when you're eight years old. What are yours?

The Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin works with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and hands out these great pocket-size rule books, or copies of the Wisconsin Code of Laws pertaining cyclists. (Search for "Bike Cards" on the website.) They were always nice to have on hand if the bike cops pulled you over or ever needed a fact check on the rules and regulations of riding on the road. Are there pocket sized copies of this list available to cyclists in SC?

Knowing the rules (and your rights!) of the road is always a handy thing. Hope this guide helps!

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