The weather is getting beautiful in little Rhode Island, which means more bicycles are out and about. Auto-bicycle accidents are all too common in Providence and other cities. Whether you’re a driver or a bicyclist, studying up on some Rhode Island bike laws is a good idea. Here are a few key laws…
Safe Passing Law
Rhode Island requires that the driver of a motor vehicle must pass a bicyclist by driving to the left of the bicycle at a safe distance, that is sufficient to prevent contact with the person operating the bicycle if the person were to fall into the driver’s lane of traffic, and returning to the lane of travel once the motor vehicle is safely clear of the overtaken bicycle. However, a driver of a motor vehicle need not follow that requirement when:
The driver of a motor vehicle may drive to the left of the center of a roadway to pass a person operating a bicycle proceeding in the same direction only if the roadway to the left of the center is unobstructed for a sufficient distance to permit the driver to pass the person operating the bicycle safely and avoid interference with oncoming traffic.
Rhode Island requires that no person open the door of a motor vehicle on the roadways, streets, or highways of this state, available to moving traffic, unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic, including pedestrians and bicycles on sidewalks, shoulders, or bicycle lanes. In addition, no person shall leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic, including pedestrians and bicycles on sidewalks, shoulders or bicycle lanes, for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.
Rhode Island requires that any person under the age of 15 riding a bicycle, as an operator or passenger, must wear a protective bicycle helmet.
However, in no event shall failure to wear a helmet be considered as contributory or comparative negligence, nor shall the failure to wear a helmet be admissible as evidence in the trial of any civil action.
Check out the full list of bicycle laws in Rhode Island or any state at http://bikeleague.org/StateBikeLaws