Bicycles and Oklahoma Law
Below, bold indicates a generalized interpretation of Oklahoma law. The appropriate Title and Section is cited in parentheses for reference of the actual law.
Italics indicate additional information or advice for safety.
Traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles. Although not defined as a vehicle, a bicyclist upon a roadway shall have all the rights and responsibilities of a vehicle operator, except when specifically regulated otherwise. Yet, some regulations may not apply to bicycles because of their nature. (Title 47 § 11-1202)
Bicyclists must obey all traffic control devices and signs, as a motor vehicle operator would. (Title 47 § 11-201) By example, bicyclists must stop at stop signs.
Local authorities may regulate the operation of bicycles in their jurisdiction. They may also require registration and licensing of bicycles. (Title 47 § 15102) By example, some sidewalks may be signed to prohibit bicycles. OU requires registration of all bicycles used on campus by faculty, staff, and students.
Local laws or ordinances may require a bicyclist to use a bike path adjacent to a roadway, instead of the roadway. (Title 47 § 11-1205)
A bicyclist upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practical. Bicyclists should use caution when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction. (Title 47 § 11-1205)
All vehicles must be driven upon the right half of the roadway except:
- When passing a vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
- When an obstruction makes it necessary to drive left of center. You must yield to vehicles traveling in their proper lane.
- Upon a roadway restricted to one-way traffic.
- Upon a roadway with more than two lanes, providing for turn movements or additional lanes of travel in the same direction.
Bicyclists should remain as far to the right as practical unless passing or turning. (Title 47 § 11-301) Bicyclists should always travel with the flow of traffic. Riding on the left is illegal and unsafe.
No vehicle may pass another vehicle on the right unless the other vehicle is making a left turn or there is a separate lane for travel in the same direction. This may be done only if there is sufficient room on the normally-traveled portion of the roadway and if such movement is safe. (Title 47 § 11-304) Pay particular attention to this law at intersections. Use the appropriate lane and don't ride beside vehicles in the same lane. Failure to do so is not only dangerous but will draw the notice of any nearby police and may be a costly mistake in any event.
A bicyclist shall not ride beside more than one other bicyclist on a roadway, except in those areas designated as exclusive for bicycle use. (Title 47 § 11-1205) Unless riding on a bike path or bike lane, signed for the exclusive use of bicycles, bicyclists should not ride more than two abreast.
Signal your intention to turn, slow, or stop. When turning, you must signal continuously at least 100 feet before the turn and while you are stopped, waiting to turn, unless use of your hand is needed to control your bicycle. (Title 47 § 11-604)
Left turn- Left hand and arm extended horizontally.
Right turn- Left hand and arm extended upward.
Stop or decrease speed- Left hand and arm extended downward.
(Title 47 § 11-606)
*In some states/areas outside Oklahoma, the straight extension of the right arm indicates a right turn for bicyclists, however it is NOT the right-turn hand signal allowed under Oklahoma law. Oklahoma’s hand signals are the same for motor-vehicles as for bicycles (and an extended right arm by a motor-vehicle driver would not be visible to following vehicles and adjacent vehicles in most cases.) We suggest using the “left-arm-up” right turn signal to avoid confusion from motor vehicle drivers who’ve only been taught that hand-signal for a right turn.
All vehicle operators should remember this and take appropriate action if a bicyclist signals with his or her right arm.
The parent or guardian of a child shall not knowingly permit a child to violate any laws while riding a bicycle. (Title 47 § 11-1201) Parents should familiarize themselves with Oklahoma law and proper bicycle safety, then teach their children.
A person riding a bicycle must ride upon, or astride, a permanent and regular seat. No more people may ride upon the bicycle than for which it is designed and equipped. (Title 47 § 11-1203)
A bicyclist shall not carry anything that prevents them from keeping at least one hand upon the handle bars. (Title 47 § 111206)
No bicyclist shall attach themselves, or the bicycle, to any other vehicle. (Title 47 § 111204) Using a motor vehicle to pull/propel a bicycle is extremely dangerous.
A bicycle used at nighttime must be equipped with a headlamp and rear red reflector. The headlamp must be visible at least five hundred feet. The rear red reflector must be visible at all points between fifty feet and three hundred feet when directly in front of the "upper" headlamps of a motor vehicle. A lamp emitting a red light may be used to supplement the rear reflector, if the light is visible a distance of five hundred feet. (Title 47 § 11-1207) Bicyclists should remember that they are hard to see at nighttime. Also consider using side reflectors and reflective clothing/accents to improve your visibility to other drivers sharing the roadway. Parents are encouraged to restrict children from riding at night.
A bicycle must be equipped with appropriate brakes. (Title 47 § 11-1207)
No vehicle may be operated below the minimum speed limit on any part of a highway with a declared minimum speed limit. (Title 47 § 11-804) The Oklahoma Department of Transportation has established a minimum speed for all controlled access facilities, such as interstates. No bicycle will be allowed to operate on these facilities unless a portion is designated and signed as a bicycle route. On such designated routes, bicycles may not be ridden on the travel lanes of the highway. The minimum speed will not apply to bicycles on a designated route.
No bicycle or man-powered vehicle may be operated on a turnpike. (Title 47 § 11-1401)
No person shall throw or drop any substance on a moving vehicle. This is a FELONY punishable by as many as ten years in prison. (Title 47 § 11-1111) Anyone throwing items at bicyclists should be reported to the police. Bicyclists should also heed this law at all times.
A bicyclist arrested for a misdemeanor violation of state traffic laws, only, shall be released by the arresting officer upon personal recognizance if the bicyclist can prove his or her identity to the satisfaction of the officer, and signs a written promise to appear as ordered. (Title 22 § 1115) Bicyclists should carry identification with them at all times. While bicyclists are not required to be licensed, they are subject to arrest and detention, and lack of proper identification immediately available can certainly lead to both.