Bicycle riding

Learn the bicycle riding laws and guidelines.

Being predictable is safe and easy. It’s also the law.

Bicycling is an easy and efficient way to get around our city. You may be one of the thousands of people who do so each day. Bicycling has many benefits. It also comes with as much responsibility as walking down the street or driving a car. When riding your bicycle, it's important to be predictable and follow traffic laws. Disregarding traffic laws is illegal and unsafe.

One in three bicycle crashes in Minneapolis involve a bicyclist

  • Riding against traffic
  • Failing to yield
  • Running a red light

Bicycle riding laws and rules

Bicycle riding laws

Bicycle traffic laws and exceptions 

Sidewalk riding rules

Equipment rules

Bicycle riding rules

Bicyclists must

  • Ride with traffic, not against it. Travel with the flow of traffic (unless otherwise signed). (MN State Statutes 169.18 and 169.222)
  • Stop at all stoplights and stop signs (MN State Statutes 169.06 and 169.222)
  • Use a light when riding at night (MN State Statute 169.222)
  • Yield right-of-way to pedestrians in crosswalks (Minn. Stat. § 169.21 Subd. 2)
  • Use all lanes and facilities correctly

Normal traffic laws and exceptions

Travel close to the right edge of the road

Bicyclists must travel as close as practicable—not as close as possible—to the right edge of the road.

They must do this except when:

  • overtaking or passing another vehicle moving in the same direction
  • preparing for a left turn
  • reasonably necessary to avoid vehicles, narrow lane widths or other hazards that make it unsafe to continue alone the right edge
  • riding in a bicycle lane

Two bikes can ride side by side

Bicyclists may ride alongside each other in a single travel lane. That is, if they do not impede normal and reasonable movement of traffic.

Signal turns and lane changes

Bicyclists must signal turns and lane changes unless both arms are needed to control the bicycle.

When it's okay to ride through a red light

A small number of traffic lights require the presence of a car to change to a green light.

Bicyclists may proceed through a red light they believe is not responding to them only if all the following criteria are met:

  • The bicyclist has come to a complete stop
  • The traffic signal stays red for an unreasonable amount of time
  • The bicyclist believes the signal is malfunctioning or needs to be triggered by an automobile to turn green
  • There is no cross traffic.

See Minn. Stat. § 169.06 Subd. 9

Sidewalk riding rules

When riding on sidewalks

Bicyclists must:

  • Yield to pedestrians
  • Give an audible signal when passing if necessary
  • Approach intersections slowly and safely

Where you cannot ride on the sidewalk

Riding a bicycle on the sidewalk is banned in the following places:

  • Businesses districts in Minneapolis 
    • This includes areas of downtown and uptown
  • The University of Minnesota campus

See Minneapolis Ordinance § 490.140

Bicycle lights and equipment rules

Bicycle equipment rules

Lights

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

One person per bike

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

Brakes

Bicycles must be equipped with a rear brake that enables the braked wheel to skid on dry, level pavement. A fixed-gear bicycle that can make the rear wheel skid on dry, level pavement is compliant with this requirement.

Helmets are optional

Bicyclists are not required to wear a helmet in Minnesota. We do recommend wearing a helmet when riding a bike.

Understand bike lane markings

Know the road and the laws of the City's bike lanes.

Contact us

Chris Kartheiser

Bike and Pedestrian Coordinator Interim

Public Works - Transportation Planning & Programming 

Phone

612-673-2544

Office hours

8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Monday – Friday