Washington Cycling Laws

Washington State Cycling Laws


In order to protect yourself and those around you, it’s important for anyone cycling in the state of Washington to be aware of and understand the state’s cycling laws. Assembled below is a condensed list of cycling laws. For a complete list see the Revised Code of Washington at leg.wa.gov.

  • Helmets: There is no Washington state cycling law requiring the use of a helmet. However, many cities and counties have a bike helmet law. See the link below for a comprehensive list of which locations require a bicycle helmet. Washington State Department of Transportation
  • Riding on Roadways: A cyclist riding on a Washington roadway has all the rights and responsibilities of any other vehicle driver. That means cyclists should uphold traffic laws and are also subject to being ticketed for traffic violations.
  • Right of Way: Cyclists must yield the right of way to pedestrians on sidewalks and crosswalks. Vehicles must yield to cyclists and pedestrians in crosswalks.
  • Children Cyclists: Parents and guardians to children cyclists are responsible for the lawful cycling of their wards.
  • Side-by-Side Riding: Cyclists are free to ride side-by-side when safe, but never any more than two-abreast.
  • Night Riding: When riding at night all bicycles must have a white light (not a reflector) on the front of the bicycle, visible up to 500 feet away. It is also necessary to have a red rear reflector.
  • Where to Ride: In the state of Washington cyclists may choose to ride on the path, bike lane, shoulder or travel lane as suits their safety needs.
  • Roads Off-Limits to Bicycles: Across Washington state, there are roads that are illegal for cyclists to travel on. For a complete list of those roads and highways visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/bike/closed.htm.

For more localized cycling laws for your city or area, contact your local authorities or check your cities government website. Remember that these Washington state cycling laws are there for your well-being and protection. Take time to review them, and make sure your cycling children understand and implement them as well.