City of Richmond Cycling Laws

Virginia Laws:

  • Always ride with the flow of traffic.
  • A front light and rear reflector are required after dark. On roads with posted speeds of 35 or greater a red taillight is also required. A taillight is strongly recommended any time after dark.
  • Motorists are required to allow at least three feet (3’) of clearance when passing a bicyclist, and do so at a safe speed.
  • Bicyclists may “take the lane” when appropriate; bicyclists are required to ride as far right as safely practicable, but there are five (5) exceptions that apply to most city streets. See the tips below for more details.
  • Bicyclists may ride two abreast if they are not impeding traffic.
  • A bicyclist should use the same lane as they would be if they were driving a motor vehicle. Use right and left turn lanes, and proceed straight through an intersection from a through lane, not a turn lane.
  • Riding on the sidewalk is legal, however a bicyclist must yield to pedestrians, and when crossing the street has the same rights and responsibilities as a pedestrian.
  • Always yield to pedestrians when you are obligated to (see the yielding laws below), and announce when you are passing from behind if on a sidewalk or shared use path.
  • Helmets are not required by law, but they are recommended and are cheap insurance in the event of a crash or fall.

For more information visit VDOT’s Bicycling and Walking in Virginia page.