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cnhbc, concord, new hampshire

Many cyclists do not know all of their rights.  There are important rules of the road, laws, and duties a cyclist must follow to be acting safely around vehicles. Below, is a simple guide of a bicyclist's rights, rule of the road, and motorist responsibilities. 


1. Be Aware

  • Look ahead for potholes, debris, and hazards in the road.  If there is a hazard in the bike lane, look behind for cars and shift to the left to avoid the hazard, and then return to the bike lane.  (This is only if traffic is clear and it is safe to go into the lane) 

  • Be aware of approaching cars, pedestrians, and other moving objects.  You are responsible for being alert and responsive to your surrounding. 

2. Be Seen

  • It is the law to have a white front headlight, red rear light, and one article of fluorescent clothing if you are biking a half hour before dusk or a half hour after dawn. 

  • It is always good practice to wear bright clothing to be seen by motorists.  Wearing fluorescent clothing on moving body parts also attracts more attention. 

3. Be Safe

  • Before going out on a ride make sure your bicycle's brakes are working, tires are full, and chains, cables, and steering are all operable.

NH Bicycle Laws

Bicycles are vehicles. Therefore, bicycles according to the NH Law RSA 265:143 have the same rights and duties as operators of motorized vehicles.

10 NH bike laws every bicyclist should know:

  1. Use the cycling hand signals effectively and correctly. Signal your turn early and often so that there is no misunderstanding as to when and where you are turning. 

  2. Yield the right of way to approaching traffic before entering the lane. 

  3. Stop behind the stop line at traffic lights. 

  4. Stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, pedestrians have the right of way. 

  5. Take left turns from the outermost left turn lane if there are multiple lanes. 

  6. Do not ride on sidewalks or the wrong way down one-way streets.

  7. Bicyclists must wear at least one item of reflective clothing from half an hour after dusk to half an hour before sunrise.

  8. All bicyclists under the age of 16 must wear an approved helmet. 

  9. Ride with traffic. 

  10. Bikes must be parked in high-traffic areas out of the way to not impede the flow of pedestrian paths. 

Motorists: Share the Road with Bicycles 

Every year, cyclists are involved in fatal bike accidents. Here are some tips and reminders about what to do when you approach a bicycle in your car.  

1. Passing: The rule of 3,4,5

  • When passing a bicycle you must give the cyclist at least three feet of room.  Three feet of room is needed when passing in a 30 mph zone, 4 feet is needed for passing in 40 mph zones, and 5 feet in 50 mph zones.  

2. Road Signage and Marking to Know

  • Shared lane marking indicates that a bicyclist may use the full lane. 

  • This does not need to be explicitly marked for it to be true. 

    • Bicycles may use the entire lane if it's too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to share safely (less than 14 ft wide of a road) when overtaking a car, cyclist, or pedestrian. ​


3. Help Prevent Crashes: Keep yourself and cyclists safe

  • Expect bicycles to use designated turn lanes and move from the right of the road edge to avoid hazards. 

  • Merge behind a bicycle if you are making a right turn. 

  • Yield to oncoming bicyclists when making a left turn. (Just as you would to a car, bicycles, and cars have to follow the same laws)

  • Yield signs include yielding to bicyclists.

  • Signal at least 100 ft in advance so cyclists have time to react.

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