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Can You Get a Speeding Ticket on A Bike? (Cycling Law Explained)

Did you know that biking too fast can lead to getting a speeding ticket? Read on to learn more about cycling laws and how to avoid speeding tickets.

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Everyone rides fast from time to time. From delivery cyclists to commuters late for work or class. But how quick is too quick? And, can you get a speeding ticket while riding a bicycle?

Yes, you can get a speeding ticket while riding your bike. Bicycles, like any other vehicle, are subject to traffic laws. You must obey all traffic laws, including the speed limit. So if you get a speeding ticket, you’re caught riding your bike faster than the posted speed limit.

Image of a police officer wearing a cycling helmet writing a citation. Source: jordan, unsplash
Image of a police officer wearing a cycling helmet writing a citation. Source: Jordan, Unsplash

In this article, you will learn what a speeding ticket is and whether you can get a speeding ticket. And do speeding tickets differ from place to place? So you can avoid unwanted police encounters.

Editor’s note: This article was updated on June 29, 2022, to include additional information about getting a speeding ticket on a bike.

Before learning if you get a speeding ticket on a bike, let’s first understand what a speeding ticket Is.

What is a speeding ticket?

A speeding ticket is a traffic violation that can result in a fine or points on your license. It is usually issued when the driver or rider exceeds the speed limit. If you are caught speeding, you must understand the ramifications of a speeding ticket. You must not only pay the ticket, but you may also face additional penalties such as having your driver’s license suspended or revoked.

Furthermore, you may face higher insurance rates and lose your driving privileges for an extended period. If you are found to be speeding, you should contact a traffic lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer can assist you in understanding your rights and options and can frequently negotiate lower fines or penalties than those proposed by the police.

Can a cyclist get a speeding ticket?

Many cyclists are unaware that they are subject to the majority of the same traffic laws as motor vehicles until they see a law enforcement officer write a ticket.

This is for the safety of cyclists and pedestrians. A cyclist or pedestrian can be seriously injured or killed in a crash related to speeding.

Similarly, claiming that “I couldn’t see whether the light was green or red, so I entered the intersection” is not a defense because you must know the color before proceeding. Remember, cyclists are subject to the same road laws and regulations as motor vehicles, so you can be ticketed for running a red light or stopping at a stop sign.

Do cyclists have to follow all of the same rules as a car?

Despite being a vehicle, cyclists benefit from slightly different rules. A car, for example, can be ticketed for driving too slowly, but a cyclist cannot. Furthermore, most places only allow bike riders to share traffic lanes if the posted speed limit is fifty miles per hour or less. It is uncommon for a cyclist to receive a traffic ticket, but it is possible if you violate the law.

How expensive is a cyclist’s speeding ticket?

A speeding ticket is typically less expensive than a driving ticket and can range from $50-$100. Depending on where you live, you may reduce it even more by taking an online bike safety course. For example, in Seattle, if you take the course and pay the reduced fee, the ticket is thrown out before it appears on your record.

4 Tips to avoid speeding tickets

Below are four things you should keep in mind to reduce the chances of getting a speeding ticket.

1. Use a speedometer

If you enjoy speed racing, you should invest in a good speedometer. Bikes frequently lack speedometers, but in areas where bicyclists are required to obey speed limits, not having a speedometer (‘sorry judge, I had no idea!’) will not be an acceptable defense because you have a responsibility to know if you’re operating within the law.

Below are some of the best-reviewed speedometers and odometers on the market.

2. Look out for signs

School zones, crosswalks around schools, small side streets, and construction zones all have lower speed limits, making it easier to exceed them. However, generally, a speed limit must be clearly posted to be enforceable in court.

That means that a sign that is obscured by an overgrown tree or has fallen could provide a cyclist or motorist with a reasonable excuse for not slowing down if they can demonstrate that the lower speed limit was not clearly marked. So if you are caught, you might be able to fight it if no sign is posted. Take plenty of photos of the surrounding area and bring them to court.

However, it would still need to be a reasonable argument because, sign or no sign, doing thirty through a construction zone is unlikely to be accepted by the judge.

Image of many traffic signs in street. Source: tim gouw, pexels
Image of many traffic signs in street. Source: Tim Gouw, Pexels

3. Watch out for school zones

A case came out in 2013 from Seattle, where several people were getting speeding tickets on their bikes for riding too fast on an avenue designated as a school zone. The speed limit in the school zone is 20 mph in this case, which would normally be difficult for many cyclists to reach, except that the avenue in question is also quite steep, making it much easier to exceed the speed limit. Bikes don’t usually come with speedometers, so cyclists coming down the hill exceeded the speed limit, and several were ticketed.

This case demonstrates the importance of understanding that school zones and other zones with changing speed limits, such as construction zones, apply to cyclists as well as motorists, and cyclists can be ticketed for exceeding the speed limit even if they were unaware of their actions.

4. Watch our for steep hills and declines

Steep hills and mountains can cause cyclists to accelerate significantly, and because they also cause vehicles to accelerate, speed traps are frequently found at the bottom. Keep an eye on your speed and slow down if you find yourself going too fast. Many cyclists have received tickets for speeding down hills or descending from a bridge. Cops might be hiding at the foot of the hill.

Do speeding tickets differ from place to place?

Cities and counties, let alone states have different policies regarding bicycles. In Seattle, not only can you get a speeding ticket, but it can also affect your auto insurance (unless you take the course and pay the reduced fine). Cyclists in California must follow the same rules as drivers of vehicles. As a result, they can be cited for things like running stop signs and red lights, driving on the wrong side of the road, and so on. And violations are recorded on their driving record, just like if they were driving a car.

New York state law explicitly states that cyclists must perform the same duties as drivers, including obeying speed limits. As a result, bicyclists in New York may receive speeding tickets under state law. Bike lanes and streets with speed limits of no more than 30 miles per hour. However, many cyclists in New York, for example, have successfully contested speeding tickets.

If you want to learn more about new york state laws, read our post on bike laws in New York City. If you’re not sure what to expect from speeding laws, check with your local laws before biking to see if you’ll be held to the same speed limit standards as cars, and if you’re not sure, always assume you will be.

Can you get a speeding ticket In the United Kingdom?

In the United Kingdom, bicyclists receive a bike-specific citation rather than a speeding ticket. There are separate tickets for careless cycling and dangerous cycling.

A ticket for careless cycling can cost up to a thousand pounds, and a ticket for dangerous cycling can cost up to 2,500 pounds.

Can you get a speeding ticket on a bicycle in Canada?

A speeding ticket on a bicycle is possible in Canada. Although the practice is uncommon, it is used on occasion, particularly when cyclists in an area behave dangerously and carelessly. This practice, like US policy, is more common in school zones and other high-risk, low-speed areas.

The law requires cyclists and other low-speed vehicles to move at a safe and reasonable speed. Most traffic tickets range between $80 and $100. In Toronto, however, exceeding the speed limit can result in a $125 fine. In addition to the fine, you may receive demerit points, which remain on your record for two years. You may lose your driver’s license if you accumulate too many demerits.

If you want even more tips, watch this video called I Got A Speeding Ticket On A Bicycle… For Jeff Bezos from the Max Fosh YouTube Channel.

A video called I Got A Speeding Ticket On A Bicycle… For Jeff Bezos from the Max Fosh YouTube Channel.
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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Do you still have questions? Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about getting a speeding ticket on a bike.

Can you be pulled over for speeding on a bicycle?

You can be pulled over for speeding while riding a bike (especially in a school zone).

Can cyclists be fined for speeding?

Yes, you can be fined with a speeding ticket! Bikes can not exceed the posted speed limit. Cyclists who fail to follow the rules of the road may be ticketed.

What types of traffic tickets can a bicyclist receive?

This is determined by how your state’s vehicle code is written. So, for example, cyclists in California receive the same tickers as a car. But in the UK, cyclists have their own class of citations. So it differs from place to place.

What are the odds of a police officer writing you a citation for speeding on a bike?

How officers treat bike speeders will vary greatly. Some cops dislike issuing speeding tickets to cyclists because they don’t want to “punish” them. Other police officers treat bikes the same way they would treat cars, and many cyclists have horror stories about dealing with their local cops. So, it’s a toss-up.

Conclusion

As you can see, it’s critical to understand your state’s biking laws. Always be aware of your surroundings and stay within the speed limits! What exactly is a bicycle ticket?

This article covered what a speeding ticket is, whether you can get a speeding ticket as a cyclist, and do speeding tickets differ from place to place? Here are some key takeaways:

Key takeaways

  • A speeding ticket is a traffic violation that can result in a fine or points on your license.
  • You must not only pay the ticket, but you may also face additional penalties.
  • Many cyclists are unaware that they are subject to the majority of the same traffic laws as motor vehicles.
  • Cities, counties, and states have different policies regarding bicycles.
  • Many cyclists in New York, for example, have successfully contested speeding tickets.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Check out for cars, pedestrians, and other cyclists and traffic signs.

So, have you ever gone a ticker on a bike? ( I have). Did we cover everything you wanted to know? Let us know in the comments section below (we read and reply to every comment). If you found this article helpful, check out our full blog for more tips and tricks on fixed-gear and single-speed bikes. Thanks for reading, and stay fixed.

Helpful resources

Image of a police officer wearing a cycling helmet writing a citation. Pinterest
Image of a police officer wearing a cycling helmet writing a citation Pinterest

1 thought on “Can You Get a Speeding Ticket on A Bike? (Cycling Law Explained)<h2 class='secondary-title'>Did you know that biking too fast can lead to getting a speeding ticket? Read on to learn more about cycling laws and how to avoid speeding tickets.</h2>”

  1. I a got ticket once for wearing headphones while riding my bike! insane right. But I get it, It’s for safety. Still, it sucked. what about you. Have you received any tickets?

    Reply

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