Rules of the Road

Chicago is a great city to explore by bicycle. Whether you’re an experienced rider or new to urban cycling, here are bike laws to follow and riding tips to help you feel more comfortable and confident.

Plan a sensible route

From shared traffic lanes to car-free paths, choose a route that suits your comfort level. See the City of Chicago's bike map to find the best route where you need to go.

Do a pre-ride check

Before you start a ride: adjust the seat to a comfortable height, squeeze the brakes to make sure there’s resistance, and check the tires to make sure they’re not flat. If there’s a problem with the bike, just dock it and hit the red “wrench” button, then choose a different bike.

Wear a helmet

All Divvy riders are encouraged to wear a bike helmet. Make sure yours fits snugly, wear it level on your head, and always buckle the chin strap.

Obey traffic signals

The same laws apply to bicycles as to motor vehicles in Illinois – including obeying all traffic lights and signs.

Ride with traffic

People biking are required by law to ride in the same direction as cars. If there is no usable bike lane, ride as far to the right as possible, while staying at least 3-4 feet from the curb or parked cars.

Stay off sidewalks

People biking should ride in a bike path or on the right side of the road, leaving the sidewalk for pedestrian traffic only. Please walk your Divvy bike on the sidewalk.

Stop for people walking

Like drivers, people biking must stop for people walking when the law requires it, such as at crosswalks and intersections. If you have the light, use your bell to alert others of your presence when necessary.

Use hand signals

People biking should use hand signals to let drivers and other cyclists know where they’re going. For left turns, stick your left arm straight out. For right turns, extend your right arm straight out, or raise your left arm and bend it upward at the elbow. To stop, hold your left hand by your side pointing toward the ground.

Never ride distracted

It's illegal to talk on the phone or text while riding. Always keep at least one hand on the handlebars. Being aware and riding predictably reduces the chance of a crash.

Cycling Resources

The City of Chicago's "Complete Streets" resources provide even more information on Chicago's cycling laws, helmets and safety, as well as bike maps.