Massachusetts law about bicycles

Laws, regulations, and web sources on bicycle law.

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Table of Contents

Best bet

Laws for bicyclists and motorists in the presence of bicycles: rules of the road, Chapter 4, pp. 108-112, Mass. Registry of Motor Vehicles.
Detailed summary of bicycle laws with cites to laws.

Massachusetts laws

16 or under  Must wear a helmet

MGL c. 6, § 116E Training for law enforcement in bicycle safety enforcement

MGL c. 82, §§ 35-36 Bike paths

MGL c. 85, § 11B The Primary Bike Law that regulates where and how bicycles can be ridden in the Commonwealth including required safety equipment, riding in traffic and riding on sidewalks

MGL c. 85, § 11B 3/4 Electric bicycles; rights, privileges, duties; regulations

MGL c. 85, § 11D Stores selling or renting bikes must display sign about helmet law; renters must make helmets available

MGL c. 85, § 11E Traffic law violations by bicyclist
"A police officer who observes a traffic law violation committed by a bicyclist may request the offender to state his true name and address." Ticketing procedure is same as that for motor vehicles in MGL c. 90C.

MGL c. 89, § 2 Passing vehicle traveling in same direction

MGL c. 90, § 1 Definition of Class 1 and 2 Electric bicycles and Motorized bicycle and scooters

“Electric bicycle", a bicycle or tricycle equipped with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of 750 watts or less that meets the requirements of a class 1 electric bicycle or a class 2 electric bicycle. ...

“Motorized bicycle", a pedal bicycle which has a helper motor, or a non-pedal bicycle which has a motor, with a cylinder capacity not exceeding fifty cubic centimeters, an automatic transmission, and which is capable of a maximum speed of no more than thirty miles per hour; provided, that the definition of "motorized bicycle" shall not include an electric bicycle. ...

The definition of "Motor vehicles'' shall not include electric bicycles or motorized bicycles.

MGL c. 90, § 1B Motorized bicycles; operation regulations
"A motorized bicycle shall not be operated upon any way, as defined in section one within the commonwealth by any person under sixteen years of age, nor at a speed in excess of twenty-five miles per hour. A motorized bicycle shall not be operated on any way by any person not possessing a valid driver's license or learner's permit."

MGL c. 90, § 1C Motorized bicycles and scooters; compliance with federal standards

MGL c. 90, § 1D Motorized bicycles; sales; number sticker or plate

MGL c. 90, § 1E Motorized scooters; operation regulations
“A motorized scooter shall not be operated on any way by a person not possessing a valid driver's license or learner's permit, nor at a speed in excess of 20 miles per hour.”

MGL c. 90, § 14 Precautions for safety of other travelers
"In passing a vulnerable user, the operator of a motor vehicle shall pass at a safe distance of not less than 4 feet and at a reasonable and proper speed."

MGL c. 90E Bikeways

MGL c. 266, § 41 Larceny of bicycles; second conviction

Massachusetts regulations

302 CMR 12 Rules of conduct on Department of Conservation and Recreation property

700 CMR 9 Driving on state highways
Includes provisions that apply to bicycles, such as yielding to pedestrians, and limitations on bicycle operation on certain roads.

Federal regulations

16 CFR part 1512 Consumer Product Safety Commission
Mandatory safety standard for bicycles which sets forth detailed requirements for most operating components of bicycles, including brakes, handlebars, tires and wheel assemblies, frames, and seats.

Web sources

Bike law, MassBike.
Provides a comprehensive summary of Massachusetts’ bike law that covers equipment, riding, safety standards, races, violations, and penalties.

Bikes on the T, MBTA.
Explains when and how you can bring your bike on the subway, commuter rail or bus.

Bicycle and pedestrian transportation, Mass. Dept. of Transportation.
Information on plans and initiatives supporting bicycle transportation.

Electric bikes, MassBike.
Explains the laws related to e-bikes in Massachusetts and links to pending legislation. See also their FAQ page, which answers common questions about e-bikes.

League of American Bicyclists
National organization that "represents bicyclists in the movement to create safer roads, stronger communities, and a bicycle-friendly America". Maintains collection of summaries of state bicycling laws.

Print sources

Motor vehicle law and practice, 5th ed. (Mass. practice v.11), West, 2021 with supplement. Section 11.28: Bicycles, Section 7:72. Registration and use of motorized bicycles and scooters.

Municipal law and practice, 5th ed.(Mass. practice, v.18A), West, 2006 with supplement. Section 16.17: Bicycles, a listing of all relevant general laws.

Consumer law, 4th ed. (Mass. practice v.35), West, 2021. Section 7:112 – 7:115 recreational equipment – bicycles, helmets, motorized recreational vehicles.

Contact   for Massachusetts law about bicycles

Last updated: May 31, 2024

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