Massachusetts law about bicycles

A compilation of laws, regulations, and web sources on bicycle law.

Table of Contents

Best bet

Laws for bicyclists and motorists in the presence of bicycles: rules of the road, Chapter 4, pp. 108-112, 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 Electronic bicycles

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

MGL c.85 § 11E Cyclist stopped for a traffic law must give his name and address; ticketing procedure is same as that for motor vehicles in MGL c.90C.

MGL c.89 § 2 Rules for car passing bicycle

MGL c.90 § 1B-1E Motorized bicycles (including e-bikes): operating regulations, complying with federal safety standards, and registration sticker.

Over 16 To ride an ebike

MGL c.90 § 14 Rules for cars sharing the road with bicycles and others

MGL c.90E Bikeways

MGL c.266 § 41 Larceny of bicycles, 2d conviction

Massachusetts regulations

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

720 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

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 ebikes in Massachusetts and links to pending legislation.

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.

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.


Last updated: September 23, 2022