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 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 Passing vehicle traveling in same direction

16 or over  To ride an ebike

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

"The definition of "Motor vehicles'' shall not include electric bicycles or motorized bicycles. In doubtful cases, the registrar may determine whether or not any particular vehicle is a motor vehicle as herein defined. If he determines that it should be so classified, he may require that it be registered under this chapter, but such determination shall not be admissible as evidence in any action at law arising out of the use or operation of such vehicle previous to such determination."

MGL c.90, §§ 1B-1E Motorized bicycles (including e-bikes): operating regulations, complying with federal safety standards, and registration sticker. §1E states : “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, 2d 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 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, 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: March 1, 2024

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