Illinois Bicycle Laws

The roads of Illinois are filled with bicycles and eco-friendly electric bikes. But it increases the chance of accidents.  And it prompted the state to enforce Illinois bike laws.

If you’re unable to observe the laws, you’ll have to pay a hefty fine, even if you’re not aware of them. As a result, knowing the Illinois bicycle laws is essential. After all, we’d all like to have some fun riding throughout the state without having to worry about anything.

The information provided in this article is not legal advice. None of our writers are lawyers and they also do not provide legal advice. The information published in this blog is provided for entertainment and educational purposes only. We do our best to explain the rules and regulations in easy to understand language. Although we do extensive research to make sure our information is accurate and useful, our synopsis may not reflect current legal developments or address your situation. We disclaim all liability for actions you take or fail to take based on any content on this article.

New Illinois Bike Laws

Bicycle safety equipment isn’t enough to keep you safe while riding on the road.  Here, traffic rules work hand in hand to keep you safe. Illinois government believes that enforcing some of the following basic laws will help their residents to prevent serious injuries.

Status of Bicyclists

Bicyclists have full rights to travel on roadways, including right-of-way under Article IX. They’re also subject to all of the obligations that apply to a vehicle driver, with a few exemptions. [5/11-1502]

Positioning of the Lanes

When riding at a slower than typical traffic speed, stay as close to the side of the road as practicable and safe, but apart from:

  • When passing or overtaking another automobile or bicycle traveling in the same route.
  • When you attempt to create a left or right maneuver.
  • When you need to avoid obstacles that could cause your proceedings to be disrupted. It includes fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, motorized pedal cycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or roadways with insufficient width.
  • When approaching an approved turning spot on a one-way roadway with two or more marked traffic lanes. [5/11-1505]

Shoulder Riding

Bicycles are not authorized to ride on the shoulder. [5/11-709.1]

Related reading: Can A Bicycle Get A Speeding Ticket?

Turning Left

A bicyclist may attempt to pass a pedestrian on the left. If you attempt to turn left like an automobile in that situation, you should first drive to the corner of a single lane before approaching your target intersection.

If you want to make a pedestrian-style left turn, get to the intersection and wait for traffic to flow into your new channel. Blend in with the crowd while adhering to all driving laws and regulations.  [5/11-1510] [5/11-801] [5/11-1510]

Side-by-Side Riding

As long as traffic is not disrupted, you can experience riding alongside another vehicle. It is, however, inapplicable for any integer greater than two.

This can be an exception if the path or street is dedicated to cyclists. [5/11-1505.1]

Arm Signals

When it’s time to take your turn, offer the following signals from the left side:

  • Extend your left arm horizontally for a left turn.
  • Either extend your right arm horizontally or upward for a right turn.
  • You must extend your arm downward to halt or reduce speed.

Before attempting, make a signal from within 100 feet. Furthermore, if both hands are required to manage the bike, it is not necessary to continuously wave signs. [5/11-806] [5/11-1511]

“Dead Red” Spotlight

This is one of the few Illinois bike laws that do not subset the city of Chicago. It is permissible under this regulation if one fails to perceive a red signal and proceeds forward.

However, keep in mind that this event only applies for 120 seconds and is subject to the laws that apply after stopping at a stop sign. [5/11-306(c)3.5]

Illinois Bike Helmet Laws

A bicycle ride can be more secured if it involves wearing a helmet. A recent report by the Illinois Department of Transportation published that there were 2,696 people injured in the state just when riding a bicycle.

Of course, this emphasizes the need of wearing a helmet. Let’s take a look at what the Illinois cycling law says about it.

The state of Illinois does not have helmet legislation that applies to all of its communities. Some cities, on the other hand, place a strong emphasis on wearing one. In Chicago, for example, bicycle riders are required to wear helmets.

Even if it isn’t prohibited, it is nevertheless strongly advised for your own protection.

Illinois Electric Bike Laws

The state of Illinois has mandated that an electric bike must have a motor that produces less than 750W. If they meet the following criteria, they are classified as electric bikes:

  • It is made up of a pedal-assist-only motor that comes to a halt if the speed surpasses 20 miles per hour.
  • It is made up of a motor that can only be utilized to propel the bike. Similarly, if the speed exceeds 20 mph, it should come to a halt.
  • It is made up of a motor that supports the user in accelerating the bicycle while pedaling. It will come to a halt when the user stops pedaling or the bike reaches a speed of more than 28 mph.

Road Restrictions by Illinois Bike Laws

Electric bikes of all types are prohibited from riding on sidewalks. They can, however, ride on designated bike paths and lanes. They can also ride in the right lane on highways.

Related reading: Idaho Bicycle Laws

Chicago Bike Laws

You might be curious if Chicago has its own bike law, given that not all of Illinois bicycle laws apply to the city. In reality, both Illinois and Chicago are bound by the same rules as everyone else on the road.

Of course, some people will continue to break traffic laws. However, if you follow traffic rules as closely as possible, you will be prioritized first in the event of an accident.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there any age limit for riding electric bikes in Illinois?

Anyone between the age of 16 and above is permitted to ride an electric bike. A person under this age is only permitted to travel as a passenger.

Do you need any license for electric bikes according to Illinois bike laws?

Yes, your electric bike has to have a license in Illinois to be on the road.

Is it illegal to ride a bike on the sidewalk in Illinois?

Bicycling on the sidewalk is legal in Illinois. It implies you can ride your bike on either side of the road. However, many city rules make riding a bike on the sidewalk illegal. This leads us to the following point.

Bicyclists are typically treated as drivers under Illinois law. However, it is referenced in the Illinois Vehicle Code that you can ride on the sidewalk as long as you follow all traffic laws. Unfortunately, many people are opposed to it, implying prohibitions in some areas.


We tried to provide as much relevant information while being precise so that you are not misled by verbose and ambiguous ones. Of course, abiding by these rules will keep you out of trouble. If you’re looking for a bike ride in Illinois, the Illinois Bicycle Laws are essential to observe.

Related Posts


    1. Thank you for the heads up, Bill! Sometimes it is a challenge to keep up with the correct terminology for a non-native English speaker like me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *