Weird Cycling Laws From Around The World

Weird Cycling Laws From Around The World

Traveling by bicycle, whether it be for commuting, exercise, tourism, is becoming more and more popular. When you choose to get around on a bike, it’s important to be aware of the laws governments have in place regarding cyclists. Many laws regarding bicyclists are put in place to keep traffic moving smoothly and cyclists safe. 

These crazy cycling laws, however, may not be quite as useful.

9 Crazy Cycling Laws From Around the World

1. Missouri, USA: bicyclists must have a 15-foot flag.

In 2016, Republican representative Jay Houghton of Missouri’s District 43 proposed a bill requiring bicyclists to attach a 15-foot tall fluorescent orange flag to their bicycle. For reference, a flag of this height would be taller than an 18-wheeler. While the proposal aimed to increase cyclist safety by improving visibility, trying to handle a bike in a crosswind with a parachute-like flag attached would be difficult and downright dangerous. What was Houghton thinking?

2. California, USA: No riding a bicycle in a pool

This may come as a surprise to many Californians, but bicycles are not allowed in swimming pools. While you may be wondering why anyone would try to pedal in a water-filled pool, the law actually dates back to the 70s. During this time, many young cyclists and skate-boarders would break into swimming pools, in fall and winter when the pools were drained, to use them for trick riding. This law was passed to make it illegal for the youngsters to turn their neighbors’ empty swimming pools into skateparks.

3. United Kingdom: No “fast and furious” cycling.

In the United Kingdom, cyclists can actually be fined for speeding. At first, we thought, surely a cyclist cannot break the speed limit? It turns out that in the UK, you can. While cyclists may not be breaking any speed limits set for motorized vehicles, they are capable of traveling at dangerous speeds. Especially when cycling through parks, cyclists are to remain under 20 miles per hour. These rules are meant to keep other cyclists and nearby pedestrians safe.

4. Thailand: No cycling without a shirt.

If you’re planning to visit Thailand, be prepared to remain clothed while cycling. Though the country gets awfully hot, it is a punishable offense to ride a bicycle (or drive a vehicle) without a shirt on. Violation of the law results in a 200 baht fine, but it only translates to about $5 USD.

5. Texas, USA: No bicycles in public buildings.

This one may not seem like a big deal, but if you’ve ever used a bicycle as a means of transportation you know that a rainstorm can really put a damper on your plans. In Dallas, Texas, no matter how bad the weather gets outside, it is illegal to bring your bicycle into a “public building.” The law reads “no person shall carry, push, propel or ride and assembled or operable bicycle in any public building in the city.” That’s it. The law fails to describe what they mean by public building. Do they mean any building the public has access to? City-owned buildings? What about environmentally-minded city employees who don’t want to get their bikes stolen while they work?

It seems this law needs some clarification and rethinking.

6. Arizona, USA: No gargling while riding a bicycle.

Someone must have really enjoyed that minty-clean feeling while cycling. In Peridot, Arizona gargling or using mouthwash while operating a bicycle is indeed illegal. I doubt the dentists in town approve.

7. South Dakota: Cyclists must dismount each time a vehicle passes.

A ludicrous law in South Dakota states that cyclists must dismount from their bikes and allow faster vehicles to pass. Since pretty much all vehicles are faster than a bicycle, this means every time a vehicle passes a cyclist must dismount from their bike until the vehicle has gotten in front of them. While proposed laws like this rarely pass into legislation, the anti-cycling sentiment they express should make us all more aware of the need to lobby for cyclists lest we lose access to our favorite activity.

8. New South Wales, Australia: Every bicycle must have a bell.

Don’t get caught cycling in New South Wales without a bell. Bells are an effective tool to alert pedestrians of your incoming on a bicycle but are much less useful when it comes to vehicles. Regardless of what avenues you are cycling, bring your bell along anyway; getting caught without one will cost you about $80 USD.

9. Illinois, USA:  No “fancy” riding

In Galesburg, Illinois, the Code of Ordinances denounces any “fancy riding” including removing both hands from the handlebars, both feet from the pedals, or any acrobatic riding of any kind on any street. They didn’t mention sidewalks though…

Here are some other weird cycling laws:

  • Colorado, USA: Cyclists must have one hand on the handlebars at all times.
  • Connecticut, USA: Cyclists may not travel above 65 miles per hour.
  • Bellingham, Washington, USA: No cycling with a slingshot in your pocket (unless you have a permit!)
  • Newport, Vermont, USA: no married men may go bicycle riding alone on a Sunday. (Married women can.)
  • Ticaboo, Utah, USA: No eating onions while cycling from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Forestdale, Rhode Island, USA: No riding a bicycle within 4 hours of eating garlic.
  • Rogersville, Alabama, USA: No woman wearing a nightgown may ride a bicycle.
  • Ottumwa, Iowa, USA: No man may wink at a woman while riding a bicycle.
  • Lugert, Oklahoma, USA: No man with a mustache may ride a bike with a female.
  • Ogallala, Nebraska: No single, widowed, or divorced woman may ride a bike on a Sunday.
  • Constantia, New York, USA: NO woman may be given coffee on a bicycle past 6 p.m.
  • Rapid City, South Dakota, USA: No kissing on a bicycle for longer than 3 minutes.
  • Williston, North Dakota, USA: No “laughing out loud” on a bicycle.
  • Wheeler, Mississippi, USA: No eating unshelled roasted peanuts while riding a bike.
  • Woodbridge, Virginia, USA: No reading the Sunday paper on a bike while church services are in session.
  • Washington, North Carolina, USA: No reading comic books while riding a bicycle.
  • Richfield, Minnesota, USA: No sneezing while riding a bicycle.

Do you have any loony local bicycle laws where you live? Let us know in the comments below!

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