Biking Safety

Kent State Biking Rules

Policy Register reGarding biking

5 - 12.901

Operational procedure regarding the use of skateboards, rollerblades, bicycles, and similar conveyances on campus

  1. Purpose. Those commuting within Kent state university, in order to provide a safer environment for inner-campus commuting, are required to abide by the following.
  2. Scope of authority. Facility curators and other university officials have authority to enforce this rule within campus buildings.
  3. Prohibitions.
    1. No person shall operate a skateboard, rollerblades or a bicycle on a sidewalk or walkway that duly interferes with pedestrian traffic; caution is to be exercised at all times and the right of way yielded to pedestrians.
    2. No person shall operate a skateboard, rollerblade, bicycle or motorized vehicle on any artificial or specially prepared surface including but not limited to tennis courts, running tracks and basketball courts.
  4. Bicycle operations.
    1. Bicycle operators are expected to adhere to all posted warning, caution, or speed limit signs.
    2. In the absence of posted speed limits, bicycle operators are expected to act in a responsible manner and in respect of local conditions.
    3. Bicycles are to be secured only to the racks provided; bicycles may not be secured to trees, light poles, posts, handrails, or buildings.
    4. In residence halls, bicycles may be kept in authorized storage areas; and in student rooms with the approval of all occupants of the room.
  5. Student center plaza. Through traffic is permitted for bicycles and rollerblades in the student center plaza. Skateboards are not permitted on the plaza.
  6. Motorized vehicles.
    1. Only university authorized motorized vehicles, other than wheelchairs, may be operated on sidewalks.
    2. Mopeds or other gas powered conveyances may not be brought into residence halls.

Policy Effective Date: 

Mar. 01, 2015

Policy Prior Effective Dates: 

10/28/1994, 12/5/1994, 4/20/1995, 10/3/2005, 6/1/2007

State Biking Laws

Safe Passing Laws

Ohio requires that the operator of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle shall pass to the left at a safe distance and specifies that when a motor vehicle overtakes and passes a bicycle, 3 feet or greater is considered a safe passing distance.

Source: Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §4511.27

Helmet Law

Ohio has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

Source: N/A

Share the Road license plates

Ohio, in conjunction with the Ohio Bicycle Federation, offers Share the Road license plates. For more information on such plates please visit the State of Ohio BMV site.

Source: Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §4503.521

Vulnerable Road User Laws

Ohio does not have any vulnerable road user laws at this time. There are currently no national standards for laws protecting vulnerable road users, but the League of American Bicyclists has drafted a Model Vulnerable Road User statute, which you can find here.

Source: N/A

Distracted Driving Laws

Ohio currently has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:

  • No person shall drive a motor vehicle, trackless trolley, or streetcar on any street, highway, or property open to the public for vehicular traffic while using a handheld electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication; and
  • No holder of a temporary instruction permit who has not attained the age of eighteen years and no holder of a probationary driver's license shall drive a motor vehicle on any street, highway, or property used by the public for purposes of vehicular traffic or parking while using in any manner an electronic wireless communications device.

Source: Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§4511.204; 4511.205

Where to Ride

Ohio requires that a bicyclist ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable obeying all traffic rules applicable to vehicles and exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.

However, a bicyclist is not required to ride at the edge of the roadway when it is unreasonable or unsafe to do so. Conditions that may require riding away from the edge of the roadway include including a lane that is too narrow for the bicycle and an overtaking vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

Source: Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §4511.55

Sidewalk Riding

Ohio provides that no person shall drive any vehicle, other than a bicycle, upon a sidewalk or sidewalk area except upon a permanent or duly authorized temporary driveway.

Source: Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §4511.711

Mandatory Use of Separated Facilities

Ohio does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Source: N/A

Bicycling Under the Influence

In Ohio, bicycles are defined as vehicles. Ohio's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to all vehicles and therefore applies to bicyclists. Bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and operating a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances may result in severe punishments.

Source: Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§4511.19; 4511.01

"Idaho Stop" and Vehicle Detection Errors

Ohio does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.

Source: N/A

Authorization for Local Regulation of bicycles

Ohio provides that its state traffic laws do not prevent local authorities from, with respect to streets and highways under their jurisdiction and within the reasonable exercise of the police power, regulating the operation of bicycles; provided that no regulation shall be fundamentally inconsistent with the state traffic laws and that no regulation shall prohibit the use of bicycles on any roadway except as otherwise allowed. No local authority may require that bicycles be operated on sidewalks.

Source: Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§4511.07; 4511.711

Dooring law

Ohio requires that no person open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic. In addition, no person shall leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.

Source: Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §4511.70(C).

Treatment as a Vehicle

In Ohio bicycles are vehicles according to the statutes that define what a vehicle is. Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway must obey all traffic rules applicable to vehicles.


Source: Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§4501.01(A); 4511.01(A); 4511.55(A)

Source of Laws

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Ohio are generally found in Title 45 of the Ohio Revised Code (Ohio Rev. Code Ann.), available here  

Other Resources

The following resources may be useful:

City of Kent Biking Laws

Follow State laws

373.10 SKATEBOARD OR OTHER WHEELED DEVICES ON SIDEWALK. (a) No person shall operate any skateboard or other wheeled device any of which are designed as a toy or for amusement of the rider, upon a sidewalk within a business district or upon a sidewalk where signs are erected prohibiting such operation. Bicycles are permitted on sidewalks within a business district and the use of which are regulated under the applicable sections of this code. No person shall operate a bicycle, skateboard or other wheeled device as described above, on any sidewalk in a reckless manner which endangers pedestrian users of the sidewalk. No person under fourteen years of age shall ride upon the street when sidewalks are available, outside a business district or upon a sidewalk where signs are erected prohibiting such operation. (Ord. 1987-24. Passed 3-18-87.) (b) Whoever violates any provision of this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor on a first offense; on a second offense within one year after the first offense, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree; on each subsequent offense within one year after the first offense, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree.

Reporting Biking Accidents

What Do I Do After an Accident?

  1. Think Safety First
    • If the accident is minor, move your vehicles/bikes and yourself out of traffic to a safe place.
    • Do you have warning devices, cones, lights, etc.? Consider deploying them to alert others.
    • Try to remain calm and be polite.
  2. Get Help
    • Check for injuries; call 911. The 911 dispatcher will send medical assistance.
    • The 911 dispatcher needs to know:
      • Where you are; if you are on a trail, where is the closest road? A familiar landmark? etc.  How can safety services find you?
      • The nature of your call, and the severity of injuries or other risks and hazards on the scene.
      • Who is present at the accident scene.
    • The 911 dispatcher will also send police, even if the accident is minor. A police report is invaluable in processing an insurance claim and assist in obtaining compensation for injuries or damage.
  3. Collect Information
    • Gather information from others involved in the accident.
    • Obtain names and contact information of those involved as well as witnesses.
    • Vehicle descriptions (make, model, year).
    • Driver's license numbers - License plate numbers.
    • Insurance companies and policy numbers.
    • Police officer's name and unit number, and incident report number if available.
    • Take photos of all vehicles involved and the accident scene, if it is safe to do so.
Traffic Skills 101 (FREE!) Course
Bike Registration

For students that live on campus, University Housing's Office of Safety and Security offers a bicycle registration process. If you are bringing a bicycle to campus, we highly encourage you to register your bike, which will help us and the Kent State University Police Department identify your bike if it goes missing. To register your bike, stop by our office in the Tri-Towers Rotunda anytime beginning move-in week, and a Safety Assistant will assist.   You can also call the office at 330-672-7004.