Bicycle law

Bicycle law

Bicycle law is a specialized field of law relating to the use of bicycles. Although bicycle law is a relatively new specialty within the law, first appearing in the late 1980s, its roots date back to the 1880s and 1890s, when cyclists were using the courts to assert a legal right to use the roads. In 1895, George B. Clementson, an American attorney, wrote The Road Rights and Liabilities of Wheelmen, the first book on bicycle law, in which he discussed the seminal cases of the 1880s and 1890s, financed by Albert Pope of Columbia Bicycles, through which cyclists gained the right to the road.


By the mid 1980s, a substantial body of law pertaining to bicycles had developed, and a few attorneys had begun specializing in bicycle law. Today, attorneys specializing in bicycle law represent professional athletes, as well as average cyclists, on issues ranging from professional contracts, to traffic accidents, to traffic tickets. In addition, attorneys specializing in bicycle law may advise cyclists on other legal issues, such as bicycle theft, insurance, harassment of cyclists, defective products law, and non-professional contractual issues.


In most cases, it is legal for cyclists to ride on roads in the United States. However, only vehicles that meet certain specifications are required to bear a license plate. This can make it very difficult to report violations of state vehicle codes to police.

In December 2007, Australia began cracking down on bicycle crimes due to deaths and injuries being caused by bicycle negligence. This is based on an incident which occurred in August 2007 when a 77 year-old man was killed by an oncoming bicyclist ignoring a red light.


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