This is a collection of links to Municipal Code of Chicago regulations regarding bicycling, and driving behaviors that impact bicyclists.

I am not a lawyer and take no risk or offer any assurances for the reader’s interpretation of anything communicated in this article. Conclusions listed below are my own summaries and/or intepretations of each regulation.

9-16-020 Turning at intersections.

Conclusion: It is illegal for a car to turn right in front of a bicycle, and drivers are supposed to yield to bikes if a left hand-turn against an oncoming bike could cause a hazard

9-36-010 Overtaking on the left.

Conclusion: Cars must give bicyclists 3 feet of space when passing

9-40-060 Driving, standing or parking on bicycle paths or lanes prohibited.

Conclusion: A bus can park in the bike lane during normal loading/unloading or if there are extenuating circumstances, but no other vehicle can. Vehicles cannot in any way impede bikes in designated lanes. They cannot stand or park or drive through bike lanes. If they do so they are subject to a fine and immediate towing

See also a special notice from the City of Chicago as well as official media from IDOT regarding enforcement of regulation 9-40-060.

9-40-160 Drivers to exercise due care.

Conclusion: Drivers should be as cautious with bicyclists and drive as defensively as they would with pedestrians

9-52-020 Riding bicycles on sidewalks and certain roadways.

Conclusion: Bicyclists can ride on the sidewalk in a business district (who knows what that is?!) if the sidewalk is designated for cycling, or to get to/from bike stations (Divvy), to enter/exit the road or an intersection, to enter/exit trails. Kids under 12 can ride on the sidewalk any time

9-52-030 Speed of bicycles.

Conclusion: Regulations around speed are ambiguous

9-52-040 Yielding right-of-way.

Conclusion: Bikes can ride on either side of multi-lane one-way roads. Bikes can pass on the right or left. Bikes should generally stay as right as possible, but nothing prescribes that a bicycle must be in the bike lane. There are times when it is perfectly acceptable to not be as far to the right as possible. Yield to pedestrians!

9-52-045 Bicycle operator’s signals – Hand and arm – Manner.

Conclusion: A bicyclist may use either hand to signal a turn

9-52-070 Parking.

Conclusion: It is legal to park a bike against a sign pole or parking meter

9-52-080 Headlamps, reflectors and brakes.

Conclusion: Headlamps are required at night as well as rear red reflectors or a rear red light. At least one wheel brake is required

9-80-035 Opening and closing vehicle doors.

Conclusion: Drivers are legally at fault for doorings and accidents resulting from opening their door into traffic. Drivers cannot leave their doors open into traffic for an excessive/dangerous length of time

Additional Resources

See also a Traffic Enforcement for Bicyclist Safety - Chicago Police video made by the Chicago Police Department highlighting traffic violations that can endanger bicycle safety.

“Bikes do belong on the road

“It is illegal to turn right in front of a bicyclist … the same goes for making a left turn in front of a bicyclist”

“Caution costs just a few seconds”

“Motorists must leave at least 3 feet of space between their vehicle and a bike”

“Before opening the door of a car drivers have an obligation to check for traffic coming from behind. Especially bikes”

“Drivers who use bike lanes to get through traffic should be cited”

“Bicyclists must drive in the same direction as cars”

“It is illegal to drive in a bike lane”