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Bicycle Regulations and Operations

This page includes basic information on the regulation of bicycles for local governments in Washington State, including information on bike safety and bike sharing, as well as examples of local regulations.


Statutes

The following are selected statutes that relate to local bicycle regulations and programs.

  • RCW 46.61.750 - .790: Rules of the Road - Operation of Nonmotorized Vehicles (Laws relating to Bicycles)
  • Ch 35.75 RCW: Streets - Paths - Bicycles
  • Model Traffic Ordinance Bicycle Provisions

Local Government Bicycle Regulations

This section includes selected bicycle regulations from local governments in Washington State. Most samples address where bicycles can be ridden, safety issues (e.g., helmet use, obeying traffic control measures), and license requirements. Some address bicycle use by children and whether, if a child violates a regulation, the parent will be held responsible.


Bicycle Parking and Storage

This section presents specific bicycle parking standards and includes some design resources that provide basic guidance in developing bicycle parking facilities.

Requirements and Standards

Design Resources


Shared Micromobility Programs

Shared micromobility programs operating in cities and towns across the U.S. let people rent a bicycle, electric assist bike (e-bike) or electric scooter to ride from one point to another. The benefits of such a program are providing cheaper and more efficient travel options to communities and bridging the gap in existing transportation programs. Some of the more established programs in the country are Denver Bcycle, Portland’s Biketown, and Capital Bikeshare in Washington, DC.

These programs are often headed up by a private operator but requires a significant amount of coordination with a local jurisdiction to work though such tricky issues as rider and pedestrian safety, program rules, parking expectations, and providing equitable services to all neighborhoods. Several jurisdictions in Washington State offer year-round or partial-year micromobility programs.

  • Seattle — The city introduced a bike-sharing system in 2014 but the program ended due to low ridership. In 2017, Seattle began using a privately run, stationless ("dockless") bike sharing program, and by 2020, the program had expanded to include electric scooters and electric-assist bikes.‚Äč
  • Redmond Bike Scooter Share — This webpage covers rules for use, how to park the bikes/scooters, and how to rent and pay for a bike/scooter.
  • Bellevue’s 2020 Shared Micromobility Permit Special Conditions — Permits will be valid from issuance through December 31, 2020. The annual lease fee will be prorated to the quarter of service launch. Applications will continue to be accepted throughout the year; instructions are included in the permit special conditions. More information on the program is available at the city’s Bike Share webpage.
  • Spokane’s Wheelshare — This website covers the city's shared mobility program, its history, and rules for renting/using the program's e-bikes and e-scooters.
    • Municipal Code Section 16A.62.035 (2019) — Requires that all shared mobility devices be equipped with a front lamp visible from a distance of 500 feet and a rear reflector visible at a distance of 600 feet, sets the minimum age for riders at 16 years or older, and removes the helmet requirement for riders 18 years or older on rented, shared-use motorized bikes or scooters (Riders on personal electronic bikes or scooters still must wear a helmet).

Recommended Resources

For more on bicycling in general, see the following.


Last Modified: September 15, 2020