Missouri's Bicycle and Pedestrian Laws

 

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Missouri Law Summaries
You may copy, print, distribute, and otherwise use all of the below summaries freely and without restriction:
  • Text of Missouri bicycle laws--print, cut in half, fold, and you have a   small copy of the full text of Missouri bicycle-related laws. Many bicyclists carry a copy at all times. It useful for showing police and other officials--or even handing out to motorists or other bicyclists.
  • Text of Missouri pedestrian laws--print, cut in half, fold, and you have a small copy of the full text of Missouri laws relating to pedestrians.
  • Pedestrian Tips/Pedestrian Laws--safety tips for motorists and pedestrians, and the text of Missouri laws relating to pedestrians.
  • Bicycle Tips/Bicycle Laws--safety tips for bicyclists and the text of Missouri laws related to bicycling.
  • The Driver's Guide to Bicycling--summary of Missouri laws and the passages from the Missouri Driver Guide, explaining how the law requires drivers to share the road with bicyclists.

MoBikeFed prepared the following summary for use in the Motorist Contact Letter:

  • A one-page Summary of Missouri Bicycle Laws and the Missouri Driver Guide for Motorists and Bicyclists.
Statements from Missouri Driver Guide
The Missouri Driver Guide has a a good deal of helpful information.  Chapter 7 of the Drive Guide is entitled "Sharing the Road" and includes summaries of Missouri law for motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Some excerpts from this chapter:

For Motorists:

  • Motorcyclists and bicyclists change speed and lane position when encountering bad road conditions, such as manhole covers, diagonal railroad tracks, road debris or in strong winds. Be ready to react.
  • When you are passing, give motorcycles a full lane width. If possible, give a full lane to bicycles and mopeds, too. Do not squeeze past these road users. The bicycle is generally a slower moving vehicle and this may require you to slow down. Wait for a clear stretch of road before passing a cyclist in a lane too narrow to share.
  • If you are following a bicyclist and need to make a right turn, you must yield to the cyclist. It is often safer to slow down and remain behind the cyclist until you are able to turn.
  • Cyclists often travel at surprisingly fast speeds. If you need to make a left turn, yield to oncoming bicyclists unless you are absolutely sure you can make the turn before the cyclist reaches the intersection.
  • Motorcyclists and bicyclists change speed and lane position when encountering bad road conditions, such as manhole covers, diagonal railroad tracks, road debris or in strong winds. Be ready to react.
  • Check for passing bicyclists before opening your car door into a traffic lane or bicycle lane.
  • A bicycle lane is a portion of a roadway designated by striping for use by bicycles. You may cross a bicycle lane when turning or when entering or leaving the roadway. You must yield to bicyclists in a bicycle lane.
For Bicyclists:
On public streets and highways, you have the same rights and responsibilities as a motor vehicle operator. Always ride with traffic, never against it. When operating at less than the posted speed or traffic flow, generally ride as near to the right side of the roadway as safe. The right edge of the road often has hazards like ditches, gutters, sand, gravel shoulders, and so on. Leave space between yourself and these hazards as needed for safety.

You may move more toward the middle or left of the lane or roadway, as appropriate:

  • when making a left turn,
  • when avoiding hazards,
  • when the lane is too narrow to share with another vehicle, and
  • when there is a right-turn-only lane and you are going straight.
Always check traffic and signal before changing lanes or changing your position within a lane. On a one-way street, bicyclists may also choose to ride as far left as is safe.

The law does not allow you to ride a moped on any part of the federal interstate highway system.

Safety Tips for Moped and Bicycle Riders:

  1. The law does not require you to wear a helmet. However, wearing a safety-certified helmet can prevent serious head injuries or death.
  2. Be sure your bike is in safe condition and has all the equipment required by law.
  3. Make sure motorists see you. Wear bright colored clothes and stay out of a vehicle’s blind spots. Use proper lights and reflectors when riding after dark.
  4. Make sure you signal before you slow down, change lanes or turn. Before merging, changing lanes or turning, scan behind and in front to ensure that it is safe to make this maneuver. Do so in plenty of time and in cooperation with other drivers who will be affected by your move. If it is not safe, continue on a straight course and scan repeatedly and only move once it is safe. In conditions of heavy traffic, less proficient bicyclists may find it easier to wait near the curb for a safe gap to appear.
  5. Be careful when passing to the left of a parked or moving vehicle. You should leave 3 to 4 feet of clearance to avoid suddenly opened car doors or allow for a vehicle to swerve.
  6. Be extra careful at intersections. Do not assume your right-of-way when there is a vehicle approaching. Be aware that motor vehicle drivers may not see you approaching the intersection, or may believe that you are moving at a slower speed than you are.
  7. Keep a steady line and be predictable as a courtesy to other traffic and to increase your personal safety.
  8. For teen and adult bicyclists, studies show that riding on the street with traffic, not against it (following the same traffic rules that other vehicles do), is far safer than riding on the sidewalk. However, Missouri law prohibits cyclists from riding on the sidewalk in a business district.
Missouri State Statutes Regarding Bicycles

Note that Chapter 300 is the Missouri Model Vehicle Code.  Provisions in Chapter 300 do not generally have state penalty provisions.  However, every city and county in Missouri has adopted Chapter 300 or similar language into their own municipal code. To find the complete details, you'll have to look up your city's individual traffic code.  The municipal code for most Missouri cities is quite similar to the language in Chapter 300, though you will find some differences from city to city.  

Provisions in Chapters 304 and 307 have full force of state law and do include state penalty provisions.  Note that some provisions are included in both Chapter 300 and Chapter 307--which means they are included in both municipal code (for those municipalities that adopt Chapter 300 by reference) and in state traffic law with state penalty provisions.

Every city and county in Missouri has its own traffic law.  However, municipal traffic laws must harmonize with state law--meaning that municipal law cannot contradict state law, but it may fill in areas not covered by state law.  For that reason, traffic law for cities and counties in Missouri generally follows the the provisions below quite closely--often with identical language--but may have a few additional provisions or use language based on an earlier version of Missouri Code. 


300.347. Riding bicycle on sidewalks, limitations - motorized bicycles prohibited.

  1. No person shall ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk within a business district;

(2) Whenever any person is riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk, such person shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian;

(3) No person shall ride a motorized bicycle upon a sidewalk.

300.330. Bicycle lane regulations
The driver of a motor vehicle shall not drive within any sidewalk area except as a permanent or temporary driveway. A designated bicycle lane shall not be obstructed by a parked or standing motor vehicle or other stationary object. A motor vehicle may be driven in a designated bicycle lane only for the purpose of a lawful maneuver to cross the lane or to provide for safe travel. In making an otherwise lawful maneuver that requires traveling in or crossing a designated bicycle lane, the driver of a motor vehicle shall yield to any bicycle in the lane. As used in this section, the term "designated bicycle lane" shall mean a portion of the roadway or highway that has been designated by the governing body having jurisdiction over such roadway or highway by striping with signing or striping with pavement markings for the preferential or exclusive use of bicycles.

300.350. Riding bicycles, sleds, roller skates, by attaching to another vehicle, prohibited.

No person riding upon any bicycle, motorized bicycle, coaster, roller skates, sled or toy vehicle shall attach the same or himself to any vehicle upon a roadway.

300.411 and 304.678 Overtake bicycles at a safe distance

  1. The operator of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on the roadway, as defined in section 300.010, RSMo, shall leave a safe distance, when passing the bicycle, and shall maintain clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle.
  2. Any person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of an infraction unless an accident is involved in which case it shall be a class C misdemeanor.

304.285. Red light violations

Any person operating a motorcycle or bicycle who violates the provisions of section 304.281 or section 304.301 by entering or crossing an intersection controlled by a traffic control signal against a red light shall have an affirmative defense to that charge if the person establishes all of the following conditions:

(1) The motorcycle or bicycle has been brought to a complete stop;

(2) The traffic control signal continues to show a red light for an unreasonable time;

(3) The traffic control is apparently malfunctioning or, if programmed or engineered to change to a green light only after detecting the approach of a motor vehicle, the signal has apparently failed to detect the arrival of the motorcycle; and

(4) No motor vehicle or person is approaching on the street or highway to be crossed or entered or is so far away from the intersection that it does not constitute an immediate hazard.

The affirmative defense of this section applies only to a violation for entering or crossing an intersection controlled by a traffic control signal against a red light and does not provide a defense to any other civil or criminal action.


307.180. Bicycle and motorized bicycle, defined.
As used in sections 307.180 to 307.193:
  1. The word bicycle shall mean every vehicle propelled solely by human power upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels, or two parallel wheels and one or two forward or rear wheels, all of which are more than fourteen inches in diameter, except scooters and similar devices;
  2. The term motorized bicycle shall mean any two or three-wheeled device having an automatic transmission and a motor with a cylinder capacity of not more than fifty cubic centimeters, which produces less than three gross brake horsepower, and is capable of propelling the device at a maximum speed of not more than thirty miles per hour on level ground. A motorized bicycle shall be considered a motor vehicle for purposes of any homeowners- or renters- insurance policy.

307.183. Brakes required.

Every bicycle and motorized bicycle shall be equipped with a brake or brakes which will enable its driver to stop the bicycle or motorized bicycle within twenty-five feet from a speed of ten miles per hour on dry, level, clean pavement.

307.185 Lights and reflectors, when required - standards to be met.

Every bicycle and motorized bicycle when in use on a street or highway during the period from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise shall be equipped with the following:

(1) A front-facing lamp on the front or carried by the rider which shall emit a white light visible at night under normal atmospheric conditions on a straight, level, unlighted roadway at five hundred feet;

(2) A rear-facing red reflector, at least two square inches in reflective surface area, or a rear-facing red lamp, on the rear which shall be visible at night under normal atmospheric conditions on a straight, level, unlighted roadway when viewed by a vehicle driver under the lower beams of vehicle head-lights at six hundred feet;

(3) Reflective material and/or lights visible from the front and the rear on any moving part of the bicyclists, pedals, crank arms, shoes or lower leg, visible from the front and the rear at night under normal atmospheric conditions on a straight, level, unlighted roadway when viewed by a vehicle driver under the lawful lower beams of vehicle headlights at two hundred feet; and

(4) Reflective material and/or lights visible on each side of the bicycle or bicyclist visible at night under normal atmospheric conditions on a straight, level, unlighted roadway when viewed by a vehicle driver under the lawful lower beams of vehicle headlights at three hundred feet. The provisions of this subdivision shall not apply to motorized bicycles which comply with National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration regulations relating to reflectors on motorized bicycles.

307.188. Rights and duties of bicycle and motorized bicycle riders.
Every person riding a bicycle or motorized bicycle upon a street or highway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle as provided by chapter 304, RSMo, except as to special regulations in sections 307.180 to 307.193 and except as to those provisions of chapter 304, RSMo, which by their nature can have no application.

307.190. Riding to right, required for bicycles and motorized bicycles.
Every person operating a bicycle or motorized bicycle at less than the posted speed or slower than the flow of traffic upon a street or highway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as safe, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction, except when making a left turn, when avoiding hazardous conditions, when the lane is too narrow to share with another vehicle or when on a one-way street. Bicyclists may ride abreast when not impeding other vehicles.

307.191. Shoulder riding, allowed but not required for bicyclist operators

  1. A person operating a bicycle at less than the posted speed or slower than the flow of traffic upon a street or highway may operate as described in section 307.190, or may operate on the shoulder adjacent to the roadway.
  2. A bicycle operated on a roadway, or the shoulder adjacent to a roadway, shall be operated in the same direction as vehicles are required to be driven upon the roadway.
  3. For purposes of this section and section 307.190, "roadway", means that portion of a street or highway ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the berm or shoulder.

307.192. Bicyclists may signal right turn with right arm
The operator of a bicycle shall signal as required in section 304.019, RSMo, except that a signal by the hand and arm need not be given continuously if the hand is needed to control or operate the bicycle. An operator of a bicycle intending to turn the bicycle to the right shall signal as indicated in section 304.019, RSMo, or by extending such operator's right arm in a horizontal position so that the same may be seen in front and in rear of the vehicle.

307.193. Penalty for violation.
Any person seventeen years of age or older who violates any provision of sections 307.180 to 307.193 is guilty of an infraction and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than five dollars nor more than twenty-five dollars. Such an infraction does not constitute a crime and conviction shall not give rise to any disability or legal disadvantage based on conviction of a criminal offense. If any person under seventeen years of age violates any provision of sections 307.180 to 307.193 in the presence of a peace officer possessing the duty and power of arrest for violation of the general criminal laws of the state or for violation of ordinances of counties or municipalities of the state, said officer may impound the bicycle or motorized bicycle involved for a period not to exceed five days upon issuance of a receipt to the child riding it or to its owner.

 

Missouri State Law for Motorists Interacting with Bicyclists

307.188. Rights and duties of bicycle and motorized bicycle riders. Every person riding a bicycle or motorized bicycle upon a street or highway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle as provided by chapter 304, RSMo, except as to special regulations in sections 307.180 to 307.193 and except as to those provisions of chapter 304, RSMo, which by their nature can have no application.

Explanation: Motorists must treat bicycles with the same regard as they would any other vehicle; bicyclists have the same rights under traffic law as do other vehicles. And, on the other hand, bicycles must obey the same traffic laws in the same way as motor vehicles, with very, very limited exceptions.
304.012. Highest Degree of Care. Every person operating a motor vehicle on the roads and highways of this state shall drive the vehicle in a careful and prudent manner and at a rate of speed so as not to endanger the property of another or the life or limb of any person and shall exercise the highest degree of care.
Explanation: Motorists may not do anything, even something that otherwise appears to be legal, that endangers a bicyclists, pedestrian, or other motorist.
304.678. Overtaking bicycles at a safe distance 1. The operator of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on the roadway, as defined in section 300.010, RSMo, shall leave a safe distance, when passing the bicycle, and shall maintain clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle. 2. Any person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of an infraction unless an accident is involved in which case it shall be a class C misdemeanor.
Explanation: When passing a bicycle, you must leave a safe distance when passing and not return to the right part of the road until safely past the bicyclist. Passing unsafely is a traffic offense punishable by driver license points, fines, and, if an accident results, even jail.
304.016.4 When passing is allowed. No vehicle shall at any time be driven to the left side of the roadway under the following conditions: (1) When approaching the crest of a grade or upon a curve of the highway where the driver's view is obstructed within such distance as to create a hazard in the event another vehicle might approach from the opposite direction;
Explanation: Motorists often attempt to pass bicyclists as they are traveling around curves or approaching the crest of a hill. But squeezing dangerously past the bicyclist or pulling blindly into the oncoming lane are both illegal. So if the lane is wide enough to pass the bicyclist, leaving a safe distance between your vehicle and the bicyclist, while remaining on the right half of the road, then you may pass. However, if safely overtaking the bicyclist requires you to pull onto the left side of the roadway, then the law requires you to wait behind the bicyclist until your view ahead is clear.

300.340 Opening and closing vehicle doors. No person shall open the door of a motor vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a motor vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.

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