New Illinois Bike Law effective 2018

The Governor Bruce Rauner passed, last August, one of the most comprehensive laws in the country specifying when a driver may legally pass a bicyclist in a designated no-passing zone. The new Bike Law (known as HB 1784) will be effective January 1st 2018.

The law adds clarity of Section 11-703 of the actual Illinois Vehicle Code:

A driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on a highway may pass on the left of the bicycle on a portion of the highway designated as a no-passing zone if the driver is able to overtake and pass the bicycle when:

(a) the bicycle is traveling at a speed of less than half of the posted speed limit of the highway;

(b) the driver is able to overtake and pass the bicycle without exceeding the posted speed limit of the highway; and

(c) there is sufficient distance to the left of the center-line of the highway for the motor vehicle to meet the overtaking and passing requirements.

The new law also maintains the existing requirement that drivers provide bicyclists at least three feet of space when passing.

New Illinois Bike Laws Designed To Provided Additional Legal Protection To Bicyclists

Prior to this change a driver could face a traffic ticket for passing a bicycle in a no-passing zone. This change alleviates the risk of a driver claiming that the bicycle was causing a “back up” because faster moving motor vehicles could not legally go around the bicyclist.

The new law also provides that a bicycle may drive on the shoulder. According to the prior version of Section 11-709.1, “Driving On the Shoulder,” only emergency vehicles, authorized transit buses, some farm equipment, and service vehicles could legally drive on the shoulder. This change clarifies that bicycles can ride on the shoulder as opposed to directly on the roadway.

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