Rules of the Road

Metro Boston is a great place to ride a bike. Whether you’re an experienced rider or new to urban cycling, here are a few bike laws to follow and other riding tips to help you feel more comfortable and confident.

Plan a sensible route

From shared traffic lanes to car-free paths, choose a route that suits your comfort level. Download the Bluebikes mobile app to find the best route (but don't use your phone while riding!).

Get the app

Do a pre-ride check

Before you start a ride: adjust the seat to fit your height, squeeze the brakes to make sure there’s resistance, and check the tires to make sure they’re not flat. If there’s a problem with the bike, just dock it and hit the red “wrench” button, then choose a different bike.

Learn more about the bikes

Obey traffic signals

Obey all traffic signals and signs, such as stopping at red lights and stop signs.

Ride with traffic

Bicyclists are required by law to ride in the same direction as motorists, except in signed and marked contraflow lanes. Be alert and look out for car doors opening – it's best to stay at least 3-4 feet from the parked cars.

Go slow on sidewalks

Bicyclists* may ride on sidewalks anywhere except as otherwise designated by local law – for example, in designated business districts. But you should ride slowly and yield to pedestrians at all times.

  • Ebikes are never allowed on sidewalks even when typical pedal bikes are.

Yield to pedestrians

Bicyclists must yield the right of way to pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections. Use your bell to alert pedestrians of your presence when necessary.

Use hand signals

Bicyclists should use hand signals to let others know where they’re going. Stick your left arm straight out to indicate a left turn. For a right turn, extend your right arm straight out, or raise your left arm and bend it upward at the elbow. To stop, hold your left hand by your side pointing toward the ground. You do not need to signal if you need to use both hands to safely operate the bike.

Never ride distracted

Don’t text and ride! Pull over if you have to send a message or talk on the phone. It's also not a good idea to weave in and out of cars. Being aware and predictable reduces the chance of a crash.

Wear a helmet

It is strongly recommended that all Bluebikes riders wear a helmet. It is the state law for riders 16 and under to wear a helmet. Make sure yours fits snugly, wear it level on your head, and always buckle the chin strap.

Find out where to get a helmet

Have any questions about how Bluebikes works?

Check out our FAQ section for more information on the bicycles, stations & docks, memberships, passes, safety tips, mobile app, and more.

Cycling Resources

For more information on Massachusetts' cycling laws, see the City of Boston's Bike Safety section, Brookline's Bicycling Safety, Cambridge's Cycling Rules of the Road, and Somerville's Bicyclists' Rules of the Road.