Important Road Laws St. Louis Cyclists Should Know


Bicycling is a popular pastime in Missouri. The state’s varied terrain and rolling hills make it a cyclist’s dream destination. St. Louis offers cyclists bicycle groups for all ages, scenic trails, and family-friendly rides like the Meramec Greenway and Arnold’s Grove Trailhead. St. Louis also has a bike-friendly urban area with an extensive greenway bike infrastructure for daily rides to work and school. But before you take to the roads and trails, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the state’s bicycle laws and road rules for riders. If you do find yourself involved in an accident, getting help from a St. Louis bicycle accident lawyer can help you recover maximum compensation.

St. Louis bicycle laws

Where Can Cyclists Ride in St. Louis?

Missouri law allows cyclists to travel any roadway except for interstate highways unless a local law states otherwise for a specific area. Cyclists do not have to ride on the shoulder of the road but should ride as far to the right as safely possible. Bicycles may ride on any street even when riding at significantly slower speeds than the minimum speed limit. Missouri law doesn’t require cyclists to ride on the shoulder of the road because the presence of debris may endanger them.

While riding the roadways, bicyclists must follow the same traffic laws as motorists, including riding on the right side of the road, signaling turns, and stopping at stop signs and red lights. Motorists must treat bicycles with the same respect as other vehicles. When lanes are too narrow for a motorist to share safely with a cyclist, the cyclist may move to the center of the lane to discourage unsafe passing. The motorist must remain behind the bicycle until there is a safe place to pass. When passing, motorists must maintain a safe distance from the bicycle—an entire lane when possible—and maintain that distance until safely clear of the bicycle before moving back to the right.

Cyclists on non-motorized bikes may also ride on sidewalks in St. Louis except in downtown areas with heavy pedestrian traffic. Pedestrians always have the right of way on sidewalks and cyclists must warn pedestrians of their approach by voice or bell.

Choosing Sidewalk or Street When Cycling in St. Louis

Cyclists may ride on streets or sidewalks as they choose, but safety experts recommend that those riders who aren’t old enough for a driver’s license remain on the sidewalks or designated bike paths whenever possible.

Bicycle Equipment Required in Missouri

To ride a bike legally in St. Louis, a bicycle must have the proper equipment, including the following:

  • Brakes that allow a bike traveling at 10 miles per hour  to stop within 25 feet
  • When riding after dark, a bicycle must be equipped with a white headlight with visibility up to 500 feet and a red light or reflector in the rear that’s visible from 600 feet
  • A bike’s pedals and/or the cyclist’s shoes must include reflectors
  • A bike must have reflectors or lights on each side

Do Cyclists Have to Wear Helmets in St. Louis?

Missouri has no statewide mandatory laws regulating bike helmet use. Instead, various municipalities set their own helmet laws in place. In St. Louis, helmets are mandatory for riders, but the age requirement for helmet use varies by municipality. In some counties, all riders under the age of 17 must wear bicycle helmets.