Updates to Lincoln's Bike Laws: A Win!

Great news, Lincoln cyclists!

On December 12, the Lincoln City Council approved a set of proposed changes to Lincoln’s city ordinances related to bicycling. You can read a full description of the update here. These are the highlights:

  • Updated hand turn signals. You can now signal a right turn by extending your right arm out to the side. You probably already did this, but it was technically invalid before – previously, all hand signals had to be done with the left hand, as though you were a driver reaching out a car window. [LMC 10.14.180]
  • Crosswalk right-of-way. You might recall LB716, a bill from last year, granting cyclists the same rights and responsibilities as people on foot in crosswalks. That changed state law, but now Lincoln’s city ordinances match. This means it’s no longer necessary for you to dismount and walk your bicycle through every crosswalk to gain legal protection. Along with this, bicyclists will yield the right-of-way to pedestrians on sidewalks, on shared-use paths, and in crosswalks (basically: everywhere). [LMC 10.48.130]
  • Three-foot passing law. Nebraska already had a law requiring drivers to give three feet of clearance when passing bicyclists, but now Lincoln’s city ordinances have it, too. Tell your motorist friends: Change lanes to pass bicyclists, and on roads without marked lanes, err on the side of giving as much room as possible. [LMC 10.14.135]
  • (Some) e-bikes are bicycles. The definition of “bicycle” was expanded to include electric bikes that can travel at speeds up to 20mph and have “fully operative pedals for propulsion by human power.” Electric bikes that go faster than 20mph and bikes with attached lawn-mower motors are not allowed on trails, sidewalks, and bikeways. [LMC 10.02.050]
  • No mopeds on trails. “Shared-use path” was added to the list of places a moped cannot be driven. (Also included: Freeways and sidewalks.) [LMC 10.54.070]

One portion of the proposed changes did not pass: The ban on sidewalk riding in downtown and other business districts remains in effect. The Lincoln Police Department says enforcement will remain lax, but remember that even in areas where sidewalk riding is allowed, it’s illegal to ride recklessly [LMC 10.48.170c].

These changes are the culmination of a nearly year-long process involving several city departments and groups. BicycLincoln extends a huge thank-you to all involved: our city attorney, city planners, Complete Streets Committee, the Pedestrian Bicycle Advisory Committee, Great Plains Trails Network, the Lincoln City Council, the Nebraska Bicycling Alliance, and others. We’re fortunate to have so much support for safe cycling in our government and our community.


Photo by Rob Evans | Flickr
Photo by Rob Evans | Flickr