Rules-Traffic Safety

This page contains information and links to traffic safety rules.

General Rules for Pedestrians, Bicyclists and Motorists

pedestrian walking through a roundabout

Photo from: Ped and Bicycle Info Ctr

Bicyclists and motorists must yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk, whether the crosswalk is marked or not. (See RSA 259:17 for the definition of a crosswalk.)

Bicyclists and motorists must use due care around pedestrians at all times (RSA 265:37).

Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. Bicycles are vehicles (RSA 265:143).

The safer lane position in general for a prudent bicyclist might surprise you.

Avoid the "door" zone of parked cars, even when a bike lane is marked in this area. Take the full lane when your safety depends on it (RSA 265:144,XI(d)).

person riding a bicycle on the road

Sharrows along NH 120 in Hanover.

Cyclists must keep right? Not necessarily according to RSA 265:144. There are many common operational situations where cyclists must control the lane, including:

  1. When overtaking and passing another bicycle or any other vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
  2. When preparing for or making a left turn at an intersection or into a driveway.
  3. When proceeding straight in a place where right turns are permitted.
  4. When necessary to avoid hazardous conditions, including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, broken pavement, glass, sand, puddles, ice, or opening doors of parked vehicles.
Bicycle Safety Rules

RSA 265:143a Requires Motorists to Exercise Due Care When Approaching a Bicycle. Leave a reasonable and prudent distance. That must be at least 3 feet when the passing vehicle is traveling at 30 miles per hour or less and one extra foot for every 10 MPH over 30 miles per hour. Municipalities may request approval to install 3-foot minimum - to-pass bicycle signing: Municipality must send a letter on municipal letterhead to William Lambert (NHDOT Bureau of Traffic, P.O. Box 483, 18 Smokey Bear Blvd., Concord, NH 03302-0483. Traffic Bureau will work with the municipalitly to verify the locations in the field and prepare a maintenance agreement. Once any location-specific details have been worked out, a letter will be sent back to the municipality from Traffic Bureau specifying the approved location(s) and other requirements. The Town may then proceed to have the sign manufactured and installed.

Other drivers may not understand why you must sometimes claim the lane for your own safety. Remain respectful to all while advocating for equitable access and negotiate in good faith for the space that you require. See "Bicycling in traffic is a dance you must lead."

Wear bright clothing. Reflective clothing is required at night (RSA 265:144,XII).

Wearing a helmet can prevent a head injury. A helmet is required for those under 16 years of age (RSA 265:144,X).

When passing another cyclist on the road, make your presence known by calling out "On your left" as you approach.

Respect metal grid bridge deck surfaces, timber surfaces with longitudinal cracks and skewed RR crossings.