Is It Illegal To Ride Your Bike On The Road In South Dakota?
Sometimes when you see something you can't believe, you think your mind is playing tricks on you. When I was driving home the other day, I noticed something rather strange and crazy...a cyclist riding his bike along 57th Street with the other cars on the road. I know your probably thinking what’s so strange and crazy about that particular situation? Well, there was just one problem. He was literally riding his bike in the middle of 57th Street during rush hour. Oh, and it was raining.
Are you kidding me?? I'm all for people biking and getting their exercise in for the day. However, this guy could have caused a major accident. The circumstances were already treacherous which were compounded by the fact that it was raining!
I couldn't believe what I was seeing, and it made me wonder, is it illegal to ride your bike on the road in the state of South Dakota? The answer is not one a person would expect.
South Dakota is actually one of 26 states with a law which specifically requires a buffer when passing a bicyclist on the road. The Black Hills Pioneer published an outline of South Dakota Codified Law 32-26-26.1 which went into effect after House Bill 1030 was unanimously passed by both the House and Senate in 2015:
The minimum buffer a driver must provide when overtaking and passing a bicycle: if the posted speed limit is 35 mph or less, a driver must allow a minimum of a three-foot separation “between the right side of the driver's vehicle, including any mirror or other projection, and the left side of the bicycle,” or a minimum of six feet if the posted limit is greater than 35 mph. It also allows the motor vehicle to partially cross the centerline/dividing line between two lanes of travel in the same direction “if it can be performed safely. The driver of the motor vehicle shall maintain that separation until safely past the overtaken bicycle.” A violation of the law is a Class 2 misdemeanor.
This law's purpose serves as a reminder to drivers to be considerate and share the road with bicyclists. There is also a guideline for drivers and bicyclists to follow in the City of Sioux Falls. Basically, drivers should give bikers at least 3-feet of distance when on the road. Obviously, the law and the city guidelines were established to protect bicyclists, however it should go without saying that bicyclists should still exercise some common sense when traveling the roadways.
So yes, bicyclists can ride their bikes on the roads with other vehicles. Just remember, both drivers and bicyclists need to stay cautious and always keep their eyes on the road.