Bicycling in Downtown Carlisle-The Facts

The Downtown Carlisle Association has been providing updates on the road diet and came up with a quick list of facts/FAQs about bicycling in Carlisle and using the new bike lanes. This is super helpful information for bicyclists, drivers and pedestrians.  Any additional questions can be addressed to


 about Bicycling in Downtown Carlisle.

Below are frequently asked questions regarding bicycling in Downtown Carlisle.  Answers have been provided in blue.

1.       Are bicycle helmets required by Law?Bicycle helmets are required by law for all riders under the age of 12 whom ride upon the roadway. However, it is recommended that all riders wear a helmet while riding.

2.       Are bicyclists required to use hand signals when turning or stopping?When riding a bicycle on a roadway, the bicycle is considered a vehicle.  A bicyclist must obey all traffic laws just as the driver of a car, therefore hand signals are required.

3.       Are there any age restrictions for using the bicycle lanes in Downtown Carlisle?  There are currently no age restrictions for the bicycle lanes in downtown Carlisle.

4.       Is there any resources available such as a website where I can learn more about Pennsylvania’s Bicycle Laws? A good resources for bicycle information  is the Penndot Bike Safe website at

5.       Who has the right-of-way-a motorist or the bicyclist?  Bicycle riders have the same responsibilities to follow traffic laws as motor vehicle operators.  The answer is neither has the right of way because of the type of vehicle they are operating.  The facts and circumstances of the encounter dictate who has the right-of-way.

6.       Is the bicyclist required to use the newly-created bicycle lanes or can they opt to use the traffic lane still?  Bicyclists are required to operate/drive their bike in the right hand lane or as close as practical to the right hand curb.  This would mean use the bike lane if it is available, realizing bicyclists have to be able to move to the left or stop quickly if a car door is opened in their path.

7.       Are bicyclists permitted to ride side-by-side or do they need to ride in single formation?   The Vehicle Code states,   “…shall not ride more than 2 abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of pedal cycles.”  Since the Borough’s bike lanes are not wide enough for two abreast, the Borough highly recommends riding single file.

8.       Who enforces the bicycle laws?  Municipal and State Police

9.       Do bicyclists have to stop at stop signs and red lights?  Yes!!  Bicycle riders are subject to all of the traffic rules and duties applicable to the driver of a motor vehicle.

10.   Do bicyclists have to yield for pedestrians?  Yes, the same as if they were driving a car.

If a motorist is making a right hand turn and the bicyclist is going straight, who yields-the motorist or the bicyclist?  The bicyclist has the right of way.  HOWEVER, having the ROW will be little consolation if the car turns right and runs into the bicyclist.  The problem or safety risk for bicyclists is that many motorists are either unaware or do not care that a bicyclist has a right to ride on the road/street.  This is the main reason that bicyclists must ride defensively and use extra caution.  Bicyclists must assume that motorists will not yield to them when required.