Montana Bicycle Laws

Every state has its individual bicycle laws. These are the specific laws related to biking in Montana. Bicycles are legally considered “vehicles” on Montana’s roadways. That means bicyclists must obey the rules of the road like drivers of any other vehicle and must be treated as equal users by all other vehicles.

Effect of Regulations (61-8-601)

  1. It is a misdemeanor for any person to do any act forbidden or fail to perform any act required in this part.
  2. Subject to the exceptions stated in this part, the regulations applicable to bicycles apply whenever:
    • a bicycle or moped is operated on any highway; or
    • a bicycle is operated on any path set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.

Traffic Laws Applicable To Persons Operating Bicycles (61-8-602)

Traffic laws applicable to persons operating bicycles or mopeds. A person operating a bicycle or moped is granted all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle by chapter 7, chapter 9, and this chapter except for special regulations in this part or the provisions of chapter 7, chapter 9, and this chapter that by their nature cannot apply.

Riding on bicycles or mopeds (61-8-603)

A person propelling a bicycle or moped may ride only on or astride a permanent and regular seat attached to the bicycle or moped.

Clinging to vehicles (61-8-604)

A person riding on any bicycle, coaster, moped, roller skates, sled, or toy vehicle may not attach the conveyance or be attached to any vehicle on a roadway, but a bicycle trailer may be attached to a bicycle.

Riding on Roadways (61-8-605)

  1. A person operating a bicycle on a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic shall ride in the right-hand lane of the roadway, subject to the following provisions:
    • If the right-hand lane is wide enough to be safely shared with overtaking vehicles, a bicyclist shall ride far enough to the right as judged safe by the bicyclist to facilitate the movement of overtaking vehicles unless other conditions make it unsafe to do so.
    • A bicyclist may use a lane other than the right-hand lane when:
      • overtaking and passing a slower vehicle;
      • preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway;
      • the right-hand lane is a dedicated right-turn lane and the bicyclist does not intend to turn right; or
      • it is necessary to avoid a condition that makes it unsafe to ride in the right-hand lane of the roadway.
  2. A person operating a bicycle on a one-way roadway with two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as close to the left side of the roadway as judged safe by the bicyclist.
  3. Persons riding bicycles on a roadway shall ride in single file except when:
    • riding on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles;
    • overtaking and passing another bicycle;
    • riding on a paved shoulder or in a parking lane, in which case the persons may ride two abreast; or
    • riding within a single lane on a laned roadway with at least two lanes in each direction, in which case the persons may ride two abreast only if they do not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic more than they would otherwise impede traffic by riding single file and in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
  4. A bicyclist is not expected or required to ride:
    • over or through hazards at the edge of a roadway, including but not limited to fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or narrow lanes; or
    • without a reasonable margin of safety on the right side of the roadway.

Carrying articles (61-8-606)

A person operating a bicycle or moped may not carry any package, bundle, or article that prevents the person from keeping at least one hand on the handlebars.

Lamps and other equipment on bicycles (61-8-607)

  1. A bicycle or moped when in use at dawn, dusk, or nighttime must be equipped with:
    • a lamp on the front emitting a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front. In lieu of a lamp affixed to the bicycle or moped, a bicyclist may use a lamp with equal intensity and visibility affixed to the cyclist’s helmet and facing forward.
    • facing the rear, either a lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the rear or a red reflector visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the rear when illuminated by low-beam motor vehicle headlamps; and
    • reflective material large and reflective enough to be visible from the left and right sides from a distance of at least 500 feet when illuminated by low-beam motor vehicle headlamps.
  2. A bicycle or moped must be equipped with a brake enabling the operator to stop the bicycle or moped within no more than 25 feet from a speed of 10 miles an hour on dry, level, clean pavement.

Bicycles on sidewalks and bike lanes (61-8-608)

  1. Subject to the provisions of subsection (3)(b), a person operating a bicycle or moped on and along a sidewalk or across a roadway on and along a crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing any pedestrian.
  2. A person may not ride a bicycle or moped on and along a sidewalk or across a roadway on and along a crosswalk where the use of a bicycle or moped is prohibited by official traffic control devices.
  3. (a) Except as provided in subsections (1) and (2), a person operating a vehicle by human power on and along a sidewalk or across a roadway on and along a crosswalk has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.

Bicycle or moped racing — when lawful (61-8-609)

  1. Bicycle or moped racing on a highway is prohibited except as authorized in this section.
  2. Bicycle or moped racing on a highway is lawful when a racing event is approved by state or local authorities on any highway under their respective jurisdictions. Approval of bicycle or moped highway racing events may be granted only under conditions that ensure reasonable safety for all race participants, spectators, and other highway users and that prevent unreasonable interference with traffic flow.
  3. By agreement with the approving authority, participants in an approved bicycle or moped highway racing event may be exempted from compliance with any traffic laws otherwise applicable if traffic control is adequate to ensure the safety of all highway users.

Source: Montana Code Annotated 2017

Click here to view Montana’s State Website for more information about biking in Montana

All laws mentioned here were compiled in early 2019 and may be subject to change. Please help us keep them up to date by contacting us here with any new updates. Thanks!