Knowing 'the rules' will help you enjoy a safe ride in our community. Below are state laws, local ordinances, and general rules of riding from bicycling organizations.
South Dakota laws regulating bicycling and bicycle operation are in SDCL Chapter 32-20B.
Other relevant state statutes include:
The safe passing rule for motorists in SDCL 32-26-26.1.
Operation on sidewalks in SDCL 32-26-21.1
Lights and reflector requirement in SDCL 32-17-25.
As noted by the League of American Bicyclists' webpage on state bike laws:
In South Dakota bicycles are vehicles according to the statute that defines vehicles. There is no separate statute that says that a person riding a bicycle has all of the rights and duties of a driver of a vehicle. South Dakota also has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.
5 rules of the road
From the League of American Bicyclists
1. Follow the law
Your safety and image of bicyclists depend on you. You have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers. Obey traffic signals and stop signs. Ride with traffic; use the rightmost lane headed in the direction you are going.
2. Be predictable
Make your intentions clear to everyone on the road. Ride in a straight line and don’t swerve between parked cars. Signal turns, and check behind you well before turning or changing lanes.
3. Be conspicuous
Ride where people can see you and wear bright clothing. Use a front white light, red rear light and reflectors when visibility is poor. Make eye contact with others and don’t ride on sidewalks.
4. Think ahead
Anticipate what drivers, pedestrians, and other people on bikes will do next. Watch for turning vehicles and ride outside the door zone of parked cars. Look out for debris, potholes, and other road hazards. Cross railroad tracks at right angles.
5. Ride ready
Check that your tires are sufficiently inflated, brakes are working, chain runs smoothly, and quick release levers are closed. Carry tools and supplies that are appropriate for your ride. Wear a helmet.
6 rules of the trail
Abbreviated from the International Mountain Bicycling Association
1. Respect the landscape
Keep singletrack single by staying on the trail. Practice Leave No Trace principles. Do not ride muddy trails because it causes rutting, widening and maintenance headaches. Ride through standing water, not around it. Ride (or walk) technical features, not around them.
2. Share the trail
Most of the trails we ride are multi-use. Mountain bikers yield to horses and foot traffic, and descending riders yield to climbing riders. There are some regional differences and unique rules on single-use, directional mountain bike trails—know the code where you ride. Be nice. Say hi.
3. Ride open, legal trails
Poaching trails, building illegal singletrack or adding unauthorized trail features are detrimental to our access. Poorly-built features could also seriously injure other trail users. If you believe there aren’t enough trails or variety near you, your engagement will be welcomed to create, enhance and protect great places to ride.
4. Ride in control
Speed, inattentiveness and rudeness are the primary sources of trail conflict among user groups. If you need to pass, slow down, ring a bell or verbally announce yourself, and wait until the other trail user is out of the path. Use extra caution around horses, which are unpredictable. Be extra aware when riding trails with poor sight lines and blind corners, and make sure you can hear what's going on around you.
5. Plan ahead
Be prepared and self-sufficient. Every mountain biker should carry what they need for the ride they're undertaking, and know how to fix a flat tire and make minor repairs. Download a GPS trail app on your phone for navigation or carry a map in unfamiliar locations. Ride with a partner or share your riding plan with someone if you’re heading out solo.
6. Mind the animals
When it comes to wildlife, live and let live. In some places, running cattle and disturbing wildlife are serious offenses. If you want to ride with your dog, first find out whether or not it's allowed by looking up the leash laws. Be prepared to take care of your dog. Ensure your companion is obedient enough to not cause problems for you, other trail users or wild animals.