Rules of the Road

Bike Anchorage believes that education for all road users, including bicyclists, is key to making Anchorage a safer place for everyone. See below for some helpful tips to follow the Rules of the road.


  • Wear a properly fitted helmet. Protect your brain, save your life.
  • Adjust your bicycle to fit. When standing over your bicycle there should be 1-2 inches between you and the top tube (bar) if using a road bike and 3-4 inches if a mountain bike. The seat should be level front to back, and height e adjusted to allow a slight bend at the knee when the leg is fully extended. The handlebar height should be level with the seat.

  • Check equipment for safety before each ride. Before riding, inflate tires properly and check that your brakes work.
  • See and Be Seen. Whether daytime, foul weather, or at night, you need to be seen by others.
    • Always wear neon, fluorescent, or other bright colors when riding day or night. Wearing white has not been shown to make you more visible.
    • Wear something that reflects light, such as reflective tape or markings, or flashing lights. All bikes need a bright white front light and a red rear light.
    • Just because you can see a driver doesn’t mean they can see you!

  • Control Your Bicycle. Always ride with at least one hand on the handlebars. Carry books and other items in a bicycle carrier or backpack.
  • Watch for and Avoid Road Hazards. Be on the lookout for hazards like potholes, broken glass, gravel, puddles, and dogs. All these hazards can cause a crash. If you are riding with friends and are in the lead, yell out and point to the hazard to alert the riders behind you.


These are traffic laws, regulations, and commonsense riding behavior designed to increase the safety of bicyclists riding in the roadway. While riding a bicycle on a road, here are some Rules of the Road in Anchorage (last revised March 2024):

  • Obey traffic signs and lights. Anchorage has enacted the "Idaho stop," meaning that cyclists may yield at stop signs and come to a complete stop, then proceed at red lights. In each case, the bicyclist should not proceed until they looked left-right-left for traffic and it is safe to go.

  • Do not ride on the sidewalks downtown. Within the downtown "central business district," bicycles are not permitted on sidewalks and must use the roadways.
  • Ride in the same direction as traffic. As a vehicle, a bicyclist should ride to the right side of the road in the same direction as traffic. It is safer than facing traffic because you can act like a vehicle and your actions are more predictable.
  • Always hand-signal turns, slowing, stops, or lane changing. You must signal your intention because bicycles do not have brake lights. This is especially important if you are riding in a group of bicyclists.
  • Give pedestrians the right-of-way. This is the same law that applies to motor vehicles.
  • Pull over if you hear a siren from an emergency vehicle. When you hear a police, fire, or emergency vehicle, you must pull over to the side of the road on the right to allow the emergency vehicle to pass.
  • Be sure to scan your surroundings. Using the scanning skill allows bicyclists to check their surroundings and ensure their safety. It is critical to know what is going on around you, in all directions. The skill of scanning is also used to change lanes.
  • Maintain a controlled speed, and follow speed limits. Vehicles should obey posted speed limits because they are the speed at which a driver can control a vehicle on a particular road and allow for safe stopping. A bicyclist should always maintain a controlled speed that they can also safely stop at.
  • Wear bright clothing and use bike lights. Riding a bike in the dark can be very dangerous, especially in roadways as drivers may not be able to see bicyclists. Bicycles are required to have a white headlight and a red rear light, as well as reflectors.
  • Electric bicycles, or e-bikes, are divided into three categories based on their top speed and motor type. Low-speed e-bikes (that have operable pedals, a 750-watt or lower motor, and a top speed of 20mph) are classified as bicycles and subject to the same bicycle regulations. View AO-2016-67 for full details.

View Alaska's bike roadway laws here.


  • Base Rule: First to Stop = First to Go
    • The first vehicle to an intersection goes through the intersection first.
  • If the base rule doesn’t apply: Furthest Right Goes First.
  • When two vehicles get to the intersection at the same time, the vehicle on the right goes first (it has the right-of-way).
  • When in Doubt, Bail Out.
    • This trumps all rules.
    • Even if you have the right-of-way, if for any reason you feel uncomfortable or that your safety is threatened, let the other traffic go ahead. Your safety always comes first!
  • If neither the base rule nor the furthest right rule applies: Straight Traffic Goes First.
  • When two vehicles are directly across from each other and one is turning left, the one that is going straight goes first. 


Multi-Use Paths are paths for varying users, such as bicyclists, pedestrians, joggers, skiers, etc. We have a lot of these in Anchorage and they’re great to ride on, but be sure to adhere to these guidelines:

  • Always ride to the right, allowing others to pass on the left.
  • Pass only on the left and move back to the right when it is safe.
  • Call out “on your left” or “passing” while passing someone.
  • Use communication skills for signaling, including verbal and visual (pointing) or by bell/horn, giving people time to react.
  • Always yield to other users who are slower: equestrians (horseback riders), pedestrians, then bicyclists
  • Always yield to riders/walkers/hikers coming uphill.
  • Use safe cycling skills, including constant scanning.
  • When stopped, move off the trail so others can pass
  • Be respectful of the trail and other users
  • When riding at night, use lights in front and rear of the bike
  • Only use a small portion of the trail if riding in a group, so others may safely pass.
  • Always be predictable and courteous

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