archival and resource material for human powered recumbent tricycles

Do motor vehicle laws apply to trike riders?

A. The rules of the road are usually the same. On your trike, always stop for stop signs. I have noticed over the years that the vast majority of bicyclists never stop at stop signs. Whatever their reasons, there is a very negative consequence that flows from disregarding stop signs or other traffic laws: Motorists observe cyclists who make the choice to disobey traffic laws, which does not bode well for the cycling image as a whole. Drivers of automobiles have the impression that cyclists are above the law. Then what happens when a cyclist is struck by a car? The injured cyclist will most likely cite some law that the motorist either disobeyed or disregarded. It’s a double standard. If you want to use the laws as a means to protect yourself as a cyclist, then you should certainly be obeying those same laws. If a motorist accidentally strikes a triker because the motorist failed to yield to the triker’s right to take a lane when there is no shoulder, how can the triker in good conscience cry fowl if the triker himself has been running stop signs for the past five years? I feel this principle should be applied to all traffic laws that affect tricyclists. Follow the laws you expect motorists to follow for your protection. It leaves a good impression in the minds of drivers who see a tricyclist dutifully stop at all stop signs. Be an ambassador for all trike pilots out there, so when a driver who watched you follow the law sees the next triker, he will feel that people on trikes do what is right. Besides, on a trike, where your feet are attached to the pedals and you have three wheels, there is no need to undo the cleat and put a foot down, which is probably one reason why bicyclists rarely obey the law.

What STOP signs may as well be saying:


Click on sign, or HERE, to view cycling laws by state.

sun city 32

sun city 26

When a group of trikers are out pedaling around, they become ambassadors for the sport, our mode of silent transportation. What motorists see may result in positive or negative feelings, depending upon the riding style of the group. Being a great ambassador sends a quiet, yet powerful, message.


9 responses

  1. Michael

    My pet peeve as a recumbent tricycle cyclist is cyclists who cycle in the cycle lane on the wrong side of the road. I understand they might prefer to see traffic coming at them but I don’t understand why. More to the point why do they think that they have the right to obstruct my cycling legally on the correct side of the road? One of us has to cycle in the traffic lane briefly because of their act…Libya should it be me?

    March 1, 2017 at 5:16 am

  2. I totally agree with you Steve. We are all ambassadors for the “sport”. Disobeying the traffic laws is bad and indeed greatly effects motorists attitudes toward us. I always stop at stop signs when I see motorists around although admittedly I don’t if I don’t see any.

    March 1, 2017 at 5:16 am

  3. Ice Man

    I agree completely. When you are blind to the law you become blind to the motorists.
    In my prior cycling days I was guilty of rolling stop signs, in part because of the difficulty of unclipping. As a Triker it has all changed. It is easier to stop and take a careful look. I feel great responsibility to set an example. And I also am resigned that “triker world” is more laid back. What’s the rush? Live to ride another day. Motorists are more courteous to me as a triker; I owe them the same courtesy.

    March 1, 2017 at 6:37 am

  4. To further confuse matters, in Idaho your stop sign picture is exactly how the law works. For cyclists, stop signs are treated as yield signs, and stop lights as stop signs. In my view this is misguided legislation, but it’s a rallying point for local cycling advocacy. I’ve heard that other states are considering similar legislation.

    March 1, 2017 at 6:48 am

  5. Rodger

    Hola Every One

    I too agree that we should stop – pause and look — even if there seems to be no one in sight .

    My agreement also goes that “We Triker’s” are ambassadors for both stick bike user’s and Trike’s ( we are all cyclist ). Rolling through a Stop Sign or Stop Light ( even if the Local Reg’s say it is OK ) is still a reason for some one’s Lawyer to bite at you.

    COS ( Postal and Aviation for Colo Spgs

    March 1, 2017 at 12:25 pm

  6. Ed .W

    Thanks for reintroduce all for good reason. I would also add when possible cyclist of all types should use the shoulder/bike lane when possible. There is no reason to agitated other vehicles which could lead to hazardous situation.

    March 1, 2017 at 12:32 pm

  7. I totally agree with the fact that riding lawfully is best. But, as I was riding my Gekko last June. I had the right of way, and a motorist broadsided me. Because they didn’t pay attention to the surrounding traffic.
    Now I have to find a way to recuperate the trike that’s completely totalled. Due to their inability to follow the same rules of the road.

    March 1, 2017 at 1:21 pm

  8. dolanfossil

    It is simple physics. Weight: Cyclist + bike 150 to 250 pounds, Motor vehicle 500 pound motorcycle to 80,000 pound truck. Cyclist YOU LOSE.
    Closing speeds: moving with traffic, 1 mph to 20 mph, some chance you will survive.
    Moving against traffic 10 mph to over 100 mph, SPLAT again YOU LOSE.

    March 2, 2017 at 10:46 am

  9. dolanfossil

    The best way I have found to ride is follow this one rule: Ride as if you are invisible, and everybody is out to get you. Most drivers today are not paying attention to what is going on around them and a lot of them have their noses stuck in their cell phones.
    Don’t become a Darwin Award winner. (

    March 2, 2017 at 10:55 am