Fermi National Laboratory

Volume 25  |  Friday, July 19, 2002  |  Number 12
In This Issue  |  FermiNews Main Page

Sharing the Road
Illinois Rules of the Road

According to Illinois road rules, bicyclists have a choice of traveling on either sidewalks, bike paths or roads, unless otherwise posted.

Drivers of cars and trucks share the road with others. They must know the laws that apply to other roadway users, including pedestrians and bicyclists.


Without a vehicle or protective equipment, pedestrians are the roadway user most at risk in traffic. Drivers and pedestrians are both responsible for traffic safety. A simple rule is that drivers should always be prepared to yield the right of- way to pedestrians. Important laws and safety tips pedestrians should know are:

  • TRAFFIC SIGNALS, WALKLIGHTS and CROSSINGS: Pedestrians must yield the right-of-way to drivers by obeying traffic signals, observing walk lights and using crosswalks.
  • CROSSING A ROAD: When crossing at any place other than a marked or unmarked crosswalk, pedestrians must give the right-ofway to drivers. This includes between closely spaced intersections where traffic signals are in operation.
  • ROADWAYS: Pedestrians must not walk on a roadway unless there is no sidewalk or shoulder next to it. Under these conditions, pedestrians should always walk as close to the outside edge of the road as possible. In two-way traffic, pedestrians should walk facing oncoming traffic.
  • JOGGERS and WALKERS: Joggers and walkers should use jogging paths when provided. On public roads, joggers should try to select wide roads with good shoulders. They should face oncoming traffic and remember to look and listen for cars. At night or anytime visibility is poor, joggers and walkers should be in well-lighted areas and wear reflective clothing.
  • MOVING VEHICLES: Pedestrians must not run or walk into the path of a moving vehicle.
  • EMERGENCY VEHICLES: Pedestrians should always yield to emergency and police vehicles using sirens and or flashing lights.
  • GATES and BARRIERS: Pedestrians must always obey railroad and bridge gates and other barriers.


On most roadways, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as other roadway users. Bicyclists are prohibited on limited-access highways, expressways and certain other marked roadways. You may obtain the “Bicycle Rules of the Road” at your local driver services facility. The following laws and safety tips should be kept in mind:

  • Bicyclists travel in the same direction as vehicles.
  • Drivers must yield the right-of-way to a bicyclist just as they would to another vehicle.
  • When traveling slower than traffic, bicyclists should ride as near the right edge of the roadway as conditions permit. However, certain hazards, such as rough surfaces or drainage grates, may require moving toward the center of the lane.
  • Bicyclists may make unexpected moves. Give them plenty of room and be prepared to stop quickly.
  • Bicyclists are often hard to see in traffic. Almost any type of crash will result in injury or death to the bicyclist.
  • The most dangerous hours are during times of poor visibility.
  • If a driver is turning right when a bicyclist is on the roadway, pass the bicyclist before reaching the turn or wait until the bicyclist has passed the corner, then turn. Remember to signal your turn.
  • To turn left, a bicyclist may choose to turn as a vehicle does. If there is a left turn lane, the bicyclist should ride on the right edge of the turn lane. The bicyclist may also choose a pedestrian-type, box left turn, in which he or she will proceed through the intersection and then cross the roadway in the new direction.

On the Web:
The complete Illinois Rules of the Road
Walking and biking in the Chicago area

last modified 7/19/2002   email Fermilab