The coming of spring and summer encourages many Ohio cyclists to get back on their bikes. As we take to the roads and trails, we all want to keep ourselves as safe as possible. For many cyclists, this includes donning high-visibility clothing, reflectors, and the brightest lights we can find. Cyclists often choose to go above and beyond the basic requirements set by Ohio law, but we should all be aware of the minimum visibility devices required by the state law.
Ohio Revised Code § 4511.56(A)(1)-(3) list the following items that must be used to increase cyclist visibility under certain conditions:
(A) Every bicycle or electric bicycle when in use at the times specified in section 4513.03 of the Revised Code, shall be equipped with the following:
(1) A lamp mounted on the front of either the bicycle or electric bicycle or the operator that shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least five hundred feet to the front and three hundred feet to the sides. A generator-powered lamp that emits light only when the bicycle or electric bicycle is moving may be used to meet this requirement.
(2) A red reflector on the rear that shall be visible from all distances from one hundred feet to six hundred feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle;
(3) A lamp emitting either flashing or steady red light visible from a distance of five hundred feet to the rear shall be used in addition to the red reflector. If the red lamp performs as a reflector in that it is visible as specified in division (A)(2) of this section, the red lamp may serve as the reflector and a separate reflector is not required.
Notably, Ohio Revised Code § 4511.56(B) allows the cyclist to go beyond the basics visibility requirements (with some exceptions):
(B) Additional lamps and reflectors may be used in addition to those required under division (A) of this section, except that red lamps and red reflectors shall not be used on the front of the bicycle or electric bicycle and white lamps and white reflectors shall not be used on the rear of the bicycle or electric bicycle.
Local laws may provide additional requirements or even conflict with state law. So, be sure to check your municipality for additional requirements and be aware of all signal devices required under Ohio law.