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Breaking the Cycle

Download the paper (pdf).

Reevaluating the laws that prevent safe and inclusive biking.

Many of the rules that regulate what people riding bikes can do, where they can be, and what equipment they need have been justified under the pretext of public safety. But across the U.S., these bike laws often fail to improve safety while leading to harmful over-policing that disproportionately punishes Black, Latine/x, low-income and unhoused bike riders.

Breaking the Cycle: Reevaluating the Laws that Prevent Safe and Inclusive Biking is a resource designed to help policymakers, planners, and advocates understand the adverse impacts resulting from the biased enforcement of bicycling laws, and to provide guidance on decriminalizing biking in cities. The paper identifies commonly-enforced biking laws, policies, and rules, and offers recommended practices for how to refocus these laws, rules and procedures on the safety and well-being of all road users.

Breaking the Cycle is the second in a series of working papers developed by NACTO with our member cities to address the most critical gaps in bikeway design guidance, as part of a long-awaited update to the Urban Bikeway Design Guide. Lessons learned since the Guide was first published a decade ago will be shared over the coming months, and in 2023, NACTO will codify them into a new, third edition of the Urban Bikeway Design Guide.

Download Breaking the Cycle: Reevaluating the Laws that Prevent Safe and Inclusive Biking (pdf) >

Read the press release >

NACTO’s Cities for Cycling Program >