Bicycling and the Law in Jackson Hole, WY

By: Forest Dramis

As autumn encroaches on daylight and we are forced to ride into the twilight, dusk and dark, I took to the Interwebs to research what the laws regarding bicycle lights and riding at dark are. In my research I found some interesting and obscure facts that I didn't know about. And one specific law that I'm pretty sure no one knows about. 

The following laws are applicable to all bicycles operated in Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park and the Town of Jackson.

In Wyoming bicycles are vehicles according to the statute that defines vehicles and a person riding a bicycle has all of the rights and duties of a driver of a vehicle, except for special regulations specific to bicycles and those provisions that by their nature can have no application. Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§31-5-102(a)(lviii); 31-5-702

Bicycling Under the Influence: Wyoming's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to all vehicles and therefore applies to bicyclists. Bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and operating a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances may result in severe punishments. Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§31-5-102; 31-5-233

Passing a Cyclist:  Wyoming requires that the driver of a motor vehicle overtaking and passing a bicycle, which is operating lawfully, proceeding in the same direction shall, when space allows, maintain at least a three (3) foot separation between the right side of the driver's motor vehicle, including all mirrors and other projections from the motor vehicle, and the bicycle. Wyo. Stat. Ann. §31-5-203(c)

Distracted Driving Law:  Wyoming currently requires that no person operate a motor vehicle on a public street or highway while using a handheld electronic wireless communication device to write, send or read a text-based communication, subject to limited exceptions. Wyo. Stat. Ann. §31-5-237

Right Side of Road: Wyoming requires that every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction. Wyo. Stat. Ann. §31-5-704

Dooring Law: Wyoming requires that no person open any door on a motor vehicle unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic. In addition, no person shall leave a door open on a side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers. Wyo. Stat. Ann. §31-5-121

Stop Lights & Stop Signs:
All bicycles are required to come to a complete stop at all stop signs and stop lights. This applies whether you are riding in a bike lane or a road lane.

Right of Way/Pedestrians: As vehicles under Wyoming State Law, all bicycles are required to obey all right of way laws. Bicycles therefore must yield to pedestrians. Bicycles must yield to school buses.

Required Equipment: Bicycles must be equipped with a white light on the front and a red light on the rear, operational, when being operated at night. 

Number of Riders: No more than one person may ride on a bike unless the bike is designed for more than one rider (such as a tandem bicycle), or unless it is fitted with a child bike seat or trailer.

Riding on Roadways: Like cars bicycles are required to be ridden “as near to the right side of the roadway as practical” and must be ridden in the same direction as the prevailing vehicle traffic. Bicycles may be ridden two abreast if there is room to do so without impeding the other vehicle traffic. 

Hand Signals: Cyclists are required to use hand signals indicating a turn or stopping.

Cell Phones: Jackson's ban on using cell phones without a hands-free device while operating a vehicle applies to bicycles as well as motor vehicles.

Carrying Items: Cyclists are forbidden from carrying items in their hand.

And now for the weirdness.....  
Bicycles may not be ridden within a two-block radius of the Town Square. (Edit: The TofJ police dept bike law information page is erroneous with respect to this law. It should read: Bicycles may not be ridden ON THE SIDEWALK within a two-block radius of the Town Square.)


Operating a bicycle abreast of another bicycle is prohibited. Single file only on Park roads.
Bicyclists must obey all traffic laws and signs.
Bicycles are allowed on paved and unpaved roads open to motorized vehicles.
Between sunset and sunrise an operator or bicycle must have a white light that is visible from at least 500 feet to the front, and a red light or reflector that is visible from at least 200 feet to the rear.
Bicycles are NOT allowed on trails or in backcountry areas.
Pets are NOT allowed on multi-user pathways

Sources:, Town of Jackson, US Dept. of Interior, Grand Teton NP