Legal Framework: Bicycling Laws

Bicycling policy in Illinois affects everyone from the cyclists pedaling on our miles of trails, side-paths, and on-road facilities, to the students in our classrooms. Our legal statute reflects the diversity of our State's bicycle stakeholders and ensures that we advance safe and prudent non-motorized transportation policies. Review the current legal statutes related to bicycling in Illinois and discover how you fit into our Illinois Bicycling Legal Framework.

Federal Statute: MAP-21 and Title 23 of the United States Code

Federal statute has a significant impact on Illinois bicycling policies. Review federal transportation policy from an Illinois perspective.

Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21)

On July 6th, 2012, President Obama signed into the law the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), a two-year federal transportation funding and authorization bill. MAP-21 took effect on October 1st, 2012. Under MAP-21, three previously distinct non-motorized transportation programs are combined into a new Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP)

  • Transportation Enhancements (TE)
  • Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS)
  • Recreational Trails Program (RTP)

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration:

The Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) authorized under Section 1122 of MAP-21 (23 U.S.C. 213(b), 101(a)(29)) provides funding for programs and projects defined as transportation alternatives, including on- and off-road pedestrian and bicycle facilities, infrastructure projects for improving non-driver access to public transportation and enhanced mobility, community improvement activities, and environmental mitigation; recreational trail program projects; safe routes to school projects; and projects for the planning, design or construction of boulevards and other roadways largely in the right-of-way of former Interstate System routes or other divided highways (FHWA, Transportation Alternatives Interim Guidance).


In Map-21, Illinois received $28,340,786 for Transportation Alternatives. Governor Pat Quinn opted not to opt-out of Recreational Trails funding, meaning that $1,525,297 of the TAP total will be dedicated to the Recreational Trails Program.

The State will work to ensure that the remaining funding in the TA program is dedicated to non-motorized transportation and the continued success of our SRTS programming. The Department will also explore the ability to use Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) and Surface Transportation Program (STP) funding on non-motorized transportation initiatives.

U.S. Code: Title 23 - Highways

The Map-21 framework above joins preexisting bicycle and pedestrian provisions codified into U.S. Code : Title 23 - Highways. Chapter 2 (Other Highways) includes a section on "Bicycle transportation and pedestrian walkways".

23 USC § 217 -- Bicycle transportation and pedestrian walkways

Illinois Legal Framework


Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield, IL. Image Courtesy of Terry Farmer photography.


  • Illinois Bikeway Act (605 ILCS 30)
    • Designates the Illinois Department of Transportation, as the State agency responsible for developing and coordinating a State-wide bikeways program and shall officially designate bikeways throughout the State.
    • Establishes the Inter-Agency Bikeway Coordinating Working Group (IBCWG)
  • 'Complete Streets' Legislation (P.A. 95-0665 amends 605 ILCS 5: Illinois Highway Code)
    • Provides that bicycle and pedestrian facilities shall be established in conjunction with the construction, reconstruction, or other change of any State transportation facility in urban areas
    • Provides that bicycle and pedestrian ways may be included in pavement resurfacing projects depending on local support and the scope of the original roadwork
    • Directs the Illinois Department of Transportation to establish design and construction standards for bicycle and pedestrian ways
  • 'Share the Road' License Plate Legislation (625 ILCS 5/3-689) (P.A. 96-1006)
    • Directs the Secretary of State to create 'Share the Road' specialty license plates
    • Creates the 'Share the Road' fund with license plate registration fees to support educational programming from the League of Illinois Bicyclists


July 5, 2010, Governor Quinn signed a bill into law that will keep bicyclists safer on Illinois roads by making it illegal for automobile drivers to crowd bikers. Governor Quinn also signed legislation that will create a specialty license plate to educate the public about sharing the road with cyclists.