Using a bicycle is a cost-effective method of transportation. There are some things you should know before you use one on campus. Please take time to check out the regulations and registration information available on this Web site.

Bicycle Registration

To help prevent theft and to help recover your bicycle if it is stolen, we encourage you to register your bicycle with the University Police. Registration is free.

Registration is easy to do; here’s how:

  • Complete a bicycle registration card at the MSU Police Department.
  • Make sure you include the serial number so that your bike can be traced.
  • Affix the registration decal to the frame of your bicycle.

It’s that easy to protect your bike.


The purpose of the Montana State University bicycle program is to promote an environment in which bicycles, pedestrians, and motor vehicles can safely co-exist. Bicycles are an efficient, enjoyable, and environmentally sound way to travel around campus, and we encourage the safe and courteous use of bicycles. The following is provided to inform bicycle riders of important information regarding bicycle use at Montana State University-Bozeman.

If you ride a bicycle at MSU, please take a few moments to become familiar with this information.

Bicycle Regulations

  1. Table of Contents
  2. Introduction
  3. Definitions
  4. General Regulations
  5. Bicycle Registration
  6. Regulations
  7. Traffic Violations
  8. Parking Violations
  9. Impoundment


I. Introduction

  1. The University Bicycle Program
    The program is a section of the Vehicle Regulations of MSU.
  2. Purpose
    To set forth the regulations that govern the use of bicycles, and to promote the safe operation of bicycles on campus.
  3. Scope
    University bicycle regulations are issued supplemental to all applicable state laws and city ordinances. Users of the Montana State University campus are advised that City of Bozeman ordinances regulating bicycles will be enforced in addition to these regulations. These regulations are in effect at all times, including vacations, weekends, and other times when school is not in session, and apply to all persons operating a bicycle on the university campus. It shall be the duty of the Montana State University Police Department, unless otherwise provided herein, to enforce these regulations.

Theft Prevention

  • Bicycle theft is a nationwide problem, particularly on university campuses. Unfortunately, MSU it not immune to this problem.
  • Bicycles are among the most frequently stolen type of property at MSU. Most of the bicycles stolen at MSU are either UNLOCKED or secured with POOR QUALITY LOCKS at the time of the theft.
  • It takes only a few seconds for a thief to get away with your bicycle when it is left unlocked.
  • Here are some suggestions which may help you in preventing a bicycle theft:
    • KEEP your bicycle locked at all times. Check with a bicycle dealer for an appropriate lock.
    • ALWAYS secure the bicycle to a bicycle rack! If your bicycle is not secured to a solid object, all a thief has to do is pick it up and carry it away. This has happened before, don’t let it happen to you.
    • REGISTER your bicycle with the MSU Police. This provides important information to help recover your bicycle if it is stolen, and helps the police get it back to you if it is recovered.
    • REPORT SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY — particularly persons loitering around bicycle racks.


Ride Safely

  • Scan the road behind. Learn to look back over your shoulder without losing your balance or swerving left. Some riders use rear-view mirrors. Always look back before changing lanes or changing positions within your lane, and only move when no other vehicle is in your way.
  • Go slow on sidewalks and bicycle paths. Pedestrians have the right-of-way. By law you must give pedestrians audible warning when you pass. Don’t cross driveways or intersections without slowing to walker’s pace and looking very carefully for traffic from behind, especially traffic turning right.
  • Ride in a straight line whenever possible. Ride with the traffic. Keep to the right, but stay about a car door-width away from parked cars.
  • Avoid road hazards. Watch out for parallel-slat sewer grates, slippery manhole covers, oily pavement, gravel, and ice. Cross railroad tracks and speed bumps carefully at right angles.
  • Choose the best way to turn left. There are two ways to make a left turn: 1) Like an auto, signal, move into the left lane, and turn left. 2) Like a pedestrian, head directly to the far-side crosswalk. Walk your bicycle across.
  • Obey traffic signs and signals. Cyclists must behave like other vehicles if they are to be taken seriously by motorists.
  • Ride a well-equipped bicycle. Always use a strong headlight and taillight at night and when visibility is poor. Be sure your bicycle is adjusted to fit you properly. For safety and efficiency, outfit it with bells, rear-view mirrors, fenders (for rainy rides), and racks, baskets or bicycle bags.


II. Definitions

  1. Bicycle
    Bicycle means a device upon which any person may ride, propelled by human power through a belt, chain, or gears, and having one or more wheels.
  2. Pedestrian Walkway
    A pedestrian walkway is a route utilized for pedestrian travel. Any surface not deemed bicycle way or roadway shall be considered a “walkway.”
  3. Impoundment
    Impoundment means towing, storage, and/or locking with university lock.
  4. Dual-Use Area
    Dual-use areas are pathways upon which both bicycles and pedestrians are permitted. Pedestrians always have right-of-way in dual use area.
  5. Bicycle Path
    Bicycle paths are pathways designated for bicycles and upon which bicycles have right-of-way.
  6. Registration Decal
    Montana State University issued registration decal is a uniquely numbered adhesive sticker supplied as evidence of a bicycle registration and designed for attachment to the registered bicycle as indication of its registration.
  7. Regulatory Sign
    A regulatory sign means all traffic control devices, signs, signals, and markings, placed or erected for the purpose of regulating, warning or guiding traffic and parking.

III. General Regulations

  1. Montana State University assumes no responsibility for the care and protection of any bicycle, attached accessories, or contents at any time. However, bicycle theft prevention information is available through the Montana State University Police Department.
  2. Bicycles parked on campus must be parked in a bicycle rack.
  3. Parking a bicycle in any manner which creates a hazard or impedes access will be subject to immediate impoundment.

IV. Bicycle Registration

  1. Decal Fees
      Bicycle registration is a free service provided by the MSU Police Department.
  2. Registration Procedure
    1. Montana State University bicycle registration decals are available through the MSU Police Department.
    2. The bicycle registration card must be completed and the serial number must be provided to the MSU Police Department.
  3. Display of Decals
        Registration decals should be attached to the frame of the bicycle.

V. Regulations

  1. Pedestrians have the right-of-way in dual-use areas.
  2. A bicycle shall stay to the right when on a designated dual-use area.
  3. On any dual-use area a bicyclist, when ready to pass or change direction of travel in any way, must do so safely.
  4. Every person operating a bicycle is required by Section 61-8-602 of Montanan Codes Annotated to obey the same traffic regulations as the driver of an automobile.
  5. A light must be used when traveling at night. Per Montana Statute, bicycles must be equipped with a “ ...lamp in front which is visible for a distance of 500 feet... ” and a reflector on the rear “... which shall be visible from 500 feet to the rear ...”
  6. No person shall park, store, or leave a bicycle in such a manner as to cause said bicycle to block or otherwise impede normal entrance to or exit from any building on campus, or in a manner that constitutes a safety hazard. 

VI. Traffic Violations

The following are violations of Montana State University’s Bicycle Regulations:

Violations - Violators may be subject to penalties.

  1. Operating a bicycle in excess of posted speed limits.
  2. Operating a bicycle on pedestrian walkways.
  3. Operating a bicycle in a careless manner on bicycle paths, dual-use areas, and/or roadways, without due regard to safety with respect to visibility, local traffic, weather, and surface conditions, or in a manner that endangers the safety of any person or property.
  4. Failure to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian on a dual-use area or roadway.
  5. Failure to obey parking and traffic control devices, signs, and/or equipment.
  6. Failing to heed lawful directions of a Montana State University Police Officer.

VII. Parking Violations

The following are violations of Montana State University’s Bicycle Regulations:

Violations - Bicycles parked in violation of this section are subject to impoundment.

  1. Parking outside any bicycle rack.
  2. Parking on or locked to trees, or other living objects, railings, fences, posts, signs, fire hydrants, trash receptacles.
  3. Parking in or on any service drive, building entrance, driveway, bicycle way, ramp, or any other passageway to which emergency equipment, wheelchairs, pedestrians, or service equipment may need access.
  4. Parking inside a building.
  5. Parking in a posted, reserved, or restricted area.

VIII. Impoundment

Any MSU Police Officer or other person authorized specifically by the Chief of Police may move, relocate, or impound any bicycle by removal of the bicycle’s securing devices as necessary. The following are reasons a bicycle may be impounded:

  1. Blocking or otherwise impeding traffic in any street, highway, roadway, path or sidewalk, stairway, or handicapped access rail, or creates any safety hazard. Bicycles not in a rack are subject to impoundment.
  2. Blocking or impeding normal entrance to or exit from any building on the University.
  3. Abandoned or apparently abandoned.
  4. Has been reported stolen to a law enforcement agency.
  5. Impedes performance, maintenance, or construction to University property.
  6. The University or University Police officials authorized to remove and impound a bicycle shall not be liable to the owner of the bicycle for damage or the cost of repair or replacement of any securing device.
  7. Any bicycle impounded pursuant to any section of this chapter shall be stored in a secure facility designed for such purpose by the Chief of Police.



Many students on campus have disabilities which limit their hearing, vision, or mobility. They may not be able to see or hear your approach, or be able to quickly move out of the way of a speeding bicycle. THEIR SAFETY DEPENDS ON YOUR COURTESY! When passing pedestrians, please bear this in mind.

Handicapped access rails have been provided near the entrances to many buildings to help people with disabilities to get into those buildings. The visually impaired use them as a guide to the door, and people with impaired mobility use them for support and balance. Bicycles chained to access rails effectively block certain people from being able to get into the building, and disabled students have been injured over carelessly placed bicycles. Even under the best of circumstances, it can be a challenge for some students to get around campus — please don’t add to their difficulty. Never chain a bicycle to a handicapped access rail.