Biking and Walking FAQs

The Vermont Agency of Transportation's Bicycle Commuter Guide has lots of great tips for riding on the road. A great way to gain experience and confidence is to ride with a more experienced rider. To connect with a local cyclist, join us for free pizza and lively discussion at the Burlington Bicycle Council meetings. The BBC meets at DPW at 5:30 p.m. on the 1st Wednesday of every month.

Drivers must yield to pedestrians at unsignalized crosswalks, at traffic-control signals that are not in operation, or when making a turn at traffic-control signals when pedestrians have the "walk" signal. However, pedestrians must yield to vehicles under the following situations: at any unmarked crossing, at unsignalized crosswalks when vehicles are too close to yield safely, and at traffic-control signals when the "do not walk" signal is illuminated.

Burlington's City ordinance allows cyclists of any age to ride on the sidewalks throughout most of the City. However, only children under the age of 16 are permitted to ride on the sidewalks within the "Inner Fire District." No one is permitted to cycle on the sidewalks within Burlington's City Center, including the Church Street Marketplace. Sidewalk stencils have been placed within the City Center to indicate where bicycles may not be ridden on the sidewalks. If you choose to ride on the sidewalks, please remember that sidewalks are designed for pedestrian traffic, not bicycles. Ride at slower speeds than you would on the street. Be prepared to stop at driveways and intersections, and obey WALK/DON'T WALK lights at signalized interstections. Remember, pedestrians always have the right of way on sidewalks. Be courteous when approaching pedestrians from behind. Alert them to your presence by ringing a bell or saying that you are passing them. Some bicyclists feel safer riding on sidewalks than on the street. While riding on the sidewalk may feel more pleasant than being passed by motor vehicles, conflicts between motorists and bicyclists at intersections and driveways are compounded. Ride defensively, always check for cars entering/exiting driveways, and use caution when crossing the street at an intersection. Riding in the same direction as traffic will improve your chances of being seen by a motorist.

Under Vermont State law, bicycles are considered vehicles and must signal before turning, decreasing speed, or stopping.

  • To make a left turn: extend your left hand and arm horizontally.
  • To make a right turn: extend your left hand and arm upward, bent at the elbow.
  • To indicate a decrease in speed or a stop: extend your left hand and arm downward.

Yes. Vermont State Law requires that bicycles be equipped with a white light on the front, visible from 500' away, and a red reflector on the rear, visible from 300' away. A red, illuminated rear light is not required, but it is suggested for added safety. If a rear light is used, it should be in addition to a rear reflector, not a replacement.

In the greater Burlington area, the Burlington Bicycle Map is your best resource. Contact the Bicycle & Pedestrian Planner to find out where to get your copy.

If you witness dangerous behavior or an accident, please record where and when the incident occurred, who was involved (as much detail as you can obtain), what happened, and please be prepared to provide your name, address, and contact phone number. Once you have this information, contact the Police Department at 658-2704

All maintenance requests should be directed to DPW Customer Service by email or at 863-9094

The Champlain Valley Agency on Aging pairs seniors with volunteers who can shovel walks and drives (no roofs) in the Burlington area.  Call (802) 865-0360 or 1-800-642-5119.  Outside Burlington, call 211 for assistance.

First, ensure that you know what the crossing signals mean. Misinterpreting the crossing signals is a common cause of discomfort for many people. Pedestrian crossing signals are illustrated here. If you're following the pedestrian crossing signals but feel that an intersection simply doesn't allow enough time to cross safely, call DPW at 863-9094

Of course! Try the following websites, or join us at the Burlington Bicycle Council meetings.

Call the Burlington Police Department at 802-658-2704 and ask for Parking Enforcement

Wearing a helmet is not required in Vermont, but it is highly recommended for cyclists of all ages. If you are in an accident, wearing a helmet will significantly lower your risk of brain injury or death.

There are several advocacy groups in the Burlington area:

  • The Burlington Walk Bike Council is an all-volunteer advisory council to the City of Burlington, who works closely with the Department of Public Works and the Department of Parks & Recreation on infrastructure improvements and policy changes for bicycling and walking. The council also leads advocacy efforts and organizes events and activities that promote and celebrate walking and biking in Burlington and beyond. Anyone interested in making Burlington a better and safer place for bicycling and walking is encouraged to attend our meetings on the 4th Thursday of each month in City Hall Room 12. Visit their website for more information.
  • Local Motion is a Greater Burlington, VT 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to "promote bicycling, walking, running, inline skating and the facilities that make sure travel safe, easy and fun."
  • The Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition's mission is to promote bicycling and walking in Vermont, emphasizing access, safety, and education. They hold this vision, that as a result of our work, public attitudes and policies will create an environment across the state that promotes bicycling and walking as safe and valued modes of transportation and recreation.