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Your Guide to Biking in Philadelphia

July 1, 2020

Cycling in Philadelphia is a great way to explore the city’s many scenic trails and parks, while also serving as an environmentally-friendly way to navigate from one neighborhood to another thanks to an ever-increasing collection of protected bike lanes.

Below you’ll find a few essential tips and regulations to keep in mind while riding, where to rent bikes throughout the city or join in on a bike tour, and a link to custom bike itineraries based on interest.

Rules for Biking in Philadelphia:

  • All cyclists on the road have the same rights and duties as drivers.
  • Cyclists must ride predictably, which includes properly signaling turns, riding with the flow of traffic and stopping at red lights and stop signs.
  • Philadelphia law requires a cyclist under the age of 12 to wear a helmet when riding, though helmets are strongly encouraged for all riders.
  • Riders over the age of 12 are not permitted to ride their bikes on the sidewalk; they must ride on the road. Remember to stay as close to the right-hand curb while riding on the street.
  • Philadelphia law bans the use of headphones and earplugs while riding a bike on the road.
  • Riders must ride single file when cycling on the road.
  • Between sunset and sunrise, a bike must have a front white light, a red rear reflector or red taillight and amber reflectors on each side.

For more information to help you safely bike in Philadelphia, consult the Philadelphia Streets Department’s website.

Photo courtesy of Indego.

Where to rent a bike:

Indego Bike Share Program

No bike? No problem! Philadelphia’s affordable and convenient bike share program, Indego, offers more than 100 stations throughout the city with both classic and electric bikes available. Rent a bike and explore Philadelphia, then return it to any station location. There are a variety of pass options available.

Wheel Fun Rentals

Rent individual, tandem or tag-a-long bikes for kids and adults for the day at their Boathouse Row location along the Schuylkill River Trail.

Bike Tours

Interested in exploring the city on two wheels, but would rather have someone show you the way? Sign up for a Philly Bike Tour and choose your difficulty, from easy to advanced. Wheel Fun Rentals also offers a self-guided bike tour map to help guide your journey.

Major bike lanes in Philadelphia:

  • East/West on Pine and Spruce Streets
  • Benjamin Franklin Parkway
  • North/South on Delaware Avenue from South Philadelphia to Fishtown
  • Spring Garden Street from Delaware Avenue to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
  • 5th and 6th Streets from Spring Garden Street to Chestnut Street
  • 13th Street from South Street to Buttonwood Street
  • 22nd Street from Race Street to Oregon Avenue

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia has an interactive online map which highlights various bike lanes and trails throughout the city.

Schuylkill River Trail along Kelly Drive. Photo by A. Sinagoga for PHLCVB.

Trails great for biking:

  • Fairmount Park: Here you can cycle on or off-road for miles, but be sure to ride up the hill to the Belmont Plateau in West Fairmount Park where you can rest while taking in the amazing view of the Philadelphia skyline.
  • Schuylkill River Trail: This paved scenic trail stretches along the river for 25 miles from South Philadelphia to Manayunk and winds past Boathouse Row along Kelly Drive. The section of the trail between South and Walnut Streets extends over the Schuylkill River on the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk.
  • Cobbs Creek Trail: This trail runs from 63rd and Market streets to 70th and Cobbs Creek, meandering through a heavily-treed forest, making for a quiet, one-with-nature kind of ride. Take the trail all the way to Bartram’s Garden, which is the oldest botanical garden in the U.S.

Custom Philadelphia bike itineraries:

With a focus on art, history, sweeping city views and nature, our custom itineraries offer scenic routes that can be enjoyed by bike. Click here to read more.

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