Ride Boldly!

Bikes, bicycling, and road safety.

Minnesota: Do Cyclists Need to Carry ID?

This week, Bob Mionske’s Legally Speaking column discussed the issue of cyclists needing to produce ID for law enforcement, particularly if said cyclists behave in ways they really shouldn’t — like, say, blowing stop signs. While the column discussed a Texas incident, the following caveat was included:

Keep in mind that this requirement will vary by state. For example, in California, if a person can’t produce a driver’s license or other government-issued I.D. when the officer has probable cause to make an arrest, state law requires the law enforcement officer to take that person into custodial arrest-that means the person is taken to jail instead of cited and released. Because identification laws will vary by state, it’s important for cyclists to know what’s required in whatever state they’re riding in.

Minnesota doesn’t seem to have such a requirement. Reading the column, and based on a past experience involving an officer who was really unclear on crosswalk law as it related to trail crossings and cars right-turning on red, I thought I’d check statute. This is what I found:

Every licensee shall have the license in immediate possession at all times when operating a motor vehicle and shall display it upon demand of a peace officer, an authorized representative of the department, or an officer authorized by law to enforce the laws relating to the operation of motor vehicles on public streets and highways. Unless the person is the holder of a limited license issued under section 171.30, no person charged with violating the possession requirement shall be convicted if the person produces in court or the office of the arresting officer a driver’s license previously issued to that person for the class of vehicle being driven which was valid at the time of arrest or satisfactory proof that at the time of the arrest the person was validly licensed for the class of vehicle being driven. The licensee shall also, upon request of any officer, write the licensee’s name in the presence of the officer to determine the identity of the licensee.

While bicycles have vehicular status in Minnesota, they are not motor vehicles. There is no license issued for their operation. Thus, I think it’s safe to say cyclists need not carry ID.

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Author: julie

Julie Kosbab is an online marketing consultant and active transportation advocate living in Anoka County, Minnesota. She was one of Minnesota's only League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructors when certified in 2005. She is a past member of the National Bicycle Tour Directors Association. She has 2 children and 4 bicycles. Find her on Twitter as @betweenstations.

One Comment

  1. Although carrying ID may not be required by Minnesota law, I always carry my ID and consider it to be a good practice in case of an accident or other unexpected situation where an ID may be helpful.