South Dakota Driver License Manual

South Dakota Driver License Manual (pgs. 58 – 59).

Sharing the Road

Everybody has a right to the roadway. Remember to be courteous and communicate your presence and intentions to avoid crashes.


Pedestrians are difficult to see, and it is difficult to determine their intentions.

As a driver: 

  • Always be prepared to yield to pedestrians even if they are not in a crosswalk.
  •  Yield to pedestrians crossing at intersections, even when a crosswalk is not marked.
  •  Always yield the right-of-way to persons who are visually impaired. When a pedestrian is crossing a street guided by a dog or carrying a white cane, come to a complete stop.
  •  Yield the right-of-way to all pedestrians in the intersection even if the traffic light is green.
  •  When making a right or left turn on red, be prepared to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.
  •  When driving next to parked or stopped vehicles, pedestrians can walk out between these vehicles. Slow down and do not pass until you are sure there are no pedestrians crossing in front of it.
  •  Check for pedestrians in your path before backing, especially in parking lots or places where there are many pedestrians.
  •  Be careful in playground and residential areas where children could run out from between parked vehicles. It is a good idea to drive slower than the speed limit in these areas and be prepared to stop quickly.
  •  In a school zone when lights are flashing or children are present, obey a slower speed limit. At a school crossing where there is traffic patrol, stop and yield if signaled to do so.


Bicycles are considered vehicles when on roadways. Bicyclists are required and expected to follow the same rules of the road as motorized vehicles. As a motorist, know that a bicyclist has the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities as you. Respect for each other will aid in the smooth flow of traffic.

Bicyclists may not be easily seen in traffic. Be alert for bicyclists and be extra careful when approaching them. Just as motorists have different levels of skill, bicyclists also have varying levels of skills. A skillful bicyclist rides predictably and holds a steady line. An unskillful bicyclist may swerve unpredictably, ignore traffic signs and signals, and ride without a light at night. If you see an unskillful bicyclist, be ready for any sudden movements.

As a driver:

  • Yield to bicyclists in intersections as you would for pedestrians and other vehicles.
  • Yield the right-of-way when a bicycle path or bike lane intersects a road. Do not stop, park, or drive on a designated bicycle path or lane unless entering or leaving an alley or driveway, performing official duties, directed by a police officer, or an emergency exists.
  • Allow as much space as possible and slow down when approaching or passing a bicyclist. You should slow down and let the cyclist clear the intersection before making the turn.
  • Avoid slowing down or stopping quickly. A motor vehicle’s brakes are more powerful than a bicycle’s and you could cause a crash.
  • Avoid sounding the horn close to bicyclists unless there is a chance of a crash. Sounding the horn to alert your presence may startle bicyclists and cause them to steer into your path and crash.
  • Watch carefully for bicyclists entering the lane. Be especially careful if you see children riding bikes on the sidewalk. They may come onto the road.
  • Avoid turning sharply in front of a bicyclists and do not force a bicyclist off the road.
  • Although bicyclists are required to ride in the direction of traffic, you should look for them riding anywhere on the roadway.
  • Be particularly careful around bicyclists when the roadway is wet or covered with sand or gravel. These conditions affect bicycles much more so than vehicles. 
  • Cooperate with bicyclists. They are required to use hand signals when turning and stopping. However, keep in mind that bicyclists may be unable to signal if road or traffic conditions require them to keep both hands on the handlebars. Look for other clues of a bicyclist’s intent, such as turning his or her head or looking over his or her shoulder before changing lane position.
  •  When parked on the street, check to the sides and rear for bicyclists before opening the vehicle door.
  • Check for bicyclists in the path before backing. Be especially cautious near schools or residential areas where bicyclists may be present.

When passing or overtaking a bicyclist, make sure to leave them plenty of room.

32-26-26.1. Overtaking bicycle–Minimum separation–Violation as misdemeanor. The driver of any motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction shall allow a minimum of a three foot separation between the right side of the driver’s vehicle, including any mirror or other projection, and the left side of the bicycle if the posted limit is thirty-five miles per hour or less and shall allow a minimum of six feet separation if the posted limit is greater than thirty-five miles per hour. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction may partially cross the highway centerline or the dividing line between two lanes of travel in the same direction if it can be performed safely. The driver of the motor vehicle shall maintain that separation until safely past the overtaken bicycle. A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Link to Bicycle Statutes:  Codified Law 32-20B | South Dakota Legislature (,

Link to Pedestrian Statutes:  Codified Law 32-27 | South Dakota Legislature (