Bicycle laws, like all traffic laws, are enforced at the state and local levels. In Arkansas, cyclists are expected to follow similar traffic laws and rules-of-the-road as their motorist counterparts. There are some laws, however, that are specific to those operating bicycles on public streets.
These state and local laws typically include provisions about helmets, rules against riding a bike on the public sidewalk, biking while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and others.
There are bicycle laws that have been criticized for making bikers (and pedestrians) less safe and include ordinances concerning bicyclists who ride on the sidewalk or walk their bikes across intersections. It’s important to note that bicycle laws can differ from one municipality to another and are not always as obvious as you might expect. If you are a bicyclist in Arkansas, you should familiarize yourself with laws along your regularly traveled routes.
Traffic violations you receive while riding a bicycle are handled the same as a moving violation in an automobile. Your ticket should indicate whether the violation involved a bicycle, and may involve a high fine, but will most likely not affect your automobile insurance.
Be aware also, that if you injure someone, or do damage to property while riding your bike, you will most likely be subject to the same penalties as the driver of an automobile. So, don’t take it lightly that your accident happened while you were on a bicycle. If you were injured or suffered property damage consult with a Little Rock personal injury attorney to make sure your rights are protected and that you get properly compensated for the harm done to you.
What Are the “Six Principles” in Arkansas Law Regarding a Cyclist?
The bicycle laws in Arkansas are divided into six general principles which allow you to follow state and local laws with ease.
Most of the documentation regarding the laws and how they apply to bicycles breaks down into these principles and makes them easy to understand.
These “principles” are as follows:
- Never drive on the left side of the sidewalk; always ride on the right. This is very much a principle; and it’s important to note, that it’s illegal to ride on the sidewalk in business districts in certain cities, such as Little Rock, North Little Rock, Hot Springs, that directly prohibit this action. North Little Rock directly prohibits bikes from all city sidewalks. So, it’s not against the law to ride on the sidewalk (unless you’re in one of these towns), but it’s a good idea not to for safety.
- Obey all traffic signals and traffic control devices.
- On main thoroughfares or large roads, always yield to crossing traffic.
- If you’re changing lanes or moving laterally on the road, yield to traffic in the new lane or your line of travel.
- When coming up on an intersection, position yourself to go in the direction you want to travel.
- Between intersections, make sure you are positioned correctly concerning your speed compared to other traffic so that you’re not blocking other vehicles.
All the actual traffic laws in place must also be followed, but they stem from or refer to these principles, meaning that if you understand these, you’re going to naturally follow the laws. Always remember, that much like the operator of a motorcycle, you are the vulnerable party! Always drive defensively, and with safety in mind. If you are hurt, make sure you consult with an experienced Little Rock personal injury lawyer that is versed in bicycle accidents.
Who is Liable for Bicycle Accidents in Little Rock?
In a case where a bicycle is hit by a car, the liability usually falls on either the motorist or the bicyclist, or both. A party is liable if the bicycle accident occurred because of their negligence.
For example, if you were hit while crossing an intersection by a vehicle running a red light, the motorist driving the car would most likely be held liable. This is because running a red light is negligent, consequently, the driver of the car can be held liable for the injuries that occurred because of their negligence.
If you were to hit a pedestrian on a sidewalk, you might be held liable if you were driving your bike too fast, or too erratically. The blame in most bicycle-car accident cases usually falls on the driver of the car, but not always.
If you were hurt in a bike accident, it is always in your best interests to consult with a Little Rock bike accident lawyer. You can then be assured to receive the professional advice you need in this possibly complex legal issue.
What Are Some Rather Odd Safety Laws for Bicyclists in Arkansas?
Arkansas has some specific laws for bicyclists that may seem odd at first. For example, a certain law specifies that you have a white headlight on the front of your bike and red taillight on the rear, visible from at least five hundred feet away. Also, the reflectors that come on your bike when you buy it may not be good enough.
You must use an active lighting system, so be prepared to do some possible replacements. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing of course, but it is oddly rigid compared to what’s missing:
- Children or adults are not required to wear a bike helmet while riding. In Little Rock and Fayetteville, however, it’s required that your bicycle is equipped with a bell or something else to warn pedestrians.
- You can ride on the sidewalks in many places, but it’s probably not a good idea. You can also ride on the left side of the road, but legally speaking, it’s also never a good idea.
- Usually, as a cyclist, you cannot cross at a crosswalk, but if you dismount at the crosswalk, you are a pedestrian and can cross.
There are more, and your lawyer will be able to make sure you know if you were in the right at the time of an accident.
I’ve Been in a Bicycle Accident, What Should I Do First?
If you’ve been in a bicycle-vehicle accident, you could be hurt severely, and you need to know all the in’s-and-outs of the bicycle laws. The Little Rock law firm of Denton & Zachary, PLLC has represented a myriad of Arkansas clients in bicycle cases. Consult with them first and take the first important step to get the compensation you deserve.