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Arizona Bicycle Laws

Arizona Bicycle Laws

Compared to other states, Arizona tends to have simpler bicycle laws. In fact, there are a few things you can do while biking in Arizona that other states would not allow you to do. Some cities do not mandate bike carriers. You may ride on the sidewalk and even use your mobile phone at times. Nonetheless, it makes sense to learn Arizona’s bike regulations so that you know what you can and cannot do while cycling throughout the state.

Legal Definition of a Bicycle

You can find all of the local bicycle laws in Title 28, Chapter 11 of the Arizona Revised Statutes. The state legislation collectively defines the bicycle as:

  • A device upon which a person may ride
  • Propelled exclusively by human power through a belt, chain, or gears
  • Having one or more wheels

This definition sets the stage for understanding the rights and responsibilities of cyclists in the state. 

Applicability of Traffic Laws to Arizona Bicycle Riders

Just because you’re operating a foot pedal doesn’t make you any different from drivers of automobiles. Simply put, bicycles are still subject to the same road regulations as cars, trucks, and buses. According to the law:

“A. A person riding a bicycle on a roadway or on a shoulder adjoining a roadway is granted all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle…”

Riding on Roadways

The Arizona law requires cyclists to ride as close to the right-hand side of the roadway as possible. However, there are exceptions to this rule. Cyclists are allowed to move left to:

  • Avoid hazards
  • When preparing to make a left turn
  • When overtaking slower-moving vehicles

Bicycle Lanes and Paths

Many cities in Arizona have designated bicycle lanes or paths. Cyclists must use these facilities when provided, but they are not mandatory. You can find specific local ordinances related to bicycle lanes and paths in various municipalities.

Riding Two Abreast

Cyclists are generally allowed to ride two abreast in a single lane. However, they must not impede nor slow down the normal and reasonable movement of traffic. If doing so, they must move to single-file formation when a vehicle approaches from behind and wishes to pass. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to give a friendly wave when drivers pass and give you plenty of clearance, as the ADOT suggests. 

Signals and Signaling

Hand signals are a must for communication on the road. Cyclists should use appropriate hand signals to indicate their intentions to turn or stop:

  • A left arm extended horizontally signals a left turn. 
  • A left arm extended downward signals stopping or slowing down. 
  • A right arm extended horizontally signals a right turn.

Lights and Reflectors

When riding at night, cyclists must equip their bicycles with:

  • A front white light that is visible from at least 500 feet
  • A rear red reflector visible from between 50 and 300 feet 
  • A rear red light may also be used in place of, or in addition to, the rear red reflector

Helmet Laws

While Arizona does not have a statewide helmet law for adults, some local ordinances may require helmet use for minors. It’s important to check local regulations to ensure compliance. It is still good to wear a helmet at all times, of course, as studies report that around 85% of brain injuries can be prevented by wearing a helmet.

Rules for Motorists

Motorists must also be aware of their responsibilities when sharing the road with cyclists. They must:

  • Maintain a safe distance when passing cyclists
  • Avoid opening car doors into the path of a cyclist
  • Exercise caution when turning across a bicycle lane

DUI Laws

Cyclists can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) if they are found to be operating a bicycle while impaired. Arizona’s DUI laws apply to all vehicles, including bicycles.

Electric Bicycles (E-Bikes)

Arizona has specific laws regarding electric bicycles (e-bikes). They are classified into three classes based on their maximum speed and power output. Each class has different regulations regarding: 

  • Where they can be ridden
  • Whether helmets are required
  • Whether they can use bicycle lanes or paths

Class 1 and 2 e-bikes are generally treated more like traditional bicycles, while Class 3 e-bikes have more restrictions.

 

Understanding Arizona’s bicycle laws is very important especially for those dealing with personal injury cases. If you happen to be one of them, you may be entitled to compensation if the accident was not your fault. A bicycle accident lawyer can assist you in pursuing compensation. For instance, your injuries may be covered by the driver’s auto insurance if you are struck by a car. Or, you may be entitled to compensation from the local council if you sustained injuries from a poorly maintained road. Lastly, keep in mind that local ordinances may differ and change over time, so it’s important to find out about the relevant rules in the jurisdiction where your case is located.

 

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