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Bicycle Laws in Arkansas Explained

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Posted on Friday, March 1st, 2024 at 9:00 am    

Bicycle Laws in Arkansas Explained image

Many people in Fort Smith and across Arkansas enjoy riding bicycles, whether for convenience, fitness, or pleasure. Cycling can benefit your mental health, the environment, and your gas budget. However, cyclists are highly vulnerable to accidents with inattentive drivers, and the resulting injuries can be life-threatening. It is essential that cyclists and motorists obey all Arkansas bicycle laws to keep themselves and other road users safe. Here is what you need to know about bicycle riding in Arkansas. 

Are Bicycles Considered Vehicles in Arkansas?

Bicycles are not considered vehicles in Arkansas. Nevertheless, bicyclists on the road have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. They must, for example, ride on the right side of the road, yield the right of way to pedestrians, and signal their intentions to maneuver.

However, a cyclist’s requirement to uphold the duties of a motorist is nullified in the following two situations:

  • If a bicycle-specific law contradicts a traffic law that applies to motorists or
  • If a law applying to motorists cannot logically apply to a bicyclist

 Do Bicyclists Have to Obey Red Lights and Stop Signs in Arkansas?

Since the passage of Act 650 in 2019, Arkansas law has permitted bicyclists to use red lights as stop signs and stop signs as yield signs. However, they must continue to yield to pedestrians and to any oncoming traffic that presents an immediate hazard. This legislation is intended to give cyclists a head start at intersections. It also encourages them to use less busy side streets rather than cycling on high-traffic main roads. 

Can I Bicycle on the Sidewalk?

In Arkansas, no statewide law prohibits bicyclists from riding on sidewalks. However, local municipalities may have their own ordinances that restrict or prohibit sidewalk riding. It is essential to research the specific regulations in your area. When riding on sidewalks, bicyclists must always yield the right of way to pedestrians and give an audible signal before passing.

Are There Any Helmet Laws in Arkansas?

Arkansas does not have a statewide helmet law for bicyclists. However, some cities and counties may have local ordinances requiring helmet use, particularly for children under a certain age. Regardless of the law, wearing a helmet is always recommended as it can significantly reduce the risk of head injuries in the event of an accident.

While not wearing a helmet does not bar you from filing a claim or lawsuit after a bicycle accident, it can potentially affect the outcome of your case. If you sustained head injuries in an accident and were not wearing a helmet, the at-fault driver’s insurer may argue that your injuries would have been less severe or avoided altogether had you been wearing one. This argument, which could support a reduced amount of compensation under Arkansas’s pure comparative fault law, can be used to reduce the amount of compensation you receive or, in some cases, bar recovery altogether.

However, a bicyclist’s failure to wear a helmet does not excuse negligent behavior by motorists. If you were injured while riding your bike, an experienced bicycle accident attorney can help you recover the maximum compensation available in your claim. 

What Bicycle Safety Laws Apply to Motorists?

Bicycle Laws in Arkansas Explained image 2Motor vehicle operators must treat cyclists with the same level of respect that they should afford all motorists. Additionally, drivers must maintain a distance of at least three feet between their vehicle and a bicyclist. If it is not possible to give a cyclist three feet of space when passing, the driver should wait until the road widens before attempting to overtake.

Furthermore, motorists must yield the right of way to cyclists using crosswalks.

In addition to traffic citations, drivers who fail to adhere to these laws may be liable for any resulting injuries from accidents they cause.

Contact an Experienced Arkansas Bicycle Accident Attorney Today 

Keeping cyclists safe on Arkansas roads is everybody’s responsibility. If you have suffered injuries in a bicycle accident due to another party’s negligence, you have the right to file a claim to recover compensation for injury-related expenses and other losses. Working with an experienced Arkansas bicycle accident lawyer can maximize your chances of getting the full and fair compensation you deserve.

The seasoned legal team at McCutchen Napurano - The Law Firm has fought on behalf of injured Arkansans since 1991, and our track record demonstrates our commitment to success. Let us give you the support and advocacy you deserve at this challenging time. Call us today at (479) 783-0036 or contact us online for a free consultation with one of our bicycle accident lawyers in Fort Smith.