Like many other states, Arizona considers bicyclists to have the same rights and responsibilities as all other motor vehicle drivers in the state. This means vehicle drivers should afford cyclists the same care and attention as they would to other drivers. It also means cyclists have the same responsibilities as other drivers.
If you ride a bicycle in Arizona for leisure, exercise, or as an alternative means of transportation, it is essential to know and follow the state’s laws for bicyclists.
Cyclists’ Responsibilities as Drivers
Since Arizona law considers bicyclists on par with motor vehicle drivers, it is essential for bicyclists to follow many of the same rules of the road as drivers. Arizona Revised Statutes 28-812 dictates the state’s consideration of bicycles as vehicles for most legal purposes and the applicability of traffic laws to bicyclists.
- A bicyclist has the right of way. A bicyclist may take a lane as long as he or she can maintain a speed that does not interrupt the flow of traffic. Bicycles may not travel on interstate highways or some state routes with higher speed limits.
- Bicyclists should keep to bike lanes whenever and wherever possible. Arizona Revised Statutes 28-815 outlines appropriate road and bike path use for cyclists in Arizona.
- Bicyclists must come to complete stops at red lights and stop signs and proceed accordingly.
- Bicyclists must signal for turns. Extending an arm in the direction you wish to turn is a good way to signal. Extending an arm down to one side indicates to trailing drivers that you intend to slow down or stop.
- Any bicyclist moving slower than regular traffic should keep to the right lane or as far to the right as space allows.
- Bicyclists must follow all posted lane signals such as turn-only lanes just as they would while driving.
Ultimately, bicyclists must follow the same rules of the road they would if they were driving motor vehicles. Failure to do so can not only lead to serious injuries but also lead to legal problems for the bicyclist.
Specific Laws for Bicyclists
In addition to following the rules of the road for motor vehicles, bicyclists in Arizona must also meet the state’s laws pertaining to appropriate gear, conduct, and bicycle safety.
- If you ride at night, Arizona law requires you to have a white headlight visible from 500 feet or more and a rear red reflector visible from 50 to 300 feet or rear red taillight visible from 500 feet.
- Although Arizona does not have a statewide bicycle helmet law, Tucson, Yuma, and Sierra Vista all uphold strict helmet requirements for bicyclists under the age of 18. While bicycle helmets may not be required, wearing one significantly reduces the risk of death or serious injury in a bicycle accident.
- Arizona Revised Statutes Section 28-813 requires all cyclists to use only a permanent seat attached to a bicycle and refrain from carrying more people on a bicycle than intended.
- Arizona Revised Statutes Section 28-814 restricts bicyclists and other non-motor vehicle operators from attaching to another vehicle on the roadway.
- Arizona Revised Statutes Section 28-816 restricts bicyclists from carrying articles in their hands while operating bicycles.
- In some areas, bicyclists may ride on sidewalks and through crosswalks. Unless local ordinances forbid it, cyclists may travel on sidewalks regardless of the direction of traffic as long as they exercise the same care and attention they would as pedestrians. When traveling on sidewalks, bicyclists must stop at crosswalks as they would while walking.
Check your local bicycle laws in your area to ensure you stay legal and safe on your bike in Arizona. Following Arizona’s bicycle laws helps prevent legal penalties and limits your risk of a serious accident.
When a bicyclist has an accident with a motor vehicle, the bicyclist is at a greater risk of suffering severe injuries. When a bicycle accident happens in Arizona, due to negligence or defective parts, contact the Phoenix bicycle accident attorneys at Begam Marks & Traulsen, P.A. Our attorneys offer free consultations.