With sunny skies and clear, though warm, weather, Mesa is home to a lot of full-time bicyclists. Whether they’re for riding for fun or commuting to work or school, bicycles remain a popular mode of transportation throughout the metro area. And while many riders take the precaution of wearing helmets and other safety equipment, there are even more that do not. However, bicycle accidents can lead to some pretty serious injuries and even fatalities. This is why it is so important for bike riders to follow Arizona’s bicycle laws and stay protected. Here are some of the biggest rules of the road for bicyclists to follow:
Why the Fuss about Bicycle Helmets?
If you did not think it’s that important to wear a helmet, consider this fact: bicycle accidents claim about 25 lives per year according to a report published by the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. Even with this statistic, there is no federal law requiring helmets for bicyclists. Instead, it has been left up to individual cities and states to take matters into their own hands. The first Arizona bicycle helmet enforcement law started in 1993 in Tucson (Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute). It is limited to those under age 18. Other cities that later followed Tucson’s model includes Flagstaff, Sierra Vista, Yuma, and Pima County. It is rare to find a law requiring persons over the age of 18 to wear a helmet, but it does exist in certain states and cities. Some state or city laws also extend helmet requirements to motor scooters, off-road bikes, skateboards, and inline skates.
Are You Using the Right Bicycle Protective Gear for Road Riding?
Bicycles come with many safety features that serve a purpose. The brakes allow the rider to come to a stop when needed or desired. The reflectors on the front and back allow drivers to see them when it’s dark out. Headlamps provide riders visibility at night. There are specific Arizona bicycle law statutes that bicyclists should follow to avoid fines.
- ARS 28-817 is a three-part statute regarding bicycle equipment. All bicycles to be ridden at night need a headlight that is visible from at least five hundred feet away and a rear reflector that is visible at least fifty feet away by drivers. They can also use a lighted red rear lamp in addition to, but not in place of, the red rear reflector. Functional brakes are another requirement.
- ARS 28-813 requires all bicyclists to only ride bicycles with a properly mounted seat.
What are Some Other bicycle-related Laws in Arizona?
Bicyclists have other specific laws regarding how to ride in Arizona. For example, there cannot be more than two riders side-by-side on a road, unless it is a specific bike path (ARS 28-815). And no matter how hard you try, you cannot legally attach your bicycle to another vehicle on Arizona roads (ARS 28-814).
There is also growing concerned regarding texting while riding. ARS 28-816 requires bicyclists to have one hand on the handlebars at all times, which makes it more difficult for riders to text while moving. Flagstaff took this rule one step further with a texting ban for bicyclists and drivers in late 2014.
The statutes Arizona adapted for bicyclist safety are not to be a deterrent for this mode of transportation. Instead, they are in place to help create a safer riding environment. SGP Law wants to be your advocate for stronger bicycle safety laws in Arizona. If you have a suggestion of how we can improve safety for riders, tag @sgplaw in your Twitter or Facebook post!
In the event you suffer injuries from a negligent driver, contact our personal injury law office to get free legal advice on your injury case. We will not hassle you or cause you more stress. We want to be your voice, and we will work with you. Call our 24/7 toll-free line for around-the-clock appointment scheduling and customer care.