Bicycles are used as a mode of transportation, an aid for exercise, and are often used by those during the stay-at-home order to get outside and moving. Whether you are a motorist or the one riding a bicycle on a roadway, you should know the Louisiana Law to reduce risk of injury or death. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported, 30 percent of all bicycle accident injuries occur when a bicyclist is struck by a car. Staying safe on shared roadways can be complicated, so it is important to understand the rights and responsibilities both bicyclists and motorists have.
Motorists must ALWAYS yield to bicyclists! Individuals are prohibited from harassing or taunting bicyclists and should respect them by sharing the roadway. Although both motorists and bicyclists are both prohibited from driving under the influence and must follow all traffic rules and regulations, bicyclists must also follow other laws that specifically pertain to them.
- Sidewalk Riding: Bicyclists over the age of 12 are NOT legally permitted to ride on sidewalks in Louisiana.
- Wear a Helmet: Although bicyclists don’t have to “wear a seatbelt,” Louisiana state law requires individuals under the age of 12 years old to wear a helmet while riding (even if one is just a passenger on a bicycle).
- Use Bike Lanes: Cars, bikes, and trucks must share the road and often there are bike lanes to the right of the roadways exclusively built for cyclists.
- Stay to the Right: Unless a bicyclist is trying to pass another bicycle or vehicle moving in the same direction, preparing for a left turn at an intersection, trying to avoid fixed or moving objects, or approaching a place where a right turn is authorized, state statute requires every person operating a bicycle on a public roadway to ride as close to the right as possible, regardless if there is a bike lane.
- Passing in a Bike Lane: Motor vehicles may enter or pass through a bike lane to prepare for a turn within 200 feet of an intersection, to enter/leave a road onto an alley, private road or driveway; or to enter/leave a parking space when parking is permitted adjacent to a bike lane.
- Keep Your Distance: Motor vehicles must maintain a minimum distance of 3 feet to pass a cyclist traveling in the same direction, regardless if the cyclist is in a bike lane.
- Use Traffic Signals: Vehicles must use blinkers and cyclists must use their hands and arms to keep the roads safe. Left turn: horizontal hand and arm extension. Right turn: forty-five-degree angle from shoulder, hand and arm extension. Stop or slow: hand and arm extended downward at a forty-five-degree angle.
- Make Yourself Visible: If you must ride at night or in poor weather conditions, bicyclists should wear proper reflective gear, so they can be seen and consider placing reflectors and mounting a white light beam on the back and front of the bike.
- Forget Highways: Bicyclists are prohibited from riding on the interstate in Louisiana to ensure the safety of themselves and others.
Knowing the laws as a motorist and a bicyclist are important whether you are strolling the streets for fun or biking to and from work. These laws were created to protect all individuals in our community and should be respected.
In Case of Injury
In the event that you are injured while riding a bike in Louisiana, Bush Law Firm can help you seek the compensation you deserve.