Getting into a bicycle accident could change your life. You may suffer severe injuries such as fractured bones or a traumatic brain injury. While you cannot control the drivers sharing Arizona’s roads with you, you can decrease your risk of getting into an accident by following the laws yourself. Learn Arizona’s bicycle laws to stay out of harm’s way.
Bicycle Rights-of-Way in Arizona
In 2018, 1,182 bicyclists in Arizona suffered crash-related injuries and 24 victims died. Many of these harmful collisions occurred because one or more parties broke the rules. Preventing tragic cycling accidents takes a group effort by every roadway user. Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians must all do their part to prevent collisions. This includes obeying related traffic laws and respecting each other’s rights to the road.
- Bicycles are equal to motor vehicles in the eyes of the law.
- Bicyclists have a legal right to operate on the road.
- Bicyclists may ride two abreast of each other but may not share a lane with a motor vehicle or lane split.
- Bicyclists should stay as far to the right-hand side of the road as possible.
- Bicyclists may not ride on sidewalks in Tucson and some other cities.
- Bicyclists must yield to pedestrians on sidewalks and crosswalks.
- Bicyclists must obey all traffic lights and stop signs.
- Bicyclists should yield the right-of-way to motorists at intersections when applicable.
Drivers often infringe on bicyclists’ rights to the road. They may not recognize bikers’ rights or choose to respect them. Many drivers become frustrated with slow-moving bikers and drive aggressively, such as following a bike too closely or passing within three feet of the cyclist. These acts of negligence or carelessness could lead to bike accidents resulting in serious personal injuries.
Helmet Laws in Arizona
Arizona does not have a universal law requiring bicyclists to wear helmets. No statewide law requires all riders to wear head protection. Certain municipalities in Arizona, however, have passed their own laws requiring the use of helmets for some riders. Yuma County, Pima County, Sierra Vista and Tucson, for example, all require helmets for cyclists under the age of 18. Even if you do not lawfully have to wear a bicycle helmet in Arizona, you should for your own safety. Studies show 54% of deceased bicyclists in the U.S. in 2017 were not wearing helmets. Helmets can cut the risk of a serious head or brain injury by about half.
What Equipment Must a Bicycle Have?
Before you can ride a bicycle in the state of Arizona, it must have all the required parts and equipment. Arizona Revised Statute 28-813 requires a permanent seat attached to all bicycles for riders. No biker may carry passengers unless the bicycle is equipped for tandem use, with permanent and regular seats for all passengers. You must always hold onto your handlebars. You cannot lawfully use a vehicle to tow your bike while riding. When taking a bicycle out before dawn or after dusk, you must attach a white headlight to the front of your bicycle visible from at least 500 feet and a red reflector visible from the rear if the bike by at least 50 feet. Your bicycle also needs at least one brake that effectively stops the vehicle.
What Are Bicycling Best Practices?
Obeying Arizona’s bicycle laws is one of the most effective ways to avoid a serious injury in a bicycle accident. Knowing and following all the rules relevant to you as a cyclist could keep you out of dangerous situations, such as riding too closely to a motor vehicle or crossing an intersection without the right-of-way. A few tips and best practices can decrease your risk of a crash further. Use hand signals when turning or stopping to keep your actions predictable for other drivers. Wear bright and reflective colors to improve your visibility. Avoid biking at night, as this can dangerously limit your visibility. If you get into a bike accident in Arizona, hire a Glendale bicycle accident lawyer to look out for your best interests during the claims process.