Bicycle Laws in Alabama
Covid has brought about an increase in bicycle sales in response to the pandemic. More and more people are taking to the outdoors to exercise and enjoy the fresh air. Many people may not be aware of the laws around their new cycling hobby.
In this article, our Birmingham personal injury lawyers explain the bicycle laws in Alabama.
Is a Bike Treated as a Vehicle?
In Alabama, bikes are considered vehicles, and cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers. Cyclists are to obey all traffic signs, signals, and lane markings.
However, sometimes a traffic signal that is triggered by a weight sensor doesn’t charge for a bicycle since bikes are lighter than cars. If this happens while you’re biking on a highway or highway shoulder, you can go through the light after you have stopped and determined it is safe to proceed.
Bicycle Laws in Alabama: Where to Ride
Bicycles must ride in the same direction of travel as cars and keep to the right when riding with other vehicles except in the following situations;
- Getting ready for and making a left turn
- Passing a slower vehicle
- If the road is too narrow to share, riders can ride far to the left to prevent other vehicles from attempting to pass in the same lane.
- To avoid conflict with right-turning vehicles.
- If it is needed to create enough safe distance to the right (usually because of debris)
- If the rider is on a one-way street with two or more traffic lanes
- If you must do it in order to continue on the route
Riding on Sidewalks
Cyclists can ride on sidewalks and crosswalks unless prohibited by local laws. Riders are treated as pedestrians in this situation and cannot suddenly leave the crosswalk or sidewalk. They must also ride at walking speed and yield to pedestrians.
Exclusive Bike Paths
If a lane has been marked for the exclusive use of bikes, then cyclists must use that lane. There are only a few exceptions to this rule:
- The bike is traveling at the speed limit (which is not likely)
- If the rider is going to do a left turn
- If the rider is passing a slower vehicle
- If it’s necessary to avoid hazards on the road or to avoid the door zone of a car
- If the cyclist is coming up on a driveway or intersection where cars are allowed to turn right from a lane to the left of the bike lane.
Alabama law requires a front light on the rider or bike that can be seen for at least 50 and reveal objects at least 50 feet in front.
A bike must have a red reflector or rear light visible for at least 100 feet and a red light or a flashing red light visible from the rear of the bike for at least 500 feet. Cyclists must use these lights after sunset or before sunrise.
All bicycles must be equipped with the following:
- A bell, or a horn, or any other noise-making device that isn’t a siren or a whistle.
- Brakes that can stop within 15 feet at a speed of ten miles per hour on dry, level, clean pavement.
- A proper seat.
You may not carry more passengers than the bike is designed for and equipped to handle. Passengers can only ride on a seat or “a carrying device attached to the bike.”
Alabama doesn’t have a state law regarding helmet use. However, cyclists need to be aware of local helmet laws enacted by cities. Even if wearing a helmet is not legally required in your area, it’s always recommended for safety. Each year, Hare Wynn donates bicycle helmets to schoolchildren to help prevent head injuries.
Unless prohibited by local laws, riders in Alabama can park a bike on the sidewalk as long as it doesn’t interfere with traffic or pedestrians. You may park a bike on a roadway at an angle to the curb or roadway where bicycle parking is allowed.
As with helmet laws, it’s important to be aware of local ordinances and regulations.
Contact Our Birmingham Bike Accident Lawyers
While most drivers will offer common courtesy to bicyclists, there are, unfortunately, motorists who jeopardize the well-being of others by driving recklessly. When a negligent driver crashes into a bicyclist, the results can be devastating.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, the Birmingham bike accident attorneys at Hare Wynn are ready to defend your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today at (859) 800-5714 or use our contact form to schedule a free consultation.