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Sharing the Road

Bicycles: Share the road

Many remember learning to ride bikes as kids and the carefree hours spent exploring neighborhood. Some stopped riding bicycles when they started driving; for others, cycling continues into long into the future. Many Arizona communities are investing heavily in the development of bicycle lanes to promote a more eco-friendly and healthy mode of transportation. Drivers and cyclists should ideally cooperate and exhibit mutual respect around sharing the roadways.

This is a quality of life issue, since cycling boosts physical fitness and immunities, while also reducing pollution and congestion, and increasing the lifespan of your car. In addition, bicycles are the primary mode of transportation for many individuals.

 

The rules of riding on the road

In Arizona it is legal for cyclists to share the traffic lanes, but they must adhere to the same street laws as motorists. Arizona requires that a bicyclist, traveling at a speed less than the speed of traffic, must ride as far to the right as possible. However, the law provides for exceptions to this requirement under any of the following situations:

  • If overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction
  • If preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway
  • If reasonably necessary to avoid conditions, including fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals or surface hazards
  • If the lane in which the person is operating the bicycle is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane Source: Ariz. Rev. Stat. §28-815(a)

 

Motor vehicles are to give bicyclists 3-feet of space while passing. (ARS 28-735)

 

The law grants all driving rights to bicyclists riding on a roadway or its adjacent shoulder (ARS 28-812) and requires bicyclists to abide by the traffic laws. Bicyclists must ride with traffic, obey traffic laws and comply with traffic control devices. 

Proper safety apparel and gear is essential for cyclists, including helmets, gloves and protective eye-wear. Bright clothing and blinking front and rear lights help drivers spot bicyclists. At night, bicycles must feature a reflective light visible from a distance of at least five hundred feet, and a red reflector on the rear that is visible from all distances. For more details, see ARS 28-817.

Bicycle riders should never assume right of way and should always ride as though they are invisible to other drivers. Always signal intentions to turn or change lanes and try to make eye contact with other drivers.

Use caution and stick to areas in which you can navigate according to your ability and experience level. Get plenty of fluids and stay nourished in the Arizona heat to avoid exhaustion.

Riders: before heading out on the open road, always carefully inspect your bike prior to each ride to maintain its mechanical condition. Stay alert and focused; know your limitations and ride defensively. Drivers: share the road responsibly and stay aware of cyclists in your midst.

April 22, 2020

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