Bicycle Safety in Arkansas - Arkansas State Highway and

Bicycle Safety in Arkansas - Arkansas State Highway and
Bicycle
Safety
IN ARKANSAS
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Contents
Introduction........................................................................................................................ 3
The Four Basic Principles.................................................................................................. 4
Principle #1: Maintain Control of Your Bicycle............................................................. 4
Principle #2: Ride with Traffic........................................................................................ 5
How Far to the Right You Should Ride...............................................................................................5
Ride in a Straight Line...............................................................................................................................6
Riding Side by Side....................................................................................................................................7
Blind Spots and the Right Hook............................................................................................................7
Sharrow..........................................................................................................................................................8
Obey Traffic Signs and Signals...............................................................................................................8
Making a Left Turn......................................................................................................................................8
Turn Lanes.....................................................................................................................................................8
Use Hand Signals When Turning..........................................................................................................9
Passing Other Vehicles.............................................................................................................................9
Principle #3: Be Visible and Ride Alertly..................................................................... 10
Principle #4: Protect Yourself......................................................................................... 10
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his booklet was prepared to help adult bicyclists and parents of younger bicyclists
understand how to ride safely and legally on the streets, roads and highways of
Arkansas. This manual condenses and paraphrases language in Arkansas Statutes and
also provides safety advice not included in the law. This booklet is not a proper legal
authority to cite and should not be relied upon in a court of law. Traffic regulations in
cities, towns and counties may go beyond state laws, as long as they do not conflict with
state law.
Arkansas law does not define a bicycle as a vehicle but, A.C.A. § 27-49-111 contains
language from the Uniform Vehicle Code which reads, “Every person riding a bicycle
or an animal, or driving any animal drawing a vehicle upon a highway, shall have all the
rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle, except those provisions
of this act which by their nature can have no applicability” so as to include cyclists as
legitimate and rightful users of the public streets and highways.
The specific statutes pertaining to bicycles are found in the Arkansas Code of 1987, Annotated, (“A.C.A.”) Title 27, chapters 49 through 111.
Cyclists can use any public road, street, or highway in Arkansas, with the exception of
the freeways and other controlled-access highways. Bicycles can also be ridden on the
sidewalks in Arkansas, except in specific cities which have enacted local ordinances
that prohibit riding on the sidewalks in the business districts (Little Rock, North Little
Rock, Hot Springs, and Maumelle prohibit, directly or indirectly cyclists from riding on
the sidewalks).
Traffic Signals..............................................................................................................................................12
This manual was prepared and published by the
Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, Arkansas
State Police and the Arkansas State Highway and
Transportation Department, with special thanks to
the Oregon Department of Transportation.
Crosswalks..................................................................................................................................................12
Comments and suggestions are welcome.
Riding on Sidewalks................................................................................................................................13
Arkansas State Highway and Transportation
Department
Practices to Avoid.....................................................................................................................................10
A Few More Things You Should Know..............................................................................................12
Railroad Tracks..........................................................................................................................................12
Stop for School Bus Safety Lights.......................................................................................................14
Riding on Paths..........................................................................................................................................14
Riding Through a Work Zone...............................................................................................................14
What to Do in Case of a Crash.............................................................................................................14
Traffic Signs ................................................................................................................................................15
Bicycle Resources............................................................................................................ 15
Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinator
501-569-2020
Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism
501-682-7777
Arkansas State Police
501-618-8797
Copyright 2013, by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.
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Congratulations!
Bicycling is an inexpensive and efficient form of transportation for short trips. By
riding a bicycle, you are helping everyone by reducing traffic congestion, wear and
tear on our roads and the need for more roads and parking. You are keeping the air
cleaner and neighborhoods quieter, while saving petroleum and you are improving
your own health and well-being through regular exercise.
You have a right to ride your bicycle on Arkansas roads, streets and highways. Some
basic safety principles will help you enjoy a safe ride.
The Four Basic Principles
Most bicycling injuries do not involve a crash with a motor vehicle. Bicyclists are more
likely to fall or hit fixed objects such as a mailbox or a parked car. To avoid crashes,
follow these Principles:
PRINCIPLE #1: Maintain control of your bicycle. Never ride while under the influence
of alcohol or drugs. Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUI) laws apply when
you’re riding a bicycle.
PRINCIPLE #2: Ride on the right, with traffic, in a predictable manner. Most crashes
with motor vehicles happen at road intersections and driveways, where bicyclists and
motorists cross paths.
PRINCIPLE #3: Be visible and ride alertly. When motorists and bicyclists collide, the
fault is about evenly split between them. Even if you ride responsibly, some motorists
may not see you.
PRINCIPLE #4: Protect yourself: wear a helmet to reduce the risk of head injury in
the event of a crash.
Principle #1:
Maintain Control of Your Bicycle
There are many things you can do to control your bicycle, even in an emergency.
First, make sure your bike is the right size and adjusted to fit you properly. The right
size bicycle is easier to control and more comfortable, causing less fatigue. Your local
bike shop can help you choose the right size bicycle for you.
Make sure your bike is in good working order. You should inspect it regularly. Here are
some important parts to check:
• Brakes must be powerful enough to let you easily bring your bicycle to a stop. You
should be able to easily reach the brake levers.
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• Tires should be in good condition and inflated to their recommended pressure.
• Luggage racks and saddle bags let you carry a load while keeping your hands on the
handlebars for steering and braking.
• Lights are required by law when riding after dark. You or your bicycle must have
a white light visible at least 500 feet to the front, and a red light or reflector visible
at least 500 feet to the rear. These are the minimum requirements. More powerful
lights will make you more visible to others, and help you see road hazards. A rear
light is more visible than a reflector. Front white reflectors are not visible to motorists entering from a side street and do not meet legal lighting requirements.
• Fenders keep you dry and clean. They also prevent your bicycle from getting dirty
in wet weather.
• Mountain bikes and hybrids are easier to handle than many older bikes. They are
well-suited for city riding thanks to their upright sitting position, modern gear shifters and brakes, rugged construction and maneuverability.
• To improve your riding skills, practice in an area away from cars. Learn to ride while
looking ahead, to the sides and over your shoulder (this is needed to check for traffic before turning). Avoid distractions involving the use of headphones, texting or
talking on a cell phone while riding.
Principle #2:
Ride with Traffic
When riding your bike on a road, you have the same rights and duties as other road
users. With a few exceptions, the rules of the road for drivers also apply to you.
Consult the Arkansas Driver’s Manual to become familiar with these rules.
The most important rule to remember is ride on the right, in the same direction as the
traffic next to you. It’s the law. This way you will be seen by others. When drivers enter
a road, change or cross lanes, they know where to look for possible conflicts. If you are
riding with traffic, you are more visible and drivers will more likely yield to you.
When riding in a bike lane, you are still required to ride in the same direction as the
traffic next to you. Riding with traffic also shows you are responsible and will help you
gain the respect of other road users.
How Far to the Right You Should Ride
Riding on the right doesn’t mean hugging the curb or edge of the road. This may not
be the best place to ride. For example, if you hit the curb, you could lose your balance
and fall into traffic. Other times when you shouldn’t ride too far to the right include:
• when avoiding parked cars or surface hazards,
• when a lane is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side,
• when making a left turn,
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• to avoid conflicts with right-turning cars,
• on a one-way street, you may ride on the left as long as you are riding with traffic.
The above exceptions also apply to riding in a bike lane.
Riding Side by Side
Road Surface Hazards
Keep an eye on the road ahead.
Avoid running over potholes,
gravel, broken glass, drainage
grates, puddles you can’t see
through and all other unsafe
road conditions. When avoiding
these obstacles first look over
your shoulder to avoid swerving
suddenly into traffic. If necessary, signal before moving over.
To make riding safer for you and
other bicyclists, report unsafe
road conditions to local authorities as soon as possible.
When You Should Take a Lane
If there is no shoulder or bike lane, and the travel lane is narrow, ride closer to the
center of the lane. This will prevent motorists from passing you when there isn’t room.
You should also take the lane when you’re traveling at the same speed as traffic. This
will keep you out of motorists’ blind spots and reduce conflicts with right-turning traffic.
You and a companion may ride side by side on the road, but only if you don’t impede
other traffic. Ride single file if traffic doesn’t have enough room to pass you safely.
Avoid road hazards.
Parked Cars
Ride far enough away from
parked cars so you don’t risk being hit by an opening car door.
Occupy more of the travel lane if it is narrow or if traffic is moving slowly.
Blind Spots and the Right Hook
Ride in a Straight Line
This will make you more visible to
motorists. Don’t weave in and out Avoid open car doors.
of parked cars—you may disappear from motorists’ sight and get squeezed when you
need to merge back into traffic.
A right hook occurs when a right-turning motorist crosses the path of a bicyclist traveling straight ahead through an inter section. While it is legal to pass a line of stopped
cars on streets with a bike lane, it is advisable to stop behind the first vehicle, particularly if it’s a large truck with limited peripheral visibility. On streets without bike lanes,
bicyclists should take the lane at intersections and proceed through the intersection
as any other vehicle.
YES
OK
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NO
6
AC
K
CK
TRA
Don’t weave in and out of parked cars.
CAB TR
wrong
BLIND SPOT
ER
IL
RA
right
It is advisable to stop behind large truckswith limited peripheral visibility.
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Sharrow
pointing where you want to go. You may get cut off by turning cars if you’re in the
wrong lane. If there is a straight through bike lane, use it only if you’re going straight
ahead.
The symbol in the graphic to the right is a “sharrow.”
It’s provided to show bicyclists where to ride on
streets without bike lanes and to indicate to motorists where to expect bicyclists. It is placed along a
line of travel that avoids opening car doors.
STOP
If you can’t make it across traffic to the correct lane, use the crosswalk instead.
PARKING
LANE
Obey Traffic Signs and Signals
Stop at STOP signs and red lights. It’s the law to stop
for a yellow light, too. This makes good sense—
rushing through a yellow light may not leave you
enough time to make it across the intersection
before the light changes.
Useful tip: Downshift before stopping at an intersection. This will help you cross the street more
easily when you start again.
SHARROW
Sharrows indicate where to ride.
Making a Left Turn
There are several ways to make a left turn on a
bicycle:
As a Vehicle
As you approach the intersection, look over your
left shoulder for traffic and, when clear, signal your
turn, move over to the left side of the lane on a
two-lane road (1), or into the left lane or the center
turn lane when available. You should be positioned
so cars going straight through can’t pass you on the
left. Yield to oncoming cars before turning. If you are
riding in a bike lane, or on a road with several lanes,
you need to look and signal each time you change
lanes. Never make a left turn from the right side
of the road, even if you’re in a bike lane.
Choose the correct lane.
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3
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How to make a left turn
Proceed straight through the intersection on the
right. Then stop and either cross as a pedestrian in the crosswalk (2), or make a 90-degree left turn and proceed as if you were coming from the right (3). If there is a signal,
wait for the green or WALK signal before crossing. Yield to pedestrians in crosswalk.
Turn Lanes
When you approach an intersection with several lanes, choose the one with the arrow
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or
left
right
stop
Bicyclist hand signals
Use Hand Signals When Turning
Signal before making a turn to warn traffic behind you. To signal a left turn, look behind you, and then hold your left arm out. To signal a right turn, either hold your right
arm out, or hold your left arm up, with bent elbow. You don’t have to keep your arm
out through the turn—you may need both hands on the handlebars to keep control of
your bicycle.
Passing Other Vehicles
You may pass on the right under certain conditions, but always do so prudently and
if it’s safe to do so. Some drivers may want to turn right at the next driveway or street.
They may not see you if they aren’t looking your way. Ride at a reasonable speed, and
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scan carefully for right-turning cars. If a car ahead of you is signaling a right turn, do
not pass on the right. Do not pass stopped cars at a crosswalk or intersection—they
may be stopped to let a pedestrian cross or to let another car through.
At intersections, stay on the road. Don’t ride in the crosswalk and suddenly reappear
on the road again. A driver, thinking there is no one there, may lose sight of you, turn
the corner and hit you.
Principle #3:
Be Visible and Ride Alertly
Even if you obey all traffic laws, there’s always a risk of being hit by a motorist who isn’t
obeying the laws, or who simply didn’t see you. So ride cautiously, because cars waiting at stop signs, at driveways or parking spaces may suddenly pull out in front of you.
Also look out for cars that have just passed you and may turn right, and cars across the
street that may turn left in front of you.
Be prepared to stop suddenly or to take other evasive action.
Driver A
WRONG
WAY
f Vi
ew
Principle #4:
Now that you know what to do, you should also know what to avoid. The following
behaviors cause crashes and create an image
of bicyclists as irresponsible and foolish:
Don’t Dart Out Suddenly Onto the Roadway
When entering the road from a driveway, always yield to traffic. It is dangerous to alternate
between the sidewalk and road, by hopping
the curb or using driveway cuts. If you ride on
the sidewalk, motorists may not see you, and
may not have time to react and give you space
Darting out onto the road can put you in
if you suddenly enter the road.
the path of a moving car.
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ar
Even very careful riders can fall or get hit by a motorist. And even a simple fall can
injure your head. The brain is very fragile and often does not heal like broken bones.
The damage can be for a lifetime. Helmets provide proven protection.
fV
iew
e
primar y Fi
ld o
Protect Yourself
Practices to Avoid
RIGHT
WAY
do
Mirrors can provide opportunities for increased awareness of your surroundings.
However, use the mirror only as an aid—you must look over your shoulder to make
sure adjacent lanes are clear before turning or changing lanes.
Alternating between riding on the road and riding in a crosswalk is confusing to a driver.
yF
ie l
You can also increase your visibility by using lights and reflectors at night and wearing light or bright colored clothes. Red isn’t a good color for evening riding, because
red looks black in the fading light. Yellow and lime green are very effective.
Driver B
pr
im
*Hazards of wrong-way riding: Driver A is looking for traffic on the left; Driver B is looking for traffic
ahead; in both cases, a wrong-way bicyclist is not in the driver’s main field of vision.
Never Ride Against Traffic
Wrong-way riding is against the law. It’s one of the leading causes of crashes, accounting for 15% to 20% of all crashes with cars. Riding against traffic is often based on the
fear of traffic hitting you from behind, and a sense that looking at on-coming traffic will
prevent crashes. In reality, bicyclists are rarely hit from behind.
The biggest danger of riding the wrong way is at intersections and driveways: you may
not be seen by drivers entering, crossing or leaving the roadway. They are expecting
traffic coming from the other direction, not a wrong-way cyclist (*see figure above).
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Another danger of wrong-way riding is the speed of cars coming at you:
• If you’re riding the wrong way at 15 MPH, then a car going 35 MPH is coming towards
you at 50 MPH, leaving little reaction time.
• If you are riding the right way at 15 MPH, and a car gaining on you is going 35 MPH,
then the difference is only 20 MPH, giving the driver more time to react.
• You also risk a head-on collision with cyclists riding in the proper direction.
The problem is made worse when riding the wrong way on one-way streets: you can’t
see signs and traffic signals.
A Few More Things You Should Know
Railroad Tracks
Cross railroad and trolley tracks carefully. Watch for uneven
pavement and grooves that could catch a wheel. Keep control of your bicycle. One way is to rise up from your saddle
and bend your arms and legs so your body acts like a shock
absorber.
If the tracks cross the road at a sharp angle, change your
course so you cross them at closer to a right angle. But avoid
swerving suddenly; this can cause you to fall or to veer into
traffic.
Traffic Signals
Many traffic signals are triggered by electrically charged
wires buried under the pavement. When a vehicle goes over Crossing railroad tracks
them, the metal disrupts the current, which sends a signal to a traffic light control box.
A computer directs the signal to change at the appropriate time.
Crosswalks
You must stop for pedestrians at crosswalks. A crosswalk exists at any public road
intersection, whether marked or unmarked. If a pedestrian is crossing in a crosswalk, as a vehicle you must stop and wait until the pedestrian has cleared your lane
and the next lane before you may proceed. If you want to make a turn with a signal,
and a pedestrian is crossing the intersection, you must stop and wait until the pedestrian has cleared your lane and six feet of the next lane before turning.
Riding on Sidewalks
In general, avoid riding a bicycle on sidewalks. Many crashes between bikes and cars
occur on sidewalks, especially when bicyclists ride against the flow of car traffic. If you
do ride on a sidewalk, try to ride in the same direction as traffic next to you, and adjust
your riding habits for the safety of all sidewalk users by following these guidelines:
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WAIT WHILE
PEDESTRIAN
IS HERE
WAIT WHILE
PEDESTRIAN
IS HERE
When turning at a signal, you must wait until a crossing pedestrian has cleared your lane
and six feet of the next lane.
Slow down at driveways and street crossings if a car is coming. If you go too fast,
drivers will not see you (they are looking for pedestrians nearby, not a fast moving
cyclist further away). If you crash, you
may be found at fault if you were going
too fast.
Yield to pedestrians on sidewalks.
Sidewalks are for walkers, not bicyclists.
Be courteous and ride cautiously. When
Building
passing a pedestrian, slow down, give
an audible warning, and wait for the
Motorist crossing a sidewalk may not see you
pedestrian to move over. A bicycle bell on a bicycle.
works best. If you must say something,
make your intentions clear. For example, “Passing on your left.”
Walk your bike in downtown areas.
Downtown areas have busy sidewalk
traffic, people walking out of doorways,
stopping to talk to each other or window shopping. Avoid riding here; walk Walk your bike on downtown sidewalks.
your bike instead if you are not comfortable riding in the street. Many cities ban bikes
from their downtown sidewalks.
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Stop for School Bus Safety Lights
A bicyclist, just like the operator of any other vehicle, is required by law to stop and
stay stopped for a school bus that is operating red bus safety lights. It is the law that
traffic in all directions stop and remain stopped until the bus driver turns the flashing
bus lights off.
Riding on Paths
Paths are wider than sidewalks, but you should still ride cautiously. Ride on the right
and yield to pedestrians. Use caution when passing other path users. Pass on the left
and announce your intentions or alert them with a bike bell. Extra caution should be
taken when passing children and animals. Be especially careful when crossing a road.
When crossing a driveway or street, slow down and be sure drivers see you. Ride more
slowly and alertly at night, when it’s harder to see the surface and edges of the path.
Pedestrians, joggers, skaters and other cyclists may approach suddenly out of the dark
in front of you.
Riding Through a Work Zone
As a cyclist, riding through a construction work zone can be intimidating. Pre-trip planning can help make the trip a bit less stressful and safer. It may be possible to identify
a safer alternate route around the work zone. However, if you must ride through a
work zone, do the following:
• Obey the rules of the road as you would in a motor vehicle.
• Obey construction signs and look for bicycle-specific warning and detour signs.
• Follow detour signing for bicycle routes, where applicable.
• Follow detour signing for motor vehicles if sharing the road.
• Stay out of the work area—do not ride behind the cones, barricades or barrier.
• Walk your bike across rough, uneven or gravel surfaces.
• Watch for steel plates in the roadway—they can be slippery!
• Obey directions given by flaggers—they may have specific instructions for
bicyclists.
• Be alert, be visible, be patient.
• Report any unsafe incidents to a flagger, police officer or other official on site, if
necessary.
What to Do in Case of a Crash
Check for injuries first. If someone is injured, call 911 for help right away. Administer
first aid if you are trained. After the injured has been helped and removed from harm’s
way, begin gathering information.
If someone has been struck by a car. Ask the driver for name and address, vehicle
registration number, driver’s license number, and insurance policy company and num14
ber. Don’t discuss fault immediately after
the collision. Make sure to write down
what you witnessed as soon as possible.
Carry identification and medical insurance information, especially when you
cycle alone.
Give your name and address. Ask witnesses, including passengers, their names
and addresses. Do not depend on others to
take witness names and phone numbers.
Document your injuries and property
damage with photographs or video
tape. Save all receipts and repair estimates. Contact your insurance company
if you have coverage on your bicycle. You
may also want to contact an attorney.
Traffic Signs
Arkansas traffic signs follow the national
standards. You are responsible for observing all official highway signs and markings.
Regulatory signs are rectangular with black
words or symbols on a white background.
They may be posted alone, with other traffic signs, or with traffic signals.
Bicycle Resources
State Bicycle Advocacy Group
Bike/Walk Arkansas
http://www.bikewalkAR.org
Local Bicycle Advocacy Groups
Bicycle Advocacy of Central Arkansas
P.O. Box 55677, Little Rock, AR 72215
http://www.bicycleadvocacy.com
membership@bicycleadvocacy.com
Bike Bentonville
208 NW A St., Bentonville, AR 72712
http://www.bikebentonville.com
aley@bikebentonville.com
Bicycle Coalition of the Ozarks
P.O. Box 4173, Fayetteville, AR 72702
http://bconwa.com
bco@bconwa.com
Conway Advocates for Bicycling
P.O. Box 833, Conway, AR 72033
http://cycleconway.com
cabcycleconway@gmail.com
Hot Springs Bicycle Association
http://www.bikehotsprings.org/
Northeast Arkansas Bicycle Coalition
P.O. Box 892, Jonesboro, AR 72403
http://neabicyclecoalition.org
sallybway@suddenlink.net
Regional Trail Systems
Razorback Greenway Trail
http://www.razorbackgreenway.com/
Arkansas River Trail
http://arkansasrivertrail.org/
Other Bicycle Route and Trail
Information
State Highway Bicycle Suitability Map
http://www.arkansashighways.com/
maps/Bicycle_ADT.pdf
State Bicycle Tourism Brochure
http://tinyurl.com/ArkansasBicycle
Arkansas State Agencies
Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department
State Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator
(501) 569-2020
http://tinyurl.com/
StateBicycleCoordinator
Arkansas State Police
(501) 618-8797
http://asp.arkansas.gov/
Arkansas Department of Parks and
Tourism
(800) NATURAL (628-8725)
http://www.arkansas.com/
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