As a motorist in Arizona, you always need to be aware of your surroundings on the roadways, whether it be motorcycles on the freeways or bicyclers on city streets. As a cyclist, you have to know how to properly manuver the roadways that have vehciles zipping by. It is important as drivers and bicycle riders to adhere to all traffic laws and to watch out for one another on the roadways. In Arizona, it is legal for bicycles to ride in the traffic lanes, as long as they adhere to the same street laws as motorists.
To be safe and avoid accidents, bicyclists should ride with traffic and be aware of hazards, cars, and people around them. The Bicycle and Pedestrian Program from the Arizona Department of Transportation created a few safety tips to help you bike smart and bike safely in Arizona:
• Ride on the right hand side of the road
• Always ride with the flow of traffic. Riding against traffic is very dangerous.
• Ride predictably
• Follow the same rules motorists do; travel in a straight line without swerving into other traffic lanes.
• Obey traffic control devices (signs, signals, lane markings)
• Bicyclists must follow the rules of the road, just like other vehicles.
• Protect your head
• Always wear a helmet, even on short trips.
• Follow lane markings
• Don't turn left from the right lane; don't ride straight in a lane marked "Right-Turn Only".
• Ride correctly through intersections
• Use the right-most lane that goes in your directions. If you're heading straight, get in the through lane, not to the right of a turning vehicle.
• Signal before you move or stop
• Hand signals let drivers and others know what you intend to do next.
• Enter streets and intersections cautiously
• Always check for oncoming traffic.
• Ride defensively on the road
• Anticipate hazards and be ready to adjust your position in traffic.
• Don't ride on the sidewalk
• Bicycles (except postal and police bicycles) are not legal on sidewalks in many cities.
• Be visible and be seen
• Wear bright colors to increase your visibility and make eye contact with drivers.
• Look behind you
• Know how to look over your shoulder without swerving or losing your balance; side-view mirrors are an option.
• Make sure everything on your bicycle is in proper working condition before you ride.
Driving alongside bicyclers, sometimes requires extra safety precautions taken for motorists. The Bicycle and Pedestrian Program from the Arizona Department of Transportation, has a few tips to help motorists adjust their behavior when accompanied by bicyclers while traveling.
• Give cyclists a break and slow down when they are sharing the road with you.
• Recognize a potentially dangerous situation for a bicyclist and give them extra space.
Yield to cyclists
• Cyclists may need the entire lane if there is a hazard in their lane of travel.
• Drivers should give cyclists time to cross intersections.
• Don't honk your horn when passing a cyclist.
• When parked on the street, watch for cyclists before opening your door.
Pass with care
• Give a cyclist plenty of space when passing (at least three feet).
• Look over your shoulder after passing a cyclist to make sure they're clear before moving back into position.
Watch for kids
• Children on bikes can be unpredictable, make sure to slow down.
• Don't expect kids to know and follow traffic laws.
Please click the links below to read the Arizona Revised Statutes regarding bicycle laws.
• ARS 28-644: Stop for traffic lights and stop signs.
• ARS 28-704: Any vehicle on a two-lane road that has five or more vehicles behind it, must pull off at the first safe pullout to allow the vehicles behind to proceed.
• ARS 28-721: Any vehicle moving slower than the normal traffic speed shall drive in the right-hand lane, or "as close as practicable" to the right edge of the road, except when preparing to turn left or when passing.
• ARS 28-756: Before you turn or change lanes, look behind you, signal to show your plan to turn or change lanes, and yield to any traffic already there. Cyclists may signal their turns by extending either their left arm for a left turn or their right arm for a right turn.
• ARS 28-792 & ARS 28-904: Yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and on sidewalks.
• ARS 28-813: Every person riding a bicycle must have a regular seat to sit on.
• ARS 28-814: You may not attach to, or hold onto, another vehicle on the roadway.
• ARS 28-815: You may ride no more than two side-by-side, except on exclusive bike paths.
• ARS 28-816: You must have at least one hand on the handlebars at all times.
• ARS 28-817: Every bicycle must have at least one brake that will make the wheel skid when applied.
Additionally, in the Tucson, Sierra Vista, Yuma county and Pima county, it is mandatory to wear a helmet for bicyclists under the age of 18. Although helmets are not required by law statewide, most bicycle advocacy organizations and clubs agree that bicyclists should wear helmets at all times.
If you ride at night, Arizona law requires bicyclists to have a white headlight visible from at least 500 feet and a rear reflector visible from 50-300 feet.