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BIKES: Whether Riding a Bike or Driving a Car, You Need to Know the Laws in Order to Keep Everyone S

Most people are unaware that Phoenix traffic-safety laws are designed to allow bicyclists to share the road safely with motor vehicles. To accomplish this, Arizona laws grant bike riders with the very same rights and responsibilities as motorists.

Arizona Revised Statute § 28-812 states the following:

A person riding a bicycle on a roadway or on a shoulder adjoining a roadway is granted all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle …

This means, as a motorist, we must treat cyclists as though they are vehicles. As a cyclist, including minor cyclists, we must operate our bicycles as though we are operating a motor vehicle. The following is just a few of the laws that apply to both cyclists and motorists:

  • Stop for traffic lights and stop signs (A.R.S. § 28-644)

  • Yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and on sidewalks (A.R.S. §§ 28-792 and 28-904)

  • 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 (A.R.S. § 28-756)

  • 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 (A.R.S. § 28-721)

  • 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 (A.R.S. § 28-704)

Because bicycles have some obvious differences from motor vehicles, there are bike specific regulations that must be followed. A few of the bicycle specific laws are listed below:

  • Every person riding a bicycle must have a regular seat to sit on (A.R.S. § 28-813)

  • Always use a white headlight and a red rear reflector when you cycle after sunset or before sunrise (A.R.S. § 28-817)

  • Every bicycle must have at least one brake that will make the wheel skid when applied (A.R.S. § 28-817)

  • You may ride no more than two side-by-side, except on exclusive bike paths (A.R.S. § 28-815)

  • You must have at least one hand on the handlebars at all times (A.R.S. § 28-816)

  • You may not attach your bicycle to, or hold onto, another vehicle on the roadway (A.R.S. § 28-814)

  • Riding two abreast is permitted by law (A.R.S. § 28-815)

  • Every person riding a bicycle on a roadway must travel with the flow of traffic, not against it (A.R.S. § 28-815)

  • You must not ride on the sidewalk. Sidewalks are not considered part of the roadway (A.R.S. § 28-601)

Unfortunately, even with laws are in place designed to keep both motorists and cyclists safe, accidents still happen. In Phoenix alone, there has been more than 450 motor vehicle vs. cyclist collisions in each of the last 5 years. On average, 26 fatalities result from these collisions, and the numbers are trending upward. These statistics and more can be reviewed at ADOT.

If you or a loved one has been injured while riding a bicycle, call POUNDSTONE SCOTTEN, PLLC for a free consultation. An experienced lawyer will evaluate your case and help you determine whether you should attempt to collect from an at-fault motorist.


The information provided in this website is meant only as a general description of the current laws as of the date of the writing. It is not meant to be an exhaustive discussion of all the nuances of the law and is intended to be only an overview. Many issues may appear simpler than they are, and an individual should always contact an attorney to obtain a complete, accurate interpretation of the law given the individual’s particular circumstances. POUNDSTONE SCOTTEN, PLLC makes no representations as to how the law would affect a particular situation and intends only to illustrate areas of concern and give general information.

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