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Whether you ride a bicycle for recreation or for transportation from point A to point B, you need to understand the laws that can affect your safety on Arizona roadways. Bicycle laws are in place not only to protect the bicyclist, but to protect other drivers and pedestrians. Here, we want to review the most pertinent Arizona laws that bicyclists need to know and remember to contact a Phoenix bicycle accident attorney if you’ve been injured.

Arizona Laws for Bicyclists

Right to the Road

Bicyclists in Arizona are granted the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. This means they are entitled to ride on the road, except where prohibited, such as certain freeways and interstate highways. Arizona bicyclists should ride in the same direction as traffic and use the rightmost lane heading in their intended direction.

Bike Lane Use

When a bicycle lane is present, Arizona law encourages cyclists to use these lanes. However, cyclists can leave the bike lane if they are preparing to make a left turn, avoiding hazards, or overtaking another bicycle or pedestrian. When riding in a bike lane, it’s crucial to remain vigilant for parked cars and other obstacles.

Sidewalk Riding

Arizona does not have a statewide prohibition on riding bicycles on sidewalks. However, local ordinances can vary, with some cities banning or restricting sidewalk riding in certain areas. Always check local laws before deciding to ride on a sidewalk and yield to pedestrians.

Signaling Turns

Just like motorists, bicyclists must signal their intent to turn using either hand. To signal a left turn, extend the left hand horizontally. For a right turn, extend the right hand horizontally or extend the left hand upward at a 90-degree angle. 

Equipment and Lighting

Bicycles used at night must be equipped with a white headlamp visible from at least 500 feet away and a rear red reflector visible from 50 to 300 feet. Additionally, bicycles must have a brake that enables the cyclist to make a braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement.

Helmet Laws

Arizona does not have a state law requiring bicyclists of any age to wear helmets. Nonetheless, some cities and counties have their own helmet requirements, especially for riders under a certain age. Three Arizona cities – Tucson, Sierra Vista, and Yuma – along with Pima County, have mandatory bicycle helmet laws in place for riders under 18 years of age.  Wearing a helmet is always recommended as it significantly reduces the risk of head injuries. 

Safe Passing Laws

Motorists overtaking a bicycle must maintain a safe distance of at least three feet between their vehicle and the bicycle. This law helps protect bicyclists from being sideswiped by passing vehicles.

Riding Two Abreast

Bicyclists in AZ are allowed to ride two abreast (side by side) on roadways as long as they do not impede the normal flow of traffic. When a bicyclist is overtaken by faster traffic, it is recommended that they ride single file to reduce the chance of a vehicle versus bicycle collision.

Intersection Rules

Arizona cyclists must obey all traffic signals and stop signs, just like motor vehicles. At intersections, bicyclists should position themselves in the appropriate lane for their intended direction, just as a motor vehicle would.