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May 3rd, 2021
More and more people are using their bikes to commute to work, particularly in cities. As the weather becomes warmer, people are also getting their bikes out of storage for exercise. While biking is a wonderful alternative to driving, with its significantly lower carbon footprint and its associated health benefits, it also comes with some dangers.
Biking in heavy city traffic can increase your chances of receiving an injury in an accident, especially at night. You can also receive tickets for failing to follow relevant road laws on a bike, including those concerning lights and reflectors. To protect yourself from accidents and fines, make sure you know all the regulations for bicyclists before you hit the road.
Just like driving a car, it’s essential you learn about and follow all the legal requirements for riding a bike on the roads in Louisiana. Generally, bicyclists must follow the rules of the road, including only riding in appropriate lanes, maintaining distance from cars, and refraining from weaving in and out of traffic.
While bicyclists who also drive cars are familiar with the road rules, they may be unfamiliar with the specific laws relating to bicycles. In Louisiana, after dark, you must have lights and a reflector on your bike, both for your safety and the safety of others. Your lights, like a car’s headlights, make it easier for other drivers to spot you and avoid collisions.
Louisiana law requires a front lamp that other drivers can see from at least 500 feet away. If you want to save on batteries, you can use a light powered by your pedals. You also need to have a rear lamp that either flashes red or has a steady red glow, also visible from at least 500 feet away.
Besides the lights, you must also equip your bicycle with reflectors on the front, back, and both sides. Ensure the reflectors make your bike visible to all cars up to 600 feet away.
If you prefer, you can wear your reflectors and lamps on your person instead of attaching them to your bike. However, all retailers who sell bikes in the state of Louisiana must sell them with lights and reflectors, so you may want to just keep your batteries charged and reflectors clean.
If you bike at night without a lamp and reflectors, you can receive a $25 fine.
Besides these statewide regulations, some parishes in Louisiana have enacted legislation for bicyclists, which may increase the distance your bike’s light must be visible, or have speed limits for bikes near parks. Check your local parish and any area you plan to bike in, ensuring you comply with the law across the whole of the state.
While not legally required, you may also wish to wear a high-vis vest and place a reflector on your helmet for added visibility.
Additionally, you must use hand signals before turning and stopping to help inform other drivers what your intentions are and reduce the chances of an accident.
Some parishes, like New Orleans, prohibit riding a bicycle on a sidewalk for everyone over the age of 15, while other parishes don’t allow anyone to bike on the sidewalk. This law protects pedestrians from bikers but also means bikers must share the road with cars and trucks, which may be unused to seeing a bicycle.
Just like when driving a car, bicyclists should ride defensively, and always stay alert for speeding cars. Even if your area has bike lanes, you should always look for people exiting parked vehicles. Many bicyclists are seriously injured when drivers open doors into a biker’s path. However, accidents can happen no matter how safe you are, and if you experience one, contact a personal injury attorney at our law firm today to learn how you can get compensation for your injuries.
Bicycle, and even motorcycle, accidents can result in severe injuries because bikers have much less protection than car or truck drivers. If you have recently been in an accident and believe the driver of the passenger vehicle was at fault, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers.
At your free consultation, we’ll examine your case and help you determine whether you can file a lawsuit and get the compensation you deserve.
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