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Louisiana Bike Laws

LOUISIANA BICYCLE LAWS

It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in Louisiana. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here).

For any questions about the State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact attorney Charlie Thomas directly.

Right to the Road

  • Louisiana bicyclists generally have the same rights, and same duties, as drivers of motor vehicles.

Prohibitions

  • Clinging to motor vehicles while biking is not permitted.
  • Bicycles may only carry the number of persons for which it is designed.

Helmets

  • There is no statewide requirement for helmet for adults, however,  children under 12 years of age in Louisiana must legally wear a helmet while riding in public.

Alcohol

  • Louisiana’s DUI statute does not apply to bicyclists (only to operators of motor vehicles), but a bicyclist under the influence may be charged with public intoxication.  

Where to Ride

  • Bicycles are to ride as close as practicable and safe to the right side of the roadway except when overtaking another bicyclist, when preparing to make a left turn, when necessary to avoid a roadway hazard or vehicle, or when riding in a substandard width lane.

Sidewalks

  • Sidewalk riding is neither allowed or prohibited by Louisiana state law. Local ordinances typically address this issue.  

Motor Vehicle Doors

  • No person may open the door of a motor vehicle unless it is safe to do so.

Bike Lanes, Bike Paths and Multi-Use Paths

  • Louisiana does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.

Stop Signs and Traffic Control Devices

  • Bicyclists are required to come to a full and complete stop at all stop signs and traffic lights displaying a red signal.

Signaling

  • Bicyclists must use hand/arm signals when turning and stopping.

Drivers Overtaking Bicyclists

  • An overtaking driver must exercise due care and leave a safe distance of not less than three feet when overtaking a bicyclist.  

Group Riding

  • Bicyclists may not ride more than 2 abreast and may not impede motor vehicle traffic.

Equipment

  • Every bicycle must be equipped with a white front facing headlight and a red rear light, visible from at least 500 feet when used at nighttime.
  • Every bicycle shall be equipped with a bell or other device capable of giving a signal audible for a distance of at least 100 feet, except that a bicycle shall not have a siren or whistle.
  • Every bicycle shall be equipped with a brake that will allow the bike to skid on clean, level, and dry pavement.  

Harassment

Bicycle Registration

  • Louisiana provides that local governments may institute their own bicycle registration programs.  

Electric Assist Bikes

  • Louisiana law defines an electric assisted bicycle as a motorized bicycle with pedals and propelled by human power with a helper motor or both. The motor must be rated no more than 50cc, have an automatic transmission and designed to have a maximum speed of not more than 25mph on flat surface.
  • Bicyclists may use e-bikes in the same matter as traditional bicycles, except that they must wear a helmet unless they have a health insurance policy with medical benefits over $10,000.  

Comments

Brendan Kevenides Nov 11, 2019

A federal government agency is making a controversial recommendation to all 50 states that all bicyclists be required to wear helmets.   Mandatory bicycle helmet laws are a terrible idea.  Cycling as a form of recreation and transportation offers a myriad of benefits to the individual and the community as a whole.  An adult or child […]

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Lauri Boxer-Macomber Nov 07, 2019

On Saturday, November 2, 2019, the family of Kathleen (“Kate”) Kirsch placed a ghost bike in her honor near the site of the tragic September 13, 2019 motor vehicle operator versus bicyclist collision that ultimately led to the loss of her life. Ghost bikes are public memorials parked on public ways near fatal crash sites […]

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Rachael Maney Nov 01, 2019

November 1, 2019: Daylight Savings ends this Sunday, November 3rd, and we are counting down to fewer day time hours and the most dangerous time of year to ride a bike in the U.S. With approximately 65% of all crashes occurring in low light conditions, and the number of fatal crashes at a 30 year […]

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Rachael Maney Oct 28, 2019

CLICK HERE FOR .PDF OF THE LETTER. [CLICK AGAIN ON THE .PDF AFTER JUMP FOR DOWNLOADABLE VERSION] To all members of the media and Associated Press: Crash fatalities amongst cyclists and pedestrians are at a 30 year high with more than 2 people on bikes being killed every day and pedestrians at an alarming rate […]

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Bruce Hagen Oct 23, 2019

In the quaint downtown of Hogansville, Georgia, the memories of a once thriving economy are visible at every turn, from the old Opera House to the Royal Theater.   In this quiet corner of Troup County, south of the hustle and bustle of Newnan and the revitalized town of Senoia, Hogansville sits like a memory […]

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Fairhope Bike Shop
Peter Wilborn Sep 16, 2019

Katie Bolton and her husband Joseph are the proud owners of Fairhope Cycle and Tri in Fairhope, Alabama – the eastern shore.  Their shop has been open for 8 years now and in addition to selling and servicing bicycles, the shop often is a “hub” for cycling events in the Fairhope area.   Katie grew up in […]

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Rick Bernardi Sep 13, 2019

Stop as Yield. It was the legislative Holy Grail for Oregon cyclists. Idaho had pioneered the Stop As Yield concept—allowing cyclists to treat a stop sign as if it’s a yield sign—in 1982, and for decades, Idaho remained the only state where Stop as Yield was legal for cyclists, despite the actual practice being widespread, […]

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Peter Wilborn Aug 20, 2019

A camera is necessary kit for every ride. But finding the right camera has been a challenge, until now. My rebuttable presumption: the Ricoh GR III is the best cycling camera of all time. Read on, and if you can prove there’s a better one, let me know. The Ideal Cycling Camera To find the […]

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Human Shield Bike Lane
Bruce Hagen Jul 29, 2019

If you ride bikes around Atlanta, chances are that you know Niklas Vollmer and Andreas Wolfe.  They’re some of the many people in town who seem to live on their bikes and can be seen riding everywhere.  While they both have their “day jobs,” folks in the cycling world know them for their place in […]

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Bruce Hagen Jul 19, 2019

This is a time when advocacy efforts are crucial to making our streets safer for everyone. Within 24 hours from the Two Wheel Tuesday gathering we suffered two more casualties.  On Wednesday morning, Marten Bijvank was on his way to work on his bicycle when he was struck and killed by an unlicensed DUI driver […]

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AJ's Bicycle Shop in Iowa
Jim Freeman Jul 15, 2019

Bicycling Magazine recently published an article titled, “Hey, Bike Shops; Stop Treating Customers Like Garbage.”  The story follows a heavy-set 59 year old’s sad tale of how he was treated poorly from a number of local bike shops.   First and foremost, I would be clear that bikes are for almost everyone.  If you are big, […]

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Bike accident scene
Rick Bernardi Jul 12, 2019

The big bike news out of the Oregon legislature this year was the passage of a Stop as Yield law. This was an enormous legislative victory for Oregon cyclists, the culmination of over a decade of advocacy. But it wasn’t the only legislative victory for Oregon cyclists this legislative session. A less glamorous but equally […]

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