It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in Arkansas. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here).
This is a general overview of Arkansas’s bicycle laws. To see them in their completion, please visit Arkansas’s Department of Transportation. Feel free to reach out to Bike Law’s National Director Rachael Maney for further information.
Right to the Road
Bicycles are not defined as vehicles but generally have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers.
Where to Ride
- Bicyclists are required to ride on the right side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care.
- Full lane use is allowed when traveling on a road designated for one-way traffic, preparing for a turn, overtaking and passing, avoiding hazards or unsafe conditions, right half of the roadway is closed to traffic while under construction and repair, and when the roadway has three lanes of traffic.
- Bicyclists may, but are not required to, utilize any usable path for bicycles that has been provided adjacent to a roadway.
- Arkansas state law does not prohibit riding a bicycle on the sidewalk but certain municipalities do, such as Bentonville. Check local ordinances for variations on this rule.
HOW TO RIDE
- Bicyclists shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.
- Bicyclists coming to a stop sign must slow, and if required for safety, stop. If no car is approaching that would cause an immediate hazard during the crossing of the intersection, the bicyclist may proceed through the stop-sign cautiously without stopping, yielding to pedestrians in the crosswalk and other lawful traffic. (Stop as yield)
- Bicyclists coming to a red light must stop, and if safe, the bicyclist may cautiously proceed through the intersection, yielding to pedestrians and other lawful traffic.
- Bicyclists must signal when turning or coming to a stop.
Bicyclists Overtaking Cars
Bicyclists on roadways must exercise due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.
Cars Overtaking Bicyclists
Motor vehicle drivers are required to exercise due care and pass bicyclists to the left at least three (3) feet clearance. Increased violations are provided when a motorist is overtaking and passing a bicyclist which results in a crash causing injury or death.
- Arkansas does not have a statewide compulsory helmet law but cyclists should be sure to check local municipalities as they may have their own helmet requirements. For example, in Bentonville municipal, rider’s under the age of 14 must wear a helmet.
- At night, a bicycle must be equipped with a front white light and two rear red reflectors, visible from at least 500 feet away.
- While not required statewide, bicycles should have adequate brakes which enable the bicyclist to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement, which are required in Little Rock and Fayetteville City. Check local ordinances for variations on this rule.
While Arkansas’s DUI statute only applies to motor vehicles and bicycles are not defined as vehicles, bicyclists have the same rights and duties as motor vehicle drivers and bicyclists under the influence may still be subjected to the same punishments as drunk drivers.