It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in Kentucky. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here).
This is a general overview of Kentucky’s bicycle laws. To see them in their completion, please visit Kentucky’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 vehicles and bicyclists shall operate a bicycle in the same manner as a motor vehicle.
Where to Ride
- Bicyclists are required to ride upon the right side of the highway whenever possible.
- Bicyclists may veer from the right of the road when traveling at the same speed of traffic, when necessary to continue their route, preparing for a turn, overtaking and passing, avoiding hazards, traveling in a lane too narrow to share, avoiding a mandatory turn lane and when on a one way street.
- Bicyclists are required to use the bike lanes, unless the bicyclist is traveling at the legal speed, preparing for a left turn, passing a slower vehicle, avoiding hazards, avoiding the door zone of a parked vehicle, avoiding a driveway or intersection where vehicles can turn right.
- Sidewalk riding is generally permitted but bicyclists must slow down to walking speed when pedestrians are present or expected, yield to pedestrians on sidewalks and crosswalks. Check local ordinances for variations of this rule.
HOW TO RIDE
- Bicyclists may not ride more than two abreast, except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles and may not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.
- Bicyclists are required to slow down and come to a complete stop at stop signs and traffic devices signaling red. If safe and the signal fails to detect the bicyclist, the bicyclist may proceed after stopping.
- 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
Drivers must change lanes to pass bicyclists when there is more than one lane available. When only one lane is available, drivers must provide a minimum of 3 feet when passing a bicyclist and when safe, may cross over the double yellow centerline to do so.
- At night, a bicycle must be equipped with a front white light visible from 500 feet away and capable of revealing objects at least 50 feet in front of the bicycle. A rear red reflector or red light visible for at least 100 feet and one red light or flashing red light visible from at least 500 feet are required on the bicycle or bicyclist at night.
- Every bicycle must have brakes which enable the bicyclist to make the braked wheels skid within 15 feet at a speed of 10mph on dry, level, clean pavement.
- Bicycles may be equipped with a bell or horn.
- Bicyclists may not ride other than upon or astride a permanent and regular seat attached to the bicycle.
- Bicycles may not carry more than the number of persons for which it is designed.
- Bicyclists may not carry a package which prevents them from operating with at least one hand on the handlebars.
- Clinging to motor vehicles is not permitted.
- Bicycles may not be equipped with sirens and whistles.
Kentucky’s DUI statute does apply to bicyclists.