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).
This is a general overview of Louisiana’s bicycle laws. To see them in their completion, please visit Louisiana’s Department of Transportation. For any questions about this State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact Louisiana’s Bike Law Attorney Charlie Thomas directly.
Right to the Road
Bicycles are defined as vehicles and generally have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers.
Where to Ride
- Bicyclists are required to ride as close as practicable and safe to the ride 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.
- Bicyclists may, but are not required to, utilize any usable path for bicycles that has been provided adjacent to a roadway.
- Louisiana state law does not prohibit or permit bicycles from being ridden on the sidewalks. Check local ordinances for these rules.
HOW TO RIDE
- Bicyclists may not ride more than two abreast and may not impede motor vehicle traffic.
- Bicyclists are required to slow down and come to a complete stop at stop signs and traffic devices signaling red.
- 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 leave a safe distance of not less than three (3) feet clearance when overtaking a bicyclist.
- Bicyclists under the age of 12 are required to wear a properly fastened helmet.
- At night, a bicycle must be equipped with a front white light and a rear red light, both visible from 500 feet away.
- Every bicycle must be equipped with a bell or other device capable of giving an audible signal for a distance of at least 100 feet, but a bicycle may not be equipped with a siren or whistle.
- Every bicycle must have brakes which enable the bicyclist to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement.
- Louisiana prohibits anyone from harassing, taunting or maliciously throwing objects at a bicyclist.
- Clinging to motor vehicles while bicycling is not permitted.
- A bicycle may not carry more than the number of persons for which it is designed.
Louisiana’s DUI statute does not apply to bicyclists as it only applied to operators of motor vehicles, but a bicyclist under the influence may be charged with public intoxication.