As a bicyclist, knowing and abiding by bicycle laws can be the strongest measure you can take to prevent an accident. Unfortunately, how the rules of the road apply to bicyclists is often the source of some confusion – particularly for drivers of motor vehicles. The laws that dictate how motor vehicles and bicycles should share the road vary from state to state. This lack of clarity can create a dangerous situation that may lead to serious injury accidents.
The attorneys at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., are prepared to help you understand the most important Alabama bicycle laws. While knowing the rules can go a long way toward preventing a crash, accidents still happen. If you are injured in a bike crash in Alabama that was someone else’s fault, our dedicated team of attorneys is ready to put our knowledge and experience to work for you.
If you have been hurt, seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Our bicycle accident lawyers are ready to stand up for you and pursue the full compensation that your claim deserves. For a free consultation, contact us online or by phone today.
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Alabama Bicycle Laws Both Motorists and Cyclists Should Know
As a bicyclist or the driver of a motor vehicle, you should be familiar with the specific bike laws, such as the 3 Foot Bike Law, in your state. Your knowledge of them could help you avoid an accident. If you are injured in a crash, any failure to act in accordance with the rules of the road could prevent you from collecting compensation.
Alabama’s contributory negligence laws dictate that an injured person loses their right to compensation if they are deemed to be at fault in any amount for the crash. In fact, the slightest failure to abide by cycling laws could cause you to forfeit your right to pursue damages in Alabama.
With that in mind, here are some of the most important bicycle laws in Alabama:
- You must obey traffic signs and signals. In Alabama, bicycles are considered vehicles that must follow the rules of the road. You have the same rights and duties as any other vehicle on the road.
- You must ride as far to the right as practicable, except when making a left turn. This will build as large a cushion as possible between you and motor vehicles. For the same reason, no more than two bicyclists should ever ride side-by-side on a roadway.
- You cannot ride on sidewalks. All vehicles, including bicycles, are banned from driving on sidewalks in Alabama.
- You may not bike on the roadway when a designated bike path is available to you. These paths may include special bicycle lanes or specially labeled sidewalks.
- Helmets are required for bicyclists under the age of 16. Helmets are required to fit well and to be fastened securely. If you are 16 or older, you can legally ride a bicycle without a helmet, but, in the interest of your safety, you should choose to wear a helmet whenever riding.
- You must increase your visibility at night. On the front of your bike, you are required to equip your bike with a visible white light that has a range of 500 feet. On the back of your back, you are required to install a red reflector that is visible from distances up to 600 feet.
- You may not drink and ride a bicycle. Because a bike is considered a vehicle according to Alabama state law, riders are prohibited from bicycling under the influence or alcohol or other intoxicants.
- You may not attach yourself or your bike to a motor vehicle. For example, you cannot hold onto the tailgate of a pickup to be pulled along while riding a bike.
- An overtaking vehicle must leave 3 feet between the motor vehicle and your bike. If a car is attempting to pass you on the road, Alabama’s safe passing laws require them to give you this minimum buffer.
- You are protected from motor vehicles opening their doors. If a car positioned on the side of the road needs to open a door on the side of traffic, they must wait until they can do so safely and without interfering with traffic – including oncoming bicycles.
If you are hurt in a collision, you should seek an experienced bicycle accident attorney immediately. The dedicated lawyers at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., are here to listen to your story and explain your rights and legal options.
Bike Safety Tips for Avoiding Accidents
An accident with a motor vehicle can result in serious harm to a cyclist. Taking additional safety measures can help ensure your safety on the road and can also help you defend against arguments of contributory negligence if you are involved in a legal claim about a crash.
Whenever you hop on your bike, be sure to implement these simple tips for avoiding accidents:
- Increase your visibility to other drivers. A front headlight and rear reflector are required by law for night riding, and you can additionally choose to help vehicles see you better by wearing bright colors, night and day.
- Stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Keep your attention on the road and on your fellow drivers. Your alertness can help you detect road hazards such as sewer grates or open car doors in a timely manner. Do not wear headphones while biking and keep your sense of hearing engaged. Never assume that drivers can see you on the roadway.
- Routinely maintain your bicycle. Check your brakes and tires. They are crucial for controlling speed and conducting emergency stops.
- Obey all traffic signs and signals. Remember: you are a considered a vehicle in the state of Alabama. Following the rules of the road as if you were driving a car will help other motorists predict your behavior.
- Ride in designated areas. Keep as far to the right as practicable when sharing the roadway with motor vehicles and be sure to use bicycle paths when available.
This simple advice can go a long way toward protecting the wellbeing of you and others on the road. We understand that even when you take all the necessary precautions, someone else’s recklessness or negligence could still cause an accident that results in serious injuries. If you are injured in an accident, our team of experienced attorneys is here to help you.
Get Help from Our Alabama Bicycle Accident Injury Lawyers
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, you are facing some of the most complicated personal injury laws in the country. In Alabama, the slightest indication of contributory negligence on your part could jeopardize your chances to collect compensation.
The dedicated Huntsville bicycle accident attorneys at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., are prepared to help you navigate your legal options during these trying times. When you have been injured, contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Our team is ready to devote our time and experience to the protection of your rights.
For a free initial consultation, contact us online or by phone now.
Harvey B. Morris is a lifelong Alabamian who has been practicing law in Huntsville since getting his law degree and passing the state bar in 1966.