Etiquette & Laws
Bicycle as a Vehicle
- Bicycles are not considered vehicles under Arkansas state law (§27-49-219)
- However, cyclists have all the rights and duties applicable to drivers of motor vehicles (§27-49-111). (note Act 650)
27-51-1801(1), concerning the definition of a "bicycle", is amended to read as follows: (1) “Bicycle” means a human-powered vehicle: (A) With two (2) or more wheels in tandem, designed to 26 transport by the act of pedaling one (1) or more persons seated on one (1) or more saddle seats on its frame; and (B) Used on a public road, bicycle path, crosswalk, or right-of-way; and SECTION 2.
- Arkansas state law does not require the use of a helmet (but we think it's a good idea to wear one)
- Rogers also states "Helmets required for all bicycle riders"
Where to Ride
- Cyclists must ride on the right-hand side of the roadway
- All bikes must be equipped with a front white light and a rear red light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet. A red reflector may be used in lieu of a rear light
- Since § 27-49-111 applies would § 27-36-204 not apply addition to § 27-36-220. Meaning you don't just have to have lights on the bicycle, you have to turn them on a 1/2 hour before and after dusk and dawn respectively.
- Fayetteville actually required the light to be used just in case the AR laws don't
- And so does Springdale
- §27-51-403 is another instance of a law that technically applies only to vehicles. However, in accordance with §27-49-111, cyclists should also comply. As such, cyclists must indicate their intention to turn left, turn right, stop, or slow down by using the appropriate hand signals, unless it is unsafe to do so (e.g., if a pothole impels you to keep both hands on the bars). Click here to learn more about hand signals.
Passing a Cyclist
- Motorists wishing to pass a cyclist proceeding in the same direction on a roadway must do so at a distance of not less than three (3) feet
- Arkansas state law does not require that bikes be equipped with bells
Riding on Sidewalks
- Arkansas state law does not prohibit riding a bike on the sidewalk. However, if you choose to do so, please be considerate of pedestrians
- Some cities, such as Bentonville, prohibit riding on the sidewalk. In Fayetteville, you may ride on the sidewalk unless the sidewalk abuts a building
- In Bentonville, all sidewalks are available except two blocks around the square where dismounting is required. The city requires yielding to pedestrians, and an audible signal is not required but is good etiquette.
- In Rogers, no bikes are allowed on alleys, sidewalks, or in parking lots within Central business district (defined as bound between Maple(N)/Cherry(S)/Arkansas(E)/8th Street(W)).
- In Springdale, no bicycles are allowed in the downtown business district (bound by Huntsville Avenue(N)/ Watson Avenue-Quandt Avenue-Caudle Avenue(S)/Highway 265-Old Missouri Road(E)/Pleasant Street(W). An exception is sidewalks along collector or arterial streets when designated as a bicycle route, namely the Razorback Greenway. The city requires yielding to pedestrians and audible signal prior to overtaking. Based on the Springdale Lane Use Plan the central business district and downtown district are the same.
- In Fayetteville, riding on sidewalks requires yielding the right-of-way to pedestrians and using an audible signal before overtaking. Not on sidewalks that abut a building, would endanger pedestrians, or where prohibited.
- Siloam Springs - No bikes on sidewalks anywhere in the city.
- An “Idaho stop” is slang for when cyclists are allowed to treat stop signs as yields and red lights as stop signs. Act 650 was signed into law on April 2019, and requires bicycle riders to slow down when approaching a stop sign, but they don’t have to stop unless it’s necessary. Cyclists must yield to any pedestrians who might be at the intersection. In regard to red lights, the cyclist must come to a complete stop, but may proceed through the intersection once traffic is clear. For more information click here.
Riding under the influence
- Though Arkansas' prohibition against drunk driving (§5-65-103) applies only to drivers of motor vehicles, cyclists riding under the influence may nevertheless be subject to the same punishments levied against drunk drivers in accordance with §27-49-111, which states that cyclists have the same duties as drivers
Mandatory Use of Bikes
- Arkansas does not restrict cyclists to the use of bike paths
- As of 2017, Arkansas state law defines three types of e-bikes and regulates their use.
- An e-bike is a bike with pedals and a motor capable of putting out no more than 750 watts.
- Class 1 - an e-bike equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the operator is pedaling and that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches 20mph
- Class 2 - an e-bike equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the e-bike and that is incapable of providing assistance when the e-bike reaches 20mph
- Class 3 - an e-bike equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the operator is pedaling and that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches 28mph
- Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes are allowed wherever regular bicycles are allowed, whereas Class 3 e-bikes are only allowed on roadways (except in special circumstances).
- eBikes - All good, possibly add that Bella Vista limits trail use to Class 1
- Arkansas does not require that bicycles be equipped with brakes
- Some cities however, such as Fayetteville and Springdale, require brakes. Sorry, fixie lovers
- Brakes - Springdale also required brakes now
- Might link to Fayetteville required equipment rule.
Dismount at Crosswalks
Arkansas Code § Title 27, Chapter 51, Subchapter 18, is amended to add an additional section to read as follows: Operation of a bicycle upon crosswalk. (a) A person operating a bicycle upon a crosswalk shall: (1) Yield the right-of-way to pedestrians; and (2) Give an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian. 2 (b) Except as provided in subsection (a) of this section, a person lawfully operating a bicycle upon a crosswalk has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian using the crosswalk under § 27-51-1202.
- Click here to read the Arkansas Code: HB1702
- Fayetteville - Prudent
- Fayetteville Trails - 15 mph
- Springdale - Reasonable
- Bentonville Trails - 7 mph
- Rogers - Maintain Control
Know your city’s laws
Because laws or ordinances can change without notice, it's always good to know where to find them. Here are links to a few of the larger cities: