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Do Bicyclists Have to Follow the Same Rules and Laws That Drivers Do?

On behalf of Brad Wicker of BDIW Law posted on Friday June 24, 2022.

Oklahoma bicycle riders have both rights and responsibilities to follow the law.

Oklahoma roads and adjacent spaces are designed for many types of road users, so traffic laws must also accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians in addition to motorized vehicles. Instead of enacting a separate set of rules, state laws do apply and exist for the safety of all – including bike riders. Unfortunately, when someone violates them, the potential for bicycle accidents increases. The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO) reports that there are almost 300 bike collisions every year statewide, and more than one-quarter of them occur in Tulsa County.

Based upon the size, design, and stability of the vehicles, you can expect that it will be the rider that suffers the most devastating injuries in a bicycle accident. This factor makes it critical for bicyclists to follow all traffic rules, but there are motorists who fail to comply. You do have legal remedies if you were hurt or lost a loved one, and a Tulsa, OK bicycle accidents lawyer can assist. Some information about common violations is also helpful.

Key Traffic Laws for All Road Users

The Oklahoma Driver’s Manual specifically states that bicyclists must follow the same rules and laws that drivers do. These regulations cover everything from passing, handling intersections, traffic controls, the meaning of signage and lane markings, speed, and many other aspects of operating a vehicle. Most people with a driver’s license know these laws.

However, there are multiple unique factors with bicycles. They may travel on sidewalks, the shoulder, or designated bike lanes. A bicyclist is also allowed to take up a full lane of traffic and ride alongside motorized vehicles. These considerations make it even more critical for drivers to comply with laws on:

  • Posted speed limits;
  • Yielding right of way at intersections, with or without traffic controls;
  • Passing a bicyclist; and,
  • Allowing a three-foot buffer zone between the vehicle and bike.

Specific laws that apply to bicycle riders include use of arm signals for turning, compliance with all traffic signals, and staying to the right side of the lane unless turning.

Compensation in an Oklahoma Bicycle Accident Claim

Most traffic collisions are the result of negligence, which refers to a motorist’s duty to operate the vehicle safely. A violation of traffic rules could serve as solid evidence of negligence to support your claim. You may qualify to recover for medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.

However, Oklahoma follows the law of comparative fault, which focuses on the conduct of the victim. If you were also negligent, such as by violating the traffic laws that apply to bike riders, your monetary damages will be reduced. Therefore, beyond safety reasons, following traffic rules also affects your rights.

Discuss Legal Options With a Tulsa, OK, Bicycle Accidents Attorney

To learn more about your rights, please contact Boettcher, Devinney, Ingle & Wicker at 580-789-4936 or via our website. We can schedule a free consultation with an Oklahoma bike crash lawyer who will explain what to expect through the legal process.