Updated Bicycle Laws in Kentucky

Bicycle Accidents | July 17, 2023

Before you ride a bicycle in Louisville or anywhere in Kentucky, you must learn the state laws that apply to cyclists. This can help keep you out of harm’s way as a vulnerable road user. Motor vehicle drivers also have a responsibility to know and respect Kentucky’s bicycle laws. Here are the latest updates to the state’s bike laws as of 2023.

Cities Can Create Their Own Bicycle Laws

It is important to know the specific laws in your city that apply to bicyclists. State law – Kentucky Revised Statutes, Section 129.297 – gives cities the right to create their own requirements for bicycles and bicyclists. Municipalities in Kentucky can make their own rules in terms of bicycle paths, helmet usage and riding on sidewalks.

The City of Louisville, for example, does not allow anyone over the age of 11 to operate a bicycle on a sidewalk within the geographical boundary limits of Louisville Metro. In addition, no bicyclist of any age is permitted to ride a bike on the sidewalk in the downtown district. This rule does not apply to professionals who are on duty working for certain government agencies.

Other laws that are unique to Louisville include the bicycle helmet law; only children under the age of 12 must legally wear helmets when riding a bike within city limits. However, anyone under the age of 18 must wear a helmet when riding in any metro park in Louisville. No motorized vehicles, including electric bikes, may be ridden on bike paths or bicycle lanes in Louisville.

Bicycles Are Subject to the Same Rights and Regulations of Other Vehicles

In addition to specific citywide regulations, bicyclists must adhere to general rules that apply to them under state law. In Kentucky, bicycles are treated like vehicles. This means bicyclists are subject to all the same rights and responsibilities as standard motorists. A bicyclist has the right to share the road with motor vehicles. Cyclists are required to adhere to all applicable traffic laws and roadway rules. These include:

  • Riding in the same direction as motor vehicle traffic.
  • Staying as far to the right-hand side of the road as possible except to make a left turn or avoid a hazard.
  • Coming to a complete stop at all red lights and stop signs.
  • Yielding the right-of-way to others, when applicable.
  • Using hand signals at least 50 feet before making a turn.
  • Obeying all road signs, including speed limits and yield signs.
  • Never operating a bike under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Ensuring a bicycle has all the required equipment.

In turn, motor vehicle drivers have a legal obligation to show the correct amount of respect to bicyclists. They should pass a bicyclist with care and always leave at least three feet of space between the two vehicles. As soon as the bike has been passed, the driver should return to his or her lane. Motorists should also exercise caution when opening their doors to avoid striking an oncoming cyclist with the door.

Bicycle Accident Laws in Kentucky

If you get injured in a bicycle accident in Kentucky, you need to know how to navigate the state’s “choice no-fault” law for insurance coverage. This law means that after most automobile accidents, drivers seek coverage from their own insurance providers, regardless of fault. For a bicycle accident, the motor vehicle driver is the only one responsible for carrying personal injury protection (PIP) insurance.

An injured bicyclist can seek medical bill coverage from the motor vehicle driver’s insurance company after an accident. Even if the cyclist is found to be partially responsible for the crash, he or she can recover partial compensation under the state’s comparative negligence law. For more information about your rights as a bicycle accident victim, contact Hendy | Johnson | Vaughn | Emery for a free case consultation with a Louisville personal injury lawyer.

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