Under Kentucky law, bicyclists as well as drivers of cars are required to give various signals while on public streets
|Steve Franzen. Provided.|
By Steven J. Franzen, Campbell County Attorney
Bicyclists are required to comply with all the regular traffic regulations that motor vehicles are required to comply with, such as stop signs, red lights, etc. For example, if a car has the green light to turn onto a road such as U.S. 27, and a bicyclist is proceeding on a sidewalk along U.S. 27, the bicyclist is required to stop and permit the car with the green light to proceed onto the highway.
Under Kentucky law, bicyclists as well as drivers of cars are required to give various signals while on public streets. For a left turn signal, the hand and arm of the bike rider should be extended horizontally from the left side of the bike. For a right turn signal, a bicyclist can signal by extending his right arm horizontally to the right or by extending his left arm horizontally to the left with the hand and arm extended upward from the elbow.
Bicyclists are even required to give stop signals by extending either arm horizontally with the hand and arm extended downward from the elbow to indicate a stop or decrease in speed. Any signals from a bicyclist should be given intermittently for the last 100 feet traveled by the bike before the turn or stop. However, bicyclists are not required to signal when doing so could endanger safe operation of their bike.
By administrative regulation in Kentucky, a bicycle, when riding at night (or in dark conditions) is required to have at least one light in front of the bike which will reveal clearly substantial objects at least 50 feet ahead and also are required to have one red light or one red reflector displayed on the rear of the bicycle.
Although it is not required under Kentucky law, bicyclists should wear a helmet. The Kentucky Department of Transportation reports that helmets protect against injury in 8 out of 10 crashes involving head bumps.
To the surprise of many, Kentucky also has a law prohibiting what we call BUI's – Bicycling Under the Influence. The law provides that no person under the influence of intoxicating beverages which may impair one's driving ability shall operate a vehicle that is not a motor vehicle anywhere in this state.
A bicycle is considered a vehicle under Kentucky law if it is used for the transportation of persons or property over or upon the public highways. The penalty for operating a bicycle on a highway while under the influence is a fine of not less than $20 nor more than $100 plus court costs.
I hope this information is interesting and helpful. If you have any topics you would like to have covered in this column, please contact my office by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 491-7700 or by regular mail addressed to 319 York St., Newport, KY 41071.
Steven J. Franzen is Campbell County Attorney