Alabama Bike Laws

Early in the  morning on June 7, a Birmingham man died after running a stop sign and crashing into an 18-wheeler near the Inglenook Community, Birmingham police stated.  The man apparently was riding down a hill when the crash occurred and was taken to UAB hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

What sounds like a car/truck accident, is actually a bike/truck accident, as the man who ran the stop sign was riding a bicycle.  Who is to blame in this tragic accident?

According to  Alabama Bicycling Laws, the bicycle rider is at fault in the crash as he was supposed to obey the same laws as any other motorist on Alabama roads.  Given the rash of motorist vs cyclist incidents lately, it would benefit both bike riders and motorists to review these laws.

Other laws that pertain just to bicyclists in Alabama, are more common sense laws, but still are legal laws and violators can be ticketed for non-compliance if caught by law enforcement officials.  A few of these laws are the following: no double riding on a bike made for one; ride upon the seat, not the handle bars; do not attach your bike to any other vehicle on a roadway; ride to the right side of the roadway in single file; and do not carry packages which prevents at least one hand upon the handlebars.

Important safety rules are included in the bike laws of Alabama, too.  When riding a bicycle at night, a lamp on the front is required that can be seen 500 feet ahead and a red reflector on the rear that can be visible from a distance of 100 to 600 feet behind the bike by  approaching traffic.  A very important rule is that all bicycles need to be equipped with a working brake, for you never know when you might need to stop abruptly. 

Although these road rules seen fairly easy to understand, motorists see bicyclists riding every day who ignore the rules of the road by riding against traffic, riding side by side (which is really dangerous for both the riders and the passing motorists), riding with a passenger on the handle bars and other road violations.  If motorists and cyclists are to share the road safely, then we all need to put a little more effort into obeying the rules of the road.