Sharing The Road In Kentucky

Bicycling and driving on the road can be dangerous. If you aren't familiar with the laws and regulations in your area, it could lead to an accident. By understanding the laws for either riding a bike or sharing the road with bicyclists, it makes the road a much safer place for everyone.

Related: Safety Tips For Cyclists

Safety tips for cyclists
For bicyclists, there are four basic safety tips that every cyclist should know. These include:

  • Maintain control of your bike
  • Protect yourself
  • Be visible and alert
  • Communicate intentions
  • Ride with traffic

Some Kentucky laws that many bicyclists are unaware of include:

  • You must always have a light on at night
  • Must have a red reflector or light on yourself or the bicycle when riding on the highway or shoulder
  • Your bicycle must have a flashing or steady rear red light at night or in cloudy weather

Bicyclists have the same laws to abide by when riding, except for the following:

  • Bicycles may be operated on the shoulder of the highway
  • If a bicycle lane is provided, it MUST be used
  • No more than two bicycles can ride side-by-side in a single highway lane

Vehicle laws
Bicyclists have a number of laws to follow when being operated, but what are the rules for motorists concerning bicycles? KRS 189.290 states the common duty of care – “the operator of any vehicles shall operate in a careful manner, with regard for the safety of pedestrians and other vehicles upon the highway." Motorists are required to share the road. Before passing a cyclist, a motorist needs to pass only when you can allow three feet between the vehicle and the cyclist. Make sure to give the cyclist plenty of space when merging back into your lane. If a vehicle is turning right, be on the lookout for passing cyclists.

Related: Is It Illegal To Ride A Bike On Sidewalks In Louisville?

Bike lane confusion
A misunderstood law between motorists and cyclists concerns the bike lane. Are vehicles allowed in it? If not, how do they turn right? A vehicle can enter a bike lane if there are dashed lines. If there are no dashed lines, they are not permitted to enter the bike lane. However, if a motorized vehicle has to pass through the bike lane to parallel park, leave a driveway or make a right turn, the motorized vehicle must yield to the cyclist. When making a right turn in a bike lane, the motorized vehicle needs to wait for the cyclist to clear the intersection, then the car may proceed to pass behind the cyclist.

Sharing the road is important for both bicyclists and drivers. If both are knowledgeable of the laws and abide by them, the road will be a safe place for everyone. Please share and respect each other while on the road.

Michael Schafer
The Personal Injury Attorney for Louisville and Kentucky