In Louisiana the bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle. Bicyclists have the same rights to the roadways, and must obey the same traffic laws as the operators of other vehicles. These laws include stopping for stop signs and red lights, riding with the flow of traffic, using lights at night, and yielding the right-of-way when entering a roadway.
Any ticket or moving violation issued to you as a cyclist can affect your driving record.
Whether the ticket is as minor as a first offense or a felony charge for speeding 20 mph over the speed limit, traffic tickets on bikes can increase your insurance premiums anywhere from 25%-400%!!! While you may not currently be paying insurance on your bike, this is something to keep in mind for those of us who split time between biking and driving or intend to begin driving in the future because it will affect your ability to acquire insurance. Given that New Orleans already has some of the highest auto insurance rates in the country, this is not something to take likely.
When a cyclist receives a traffic citation or ticket, the ticket will state which Louisiana law or statute was allegedly violated. Cyclists should either research the nature of the violation themselves or, better yet, refer to an attorney for information to determine what sort of fines and penalties they may be facing.
Depending on the severity of the offense, the infraction will be considered either a civil or criminal matter. In either situation, the accused cyclist will have the right to request a hearing. Failing to contest a traffic citation by merely paying a fine is equivalent to pleading guilty to the offense cited. For this reason, many individuals suffer the consequences of increased insurance premiums by paying their fines without a hearing. As a cyclist, you should elect to request a hearing.
Your attorney can request the hearing on your behalf.
- Cyclists must obey all traffic controls and signals.
- Cyclists must use a fixed, regular seat for riding.
- No bicycle may be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed or equipped.
- At least one hand must be kept on the handlebars while riding.
- Parents and guardians are prohibited from allowing any children to violate any provisions of this section.
- Every bicycle must be equipped with a brake or brakes which allow the rider to stop within 25 feet from a speed of 10 miles per hour on dry, level, clean pavement.
Bicycle Safety Suggestions
Use a blinking taillight and headlight for nighttime riding; Always wear a helmet! Keep an eye on parked cars – The most common accident is when a parked car opens a door into a passing cyclist. Always carry a tire patch kit, spare tube, tire lever and any necessary repair equipment, especially on long, solo rides. Never ride on the opposite side of the road; ride defensively and obey laws as if your bike were a vehicle. It is illegal to ride a bike on the sidewalk!
For more information on the Louisiana Laws Related to Bicycling visit brgove.com.
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