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Bicycle Laws in Louisiana: Bike Lanes & Road Sharing

An Exploration of State and Local Laws Concerning Bicycles and Their Use

Do we share?

Bicycles, cars, and trucks often have to share the road. Bicycles should stay as close to the right side of the roadway as practicable. When a motor vehicle passes a bicycle, it must leave a safe distance of not less than three feet between the motor vehicle and the bicycle. A motor vehicle may pass through a bicycle lane, but only in limited circumstances, such as when a making a turn.

RS 32:197

§197.  Riding on roadways and bicycle paths

A.  Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction, except under any of the following circumstances:

(1)  When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.

(2)  When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

(3)  When reasonably necessary to avoid fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lane or any other conditions that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.  For purposes of this Paragraph, a "substandard width lane" is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

(4)  When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.

B.  Repealed by Acts 2011, No. 244, §3.

C.  Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.

D.  Persons riding bicycles shall be allowed to operate on the shoulder of a roadway.

E.  Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway or a highway, where there are two or more marked traffic lanes and traffic travels in only one direction, may ride as near the left-hand curb or shoulder of that roadway as practicable when preparing for a left turn.

Acts 1962, No. 310, §1; Acts 2010, No. 618, §§2, 4; Acts 2010, No. 813, §1; Acts 2011, No. 244, §3.

New Orleans

Sec. 154-1415. - Riding on roadways and bicycle paths.

Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right-hand side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.

(Code 1956, § 38-204)

State Law reference— Similar provisions, R.S. 32:197.

RS 32:203

§203.  Motor vehicles operating in bicycle lanes

A.  No person shall operate a motor vehicle in a bicycle lane except as follows:

(1)  To prepare for a turn within a distance of two hundred feet from the intersection.

(2)  To enter or leave the roadway onto an alley, private road, or driveway.

(3)  To enter or leave a parking space when parking is permitted adjacent to the bicycle lane.

B.  Any person operating a motor vehicle upon a bicycle lane in accordance with Subsection A of this Section shall yield the right-of-way to all bicycles and electric mobility aids within the bicycle lane.

C.  This Section shall not prohibit the use of a motorized bicycle in a bicycle lane when the operator travels at no speed greater than what is reasonable or prudent, has due regard for visibility, traffic conditions, and the condition of the roadway surface of the bicycle lane and in a manner which does not endanger the safety of bicyclists.

D.  In case of an emergency, the driver of a motor vehicle may lawfully operate the vehicle in a bicycle lane in accordance with the normal standards of prudent conduct to protect himself and others from harm.  When the emergency ends, the motor vehicle shall not be operated in the bicycle lane.

Acts 2010, No. 618, §2.

Shreveport

Sec. 90-428. - Riding on roadway prohibited when bicycle paths provided.

Whenever a usable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a roadway, bicycle riders shall use such path and shall not use the roadway.

(Code 1971, § 35-182)

State Law reference— Similar provisions, R.S. 32:197.

Sec. 90-427. - To be ridden on right side of roadway.

Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the righthand side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.

(Code 1971, § 35-181)

State Law reference— Similar provisions, R.S. 32:197.

RS 32:76.1

§76.1.  Limitations on passing bicycles

A.  This Section shall be known as the Colin Goodier Protection Act.

B.  The operator of a motor vehicle, when overtaking and passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on the roadway, shall exercise due care while the motor vehicle is passing the bicycle and shall leave a safe distance between the motor vehicle and the bicycle of not less than three feet and shall maintain such clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle.  An operator of a motor vehicle may pass a bicycle traveling in the same direction in a no-passing zone only when it is safe to do so.

C.  The Department of Public Safety and Corrections, office of motor vehicles, is directed to include a summary of this Section in any instructional publication for drivers.

D.  The Department of Transportation and Development is directed to place signs in areas frequently used by bicyclists in an effort to make motorists aware of the need to share the road with bicyclists.

E.  The Louisiana Highway Safety  Commission is directed to engage in a public awareness campaign to notify motorists and bicyclists of the provisions of this Section.

F.  Any person who violates this Section shall be fined not more than two hundred fifty dollars.

Acts 2009, No. 147, §1; Acts 2010, No. 618, §1.

Baton Rouge

Sec. 11:224. - Riding on roadways and bicycle paths.

(a)

Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right-hand side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.

(b)

Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two (2) abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.

(c)

Whenever a usable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a roadway, bicycle riders shall use such path and shall not use the roadway.

(City Code 1951, Title 11, § 224)

State Law reference— Similar provisions, R.S. 32:197.