The Prescott Police Department has conducted a review of accidents related to bicycles in our community and would like to remind cyclists and drivers alike that safety is a shared priority.
Over the past two years, there has been a slight increase in bicycle related accidents, however they still account for a small percentage of overall traffic related incidents in our city. In 2013, accidents related to bicycles were .74% of all traffic accidents. In 2014, of approximately 1065 accident investigations, bike related incidents contributed a total of 1.13% or 12 overall accidents.
However, safety on the roadways is indeed a shared responsibility between the motoring public and bicyclists. The Prescott Police Department would like to remind motorists that bicycles are prevalent in our community and should be treated as another vehicle in the traveling lanes of a roadway. Drivers should remain vigilant of cyclists, pedestrians or others while driving and should remain alert and aware of their surroundings. Cyclists can choose to use safety equipment such as helmets, brightly colored clothing and reflectors to assist with visibility while on the roadways.
Below are a few relevant laws pertaining to motorists and bicyclists sharing the roadway:
ARS 28-735A: When overtaking and passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction, a person driving a motor vehicle shall exercise due care by leaving a safe distance between the motor vehicle and the bicycle of not less than three feet until the motor vehicle is safely past the overtaken vehicle.
ARS 28-812A: A person riding a bicycle on a roadway or on a shoulder adjoining a roadway is granted all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this chapter.
ARS 28-813A: A person propelling a bicycle shall not ride other than on or astride a permanent and regular seat attached to the bicycle.
B. A person shall not use a bicycle to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed and equipped.
ARS 28-815A: A person riding a bicycle on a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except under any of the following situations:
If overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
If preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
If reasonable necessary to avoid conditions, including fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals or surface hazards.
If the lane in which the person is operating the bicycle is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.
B. Persons riding bicycles on a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.
C. A path or lane that is designated as a bicycle path or lane by state or local authorities is for the exclusive use of bicycles even though other uses are permitted pursuant to subsection D or are otherwise permitted by state or local authorities.
D. A person shall not operate, stop, park or leave standing a vehicle in a path or lane designated as a bicycle path or lane by a state or local authority except in the case of emergency or for crossing the path or lane to gain access to a public or private road or driveway.
E. Subsection D does not prohibit the use of the path or lane by the appropriate local authority.
ARS 28-817A: A bicycle that is used a nighttime shall have a lamp on the front that emits a white light visible from a distance of at least five hundred feet to the front and a red reflector on the rear of a type that is approved by the department and that is visible from all distances from fifty feet to three hundred feet to the rear when the reflector is directly in front of lawful upper beams of head lamps on a motor vehicle. A bicycle may have a lamp that emits a red light visible from a distance of five hundred feet to the rear in addition to the red reflector.
B. A person shall not operate a bicycle that is equipped with a siren or whistle.
C. A bicycle shall be equipped with a brake that enables the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement.
Over the coming weeks and months, the Prescott Police Department will be working in cooperation with other City of Prescott entities to educate the public about bicycle safety and motorist safety through outreach efforts and special enforcement details in high traffic areas.