Oklahoma Car Accident Lawyers

Cyclists Rights in Oklahoma

Oklahoma Vehicle Code §47-11-1202 details how cyclists have every right to use local lanes, just like any motorist. Cyclists should know their rights when they use bike lanes and regular lanes and every motorist should also know the rights granted to cyclists.

It’s generally when Oklahoma drivers get careless or simply are in the dark about the rights bicyclists have that collisions occur. Hopefully, a reminder for riders and drivers can help prevent accidents on Oklahoma streets.

The Right of Every Oklahoma Cyclist to Use a Lane

Riders have the same privileges and also the same responsibilities as drivers when they join vehicles on the road.

Oklahoma Vehicle Code §47-11-1202:

 “Traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles or motorized scooters. Every person riding a bicycle or motorized scooter upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this title, except as to special regulations in this article and except to those provisions of this title which by their nature can have no application.”

State law is written so that local cities can’t override certain rights for cyclists. It also leaves things like bike lane regulations up to local governments.

When Can Oklahoma Cyclists Share the Lanes with Vehicles?

Riders in different cities may face different requirements when a bike lane is present along any street. For instance, in Oklahoma City, bicyclists are expected to use bike lanes when they are installed. In Tulsa, there is no bike lane law and cyclists can use the regular lanes even if a bike lane is available, as long as they obey traffic laws.

It’s important for cyclists to check on the requirements in their city or county before a ride.

State law does enforce certain rules for drivers and riders when a cyclist is sharing a lane with a vehicle.

  • Cyclists who are traveling slower than traffic should ride as far right in the right lane as possible when it’s safe to do so. OS§47-11-1205
  • Cyclists are directed to ride on the shoulder of the road where available to allow vehicles to pass. OS§47-11-1205
  • Cyclists shouldn’t ride more than two abreast. Cyclists riding two abreast shouldn’t impede the normal flow of traffic. Multiple riders shouldn’t take up more than one lane.

These are a few directives cyclists must follow, but they also have the right to take a full lane when dangers or other circumstances arise. These are a few of the situations where riders can take a lane, no matter their speed:

  • The cyclist is going as fast as traffic.
  • The lane is too narrow for a bicyclist and motor vehicle to share side by side.
  • Cyclists may take the lane if trying to pass someone.
  • There is an obstacle near the right-hand section of the lane like potholes, debris, or a parked car or truck.
  • The bicyclist is making a left turn.
  • A cyclist may claim a lane anytime it’s not safe to remain to the right of the lane.

The Cyclist’s Right to Safety

The number one right bicyclists have is the right to return home safely after a ride. There are additional laws that hold motorists accountable for other acts of recklessness or negligence.

  • Drivers should not pass cyclists unless they have at least three feet of space to do so.
  • Scooter riders in bike lanes should yield to cyclists.
  • Cyclists can cautiously proceed through the intersection if the red light is broken or does not sense the bicycle. OS§47-11-202
  • Officers must enforce state laws regarding bicycle safety, even if the law isn’t addressed in city ordinances. OS47-15-101
  • Drivers must not throw objects at cyclists and can be charged with a felony if they do. OS47-11-1111

Generally, cyclists aren’t required to get out of the way of drivers. They may need to ride single file to avoid impeding traffic, but otherwise, riders are usually protected no matter what part of the lane they use.

Motorists have a larger percentage of responsibility to avoid car vs. bicycle collisions. They must slow down to avoid impacts, even if a cyclist is riding in an illegal manner. If a crash occurs, a motorist and a cyclist could also share the blame for what happened and a driver’s insurance may still be liable for a portion of the rider’s medical bills.

Protecting Cyclists in Oklahoma

Cyclists deserve the full attention of drivers at all times. It’s the only way to prevent devastating collisions. And ignorance of the laws that protect cyclists is no defense any motorist should ever be able to hide behind. Careless drivers must be held accountable for all recovery costs riders face.

Ylla|Gosney of Oklahoma advocates for cycling safety and we get aggressive on behalf of an advocate for safe rides. He also gets aggressive with insurance companies to make sure injured cyclists get every benefit they need to pay for their recovery and get back on their bikes again. Contact Ylla|Gosney’s Oklahoma bicycle accident lawyers for a free legal consultation if you or a loved one have been hurt.