As the warmer months come upon us, many people will be out riding their bicycles—in the parks, on the sidewalks, and on the roads. Where ever you ride your bicycle, you must be aware that Kansas has many laws that apply to riding bicycles, just as it has laws that apply to driving automobiles. All of these laws are designed to protect car drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians alike.
What Are the Bicycle Laws in Kansas?
Here are some of the bicycle laws in Kansas that you may find most applicable to you as a social bicycle-rider. You must obey these laws at all times, not only for your own safety, but if you are injured in an accident because you violated any of these laws, you may jeopardize your ability to recover damages for your injuries.
These laws became effective in Kansas on April 9, 2020.
8-1405. Bicycle defined
This provision defines the type of bicycles that are subject to the Kansas bicycle laws.
- “Bicycle” means every device propelled by human power upon which any person may ride, having two (2) tandem wheels, either of which is more than fourteen (14) inches in diameter.
8-1439a. “Motorized bicycle” defined
- “Motorized bicycle” means every device having two tandem wheels or three wheels which may be propelled by either human power or helper motor, or by both, and which has:
(a) A motor which produces not more than 3.5 brake horsepower;
(b) a cylinder capacity of not more than 130 cubic centimeters;
(c) an automatic transmission; and
(d) the capability of a maximum design speed of no more than 30 miles per hour except a low power cycle.
8-1508. Traffic-control signal legend
This provision allows the “Idaho Stop.” This means that if a cyclist stops at a red light that fails to change to green within a reasonable amount of time because the signal has malfunctioned or has failed to detect the cyclist because of its size or weight, the cyclist may proceed through the red light.
However, the rider must yield the right-of-way to:
- Any vehicle that may pose a hazard
- Any pedestrians in the adjacent crosswalk
- Other traffic lawfully using the intersection
8-1516. Same; vehicles and bicycles proceeding in same direction
This provision applies to overtaking and passing vehicles and bicycles that are traveling in the same direction.
(a) You must ride on the left of the vehicle or bicycle you are passing. You must pass at a safe distance and not return to the right side until you are safely clear of the bicycle you passed.
(b) If another bicyclist audibly signals that they are passing you on the left, you must give way to the right and let the other cyclist pass to the left. You may not increase your speed until the other cyclist completely passes you.
(c)(1) Any bicyclist passing another bicyclist on the left may not be less than three feet away and may not move to the right side again until safely clear of the overtaken bicycle.
(2) A driver of a vehicle or bicycle may pass another bicycle traveling in the same direction in a no-passing zone only when it is safe to do so.
8-1550. Same; hand and arm signals
This provision explains the required hand and arm signals required for bicyclists. All required hand and arm signals shall be given from the left side of the vehicle and shall indicate as follows:
(a) Left turn. Hand and arm extended horizontally.
(b) Right turn. Hand and arm extended upward.
(c) Stop or decrease speed. Hand and arm extended downward.
8-1588. Riding on bicycles
This provision regulates how you ride your bicycle and how many may ride on it.
(a) A person propelling a bicycle shall not ride other than upon or astride a permanent and regular seat attached thereto.
(b) No bicycle shall be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed and equipped.
8-1589. Same; clinging to other vehicles prohibited
This provision prohibits attaching a bicycle or other vehicle to another vehicle. No person riding upon any bicycle, coaster, roller skates, sled or toy vehicle shall attach the same, himself or herself to any vehicle upon a roadway.
8-1590. Riding on bicycles or mopeds; riding on roadways and bicycle paths
This provision requires riders to:
- Ride on the right side of the road
- Not ride next to more than one other rider
- Ride on a bike path instead of the road, when available
It also allows you to ride on the left hand side of the road if you are riding on a one-way highway with at least two marked lanes.
8-1591. Same; carrying articles
This provision provides:
No person operating a bicycle shall carry any package, bundle or article which prevents the driver from keeping at least one (1) hand upon the handlebars.
8-1592. Lamps, brakes and other equipment on bicycle
This provision requires that:
(a) When you ride your bicycle at night, you have a lamp on the front of the bicycle that shines a white light that can be seen from 500 feet away, and either:
- A red reflector on the rear of the bicycle that is visible from anywhere at 100 feet and visible from 600 feet to the rear by someone in a car with their low beams on;
- A lamp on the rear that emits a red light visible from 500 feet to the rear; or
- You may wear a device that emits a red or amber light that can be seen from 500 feet to the rear.
(b) You have breaks that will make your tires skid on dry, level, clean pavement.
It also prohibits:
(c) Anyone from selling a pedal for a bicycle unless it has reflectors on it that can be seen from 200 feet away from the front and the back; and anyone from selling a new bicycle that is not equipped with similar pedals.
Kansas is one of 29 states that does not require that bicyclists wear a helmet—not even for children. Notwithstanding this, you are encouraged to always wear a helmet when riding and certainly to make sure children wear helmets when riding.
Have You Been Injured in a Bicycle or Pedestrian Accident in Kansas City?
If you've been injured in a Kansas City pedestrian or bicycle accident you should speak with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney. Contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.249.2101 to schedule your free consultation.