Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Drivers: Learn law about bikes

I have seen some letters in the paper from angry drivers that bicycle riders have to follow the same rules as drivers. Today I had someone ruin my day for yelling at me for riding my bike across the crosswalk rather than walking my bike. Well, because I work for an attorney, I thought I'd set the record straight on Idaho Code for all you "concerned" drivers out there.

As a general rule, unless city ordinance dictates otherwise, if the law allows you to ride your bicycle on the sidewalk it also allows you to ride it in the crosswalk. Why? Because when the law allows a bicycle to travel along the sidewalk it extends to its operator the same rights and duties as a pedestrian. Idaho Code 49-721 does in fact allow a bike rider to ride on the sidewalk and therefore to ride through a crosswalk.

And, by the way, no, a bike rider does not have to come to a complete stop at a stop sign or even a red light—they must first slow down to make sure no cars are coming and then they may proceed with caution (I.C. 49-720).

So, sorry to tell all you drivers out there, but bike riders actually do not have to follow the same rules as you. Do your research before you yell at innocent citizens.

Lori Burks


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