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Riding a bike in Kansas City is a popular way to get around town, enjoy the sights and commute to work. Unfortunately, bicyclists in Kansas and Missouri are at constant risk of injuries in bicycle accidents. In 2019, Kansas reported 8 bicyclist deaths – the highest number in the last 10 years. One of the main reasons bicycle accidents occur is broken traffic laws.
Kansas Statutes Annotated (K.S.A.) Section 8-1405 defines a bicycle as a device that uses human power – not a motorized or electric engine – to propel the device forward. A bicycle has two tandem wheels, either of which is at least 15 inches in diameter. It allows a person to ride and propel the device, or two people, on a tandem bike.
When operating a device that is classified as a bicycle in Kansas, it is not a requirement to wear a helmet – even for riders under the age of 18. It is, however, highly recommended for safety purposes. Anyone under the age of 18 must wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle or moped.
According to K.S.A. § 8-1567, attempting to operate a vehicle in Kansas with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level at or above 0.08 percent is against the law. It is also illegal to operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs that renders the person incapable of safely operating the vehicle.
Kansas is unique compared to most states in that it does not classify bicycles as vehicles for many legal purposes, including driving under the influence (DUI). This means biking while intoxicated is technically not against the law in Kansas.
However, this is a gray area, as a police officer can still charge a cyclist with a DUI in Kansas since the rider is subject to the same duties of care as motorists. Whether or not the cyclist gets a DUI is up to the officer.
K.S.A. § 8-1587 is an important rule that states that all bicyclists riding on a public roadway are subject to all of the duties applicable to a driver of a motor vehicle, with certain exceptions. This means all bicyclists must obey general roadway rules and traffic laws, except those that do not apply to bicycles by their nature.
Bikers are expected to ride in the same direction as traffic when riding on the road. If a bicycle lane is available, it is mandatory for the biker to use this lane. Unlike most other states, however, bicyclists can ride on sidewalks in Kansas. Different municipalities may have different restrictions for riding on sidewalks, so check local laws. For their safety, bicyclists are prohibited from riding on interstate highways and freeways.
Like motorists, bicyclists in Kansas have to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. They must also yield to vehicle traffic that is moving in a way that presents a hazard. All bicyclists must obey traffic control signals. They must come to complete stops at red lights and stop signs before proceeding. If a red light is malfunctioning because it is failed to detect the bike, the bicyclist has the right to go through the red light.
Although Kansas does not have many bicycle laws and rules to keep up with, the statutes that are in place help keep bicyclists safe from accidents. They separate motor vehicle and bicycle traffic and keep bicyclists’ actions more predictable for motorists.
While bicyclists have a responsibility to follow all applicable rules, motor vehicle operators also have a duty to respect bicyclists’ rights to the road. They must keep at least three feet of space between the car and the bicycle, for example, to help prevent collisions.
If you or a loved one was injured while riding a bicycle in Kansas, contact the Kansas City bicycle accident lawyers at Wendt Law Firm. We can investigate your crash and determine who is at fault. Then, we can help you and your family pursue justice and maximum financial compensation so that you can move forward.