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Bicycle Laws

The following are brief descriptions of Oro Valley, Pima County, and State of Arizona laws that apply to bicycles. 

Oro Valley Town Code

  • Section 11-3-16 Use of Bicycle Helmets for Minors
    No person under 18 years of age shall ride a bicycle without a helmet.

Pima County Code

  • Section 10.32.010 Requirement for helmet use
    No person under 18 years of age shall ride a bicycle without a helmet.

State of Arizona laws

A.R.S. 28-735    - Overtaking bicycles; civil penalties

  • A. When overtaking or passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction, a person driving a motor vehicle shall leave 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 bicycle.
  • B.  If a person violates this section and the violation results in a collision causing:      (1) Serious physical injury to another person, the violator is subject to a civil penalty of up to five hundred dollars; (2) Death to another person, the violator is subject to a civil penalty of up to one thousand dollars.
  • C. Subsection B of this section does not apply to a bicyclist who is injured in a vehicular traffic lane when a designated bicycle lane or path is present and passable.

A.R.S. 28-756    - Method of giving hand and arm signals

A person in a vehicle should give the following hand signals from the left side of a car as follows:

  1. Left turn.  Hand and arm extended horizontally.
  2. Right turn.  Hand and arm extended upwards.
  3. Stop or decrease speed. Hand and arm extended downward.

A person operating a bicycle may give a right turn signal by extending the right hand and arm horizontally to the right side of the bicycle.

A.R.S. 28-811  - Parent and guardian responsibility; applicability of article

The parent or guardian of a child shall not authorize or willingly permit the child to violate this chapter.

A.R.S. 28-812    -   Applicability of traffic laws to bicycle riders

  • 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.

A.R.S.  28-814    -    Clinging to a vehicle

  • A person riding on a bicycle or on roller skates shall not attach the bicycle or skates to a vehicle on a roadway.

A.R.S. 28-815  -   Riding on roadway and bicycle path; bicycle path usage

A.     A person riding a bicycle on a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except under any of the following situations:

  1. If overtaking or passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
  2. If preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
  3. If reasonably necessary to avoid conditions, including fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, or surface hazards.
  4. 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.

A.R.S. 28-817  - Bicycle equipment

  • A. A bicycle that is used at nighttime shall have a white light that is visible from at least 500 feet to the front and a red reflector on the rear that is visible from all distances from 50 feet to 300 feet. 
  • 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.

Laws Regarding Right-of-Way in Bike Lanes (Bicyclists and Pedestrians)

The bike lanes (designated in red) on the Oro Valley bike map are for the exclusive use of bicycles:

  •  Arizona Revised Statutes 28-815 (C) reads
    "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."
  • Subsection D allows no stopping or parking in a bicycle lane or path "except in the case of an emergency or for crossing the path or lane to gain access to a public or private road or driveway."               

For pedestrians:

  • ARS 28-796. Pedestrian on roadways
  • A. If sidewalks [or separate paths] are provided, a pedestrian shall not walk along and on an adjacent roadway.
  • B. If sidewalks [or separate paths] are not provided, a pedestrian walking along and on a highway shall walk when practicable only on the left side of the roadway or its shoulder facing traffic that may approach from the opposite direction.

The paved shoulders on the OV Bike Map (designated in purple) allow pedestrians, runners, bicycles, skaters, etc. to use them, as there are no adjacent/close facilities as alternatives, such as a sidewalk or shared use path.  As such, pedestrians should be walking against traffic and yielding to faster-moving vehicles.

On the shared use paths (designated in green on the map) in Oro Valley (and elsewhere in Pima County), all other types of users must yield to pedestrians. 

Bicycles riding on sidewalks is illegal in Oro Valley as well as in Pima County and the City of Tucson.

So, in summary, if there is a sidewalk/path provided, pedestrians are required to use it.  If a pedestrian has to walk in the bike lane, he/she should do it against traffic, and yield to faster-moving vehicles in the lane (cars, buses, bikes, etc.).  As a vehicle, bicyclists must exercise due care around pedestrians, but as per Arizona law, bicycle paths/lanes are for the exclusive use of bicyclists.

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