Cyclists in Arizona typically share the road with motor vehicles. While there are many miles of bike paths, plenty of people bike for transportation, not just exercise and recreation. They need to get around in urban areas and will therefore share the same lanes of travel that motor vehicles utilize.
Unfortunately, needing to bike in close proximity to larger vehicles means that cyclists are at risk of getting hit in traffic. There are numerous state laws that apply to enclosed vehicles and cyclists with the intention of facilitating the safe sharing of the roadways. Two rules, in particular, can make a big difference to cyclist safety in traffic.
Only riding two abreast in groups
Cyclists often embrace the idea that there is safety in numbers. When there are more bikes on the road, drivers have an easier time noticing and avoiding cyclists. However, too many bikes can infringe on the safe travel of motor vehicles and may increase the risk of a crash. Arizona law only allows two bikes side by side in any given lane of traffic. They generally also need to stay as far to the right as is practical given the layout of the road. Following that rule is important even when engaged in a mass ride with numerous other cyclists.
Following all standard traffic rules
Cyclists should follow the flow of traffic by traveling on the right side of the road like motor vehicles do. They should abide by any posted signage and traffic lights. They also need to indicate when they intend to turn or stop so that others in traffic can adjust their actions accordingly. Cyclists who are proactive about complying with traffic laws will have an easier time avoiding a collision because others in traffic can more easily predict what they intend to do next. Those who consistently follow traffic laws will have an easier time establishing that they were not to blame for any crash that does occur.
Oftentimes, cyclists hurt in collisions will need to pursue insurance claims or possibly personal injury lawsuits against those who have caused them harm. Holding a driver accountable after a car-bicycle collision can help an injured cyclist pay their medical bills and replace lost wages during their recovery period. Ideally, cyclists can avoid crashes but this isn’t always how reality unfolds.