If you routinely bike Louisiana streets, or if you plan to bike more often, it is essential that you understand your rights and responsibilities under Louisiana law. The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development details the state’s more important biking laws.
Louisiana statutes contain “safe passing” laws, which dictate that the operator of a motor vehicle must exercise due care when passing a bicycle traveling in the same direction. “Due care” includes providing a safe distance of not less than three feet between the bicycle and motor vehicle until the vehicle has safely overtaken the bicycle.
Unlike many other states, Louisiana statutes do not contain any language that specifically prohibits the operation of a bicycle on a sidewalk. They do, however, contain language that prohibits the operator of a motor vehicle from opening his or her door onto a road without first double-checking to ensure that doing so will not interfere with the travels of a bicyclist, pedestrian or another motor vehicle. This “dooring law,” as the statutes call it, further prohibits any vehicle occupant from keeping a door open on a road for longer than is necessary for passengers to load or unload.
Louisiana also has “vulnerable road user” laws. Though these laws do not specifically identify who or what is a vulnerable road user, they do protect bicyclists from unlawful taunting or harassment, or from people maliciously throwing objects at them or in their direction.
Finally, Louisiana law defines bicycles as motor vehicles. As such, bicyclists have the same duties and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles.
This article is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to serve as legal advice.