Bicycles are not considered vehicles under Arkansas state law (§27-49-219).
However, cyclists have all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to drivers of motor vehicles (§27-49-111).
Arkansas state law does not require the use of a helmet. (But we think it's a good idea to wear one.)
NOTE: Cyclists 14 years or younger are required to wear helmets on paved and offroad trails in Bentonville.
Cyclists must ride on the right side of the roadway.
All bikes must be equipped with a front white light and a rear red light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet. A red reflector may be used in lieu of a rear light.
§27-51-403 is another instance of a law that technically applies only to vehicles. However, in accordance with §27-49-111, cyclists should also comply. As such, cyclists must indicate their intention to turn left, turn right, stop, or slow down by using the appropriate hand signals, unless it is unsafe to do so (e.g., if a pothole impels you to keep both hands on the bars). Click here to learn more about hand signals.
Motorists wishing to pass a cyclist proceeding in the same direction on a roadway must do so at a distance of not less than three (3) feet.
Arkansas state law does not require that bikes be equipped with bells.
NOTE: Some cities, such as Fayetteville, do require bells.
Arkansas state law does not prohibit riding a bike on the sidewalk. However, if you choose to do so, please be considerate of pedestrians.
NOTE: Some cities, such as Bentonville, prohibit riding on the sidewalk. In Fayetteville, you may ride on the sidewalk unless the sidewalk abuts a building.
People on bikes in Arkansas can begin treating stop signs as yields and red lights as stop signs. Act 650, which the governor signed into law in April 2019. The new law requires bicycle riders to slow down when approaching a stop sign, but they don’t have to stop unless it’s necessary. Cyclists must yield to any pedestrians who might be at the intersection. In regards to red lights, the cyclist must come to a complete stop, but may proceed through the intersection once traffic is clear.
For more information click here.
Though Arkansas' prohibition against drunk driving (§5-65-103) applies only to drivers of motor vehicles, cyclists riding under the influence may nevertheless be subject to the same punishments levied against drunk drivers in accordance with §27-49-111, which states that cyclists have the same duties as drivers.
Arkansas does not restrict cyclists to the use of bike paths.
As of 2017, Arkansas state law defines three types of e-bikes and regulates their use.
An e-bike is a bike with pedals and a motor capable of putting out no more than 750 watts.
Class 1 - an e-bike equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the operator is pedaling and that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches 20mph
Class 2 - an e-bike equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the e-bike and that is incapable of providing assistance when the e-bike reaches 20mph
Class 3 - an e-bike equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the operator is pedaling and that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches 28mph
Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes are allowed wherever regular bicycles are allowed, whereas Class 3 e-bikes are only allowed on roadways (except in special circumstances).
Arkansas does not require that bicycles be equipped with brakes.
NOTE: Some cities, such as Fayetteville, require brakes. Sorry, fixie lovers.
Arkansas state law only protects pedestrians in crosswalks. Though bicycles are not considered vehicles in Arkansas, cyclists nevertheless must abide by all of the laws that apply to drivers of motor vehicles (see §27-49-219 and §27-49-111); since motorists are not allowed to cross at crosswalks, neither can cyclists.
Therefore, in order to avail oneself of the legal protections that adhere to pedestrians, a cyclist must dismount (i.e. become a pedestrian) and walk his/her bike across the crosswalk.
For up-to-date laws pertaining to bicycles, consult the Arkansas Code directly. Most applicable laws can be found in Title 27.