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.
Arkansas state law makes no provisions for cyclists to behave differently than a motorist at stop signs, red lights, etc., even if/when a traffic light fails to detect a cyclists' presence and change accordingly.
For more information on "Idaho Stops," 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.
For up-to-date laws pertaining to bicycles, consult the Arkansas Code directly. Most applicable laws can be found in Title 27.