Louisiana Bike Laws
It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in Louisiana.
It is especially important after a bicycle crash (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here).
For any questions about the State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact attorney Charlie Thomas directly.
Right to the Road
- Louisiana bicyclists generally have the same rights, and same duties, as drivers of motor vehicles.
- Clinging to motor vehicles while biking is not permitted.
- Bicycles may only carry the number of persons for which it is designed.
- There is no statewide requirement for helmet for adults, however, children under 12 years of age in Louisiana must legally wear a helmet while riding in public.
- Louisiana’s DUI statute does not apply to bicyclists (only to operators of motor vehicles), but a bicyclist under the influence may be charged with public intoxication.
Where to Ride
- Bicycles are to ride as close as practicable and safe to the right side of the roadway except when overtaking another bicyclist, when preparing to make a left turn, when necessary to avoid a roadway hazard or vehicle, or when riding in a substandard width lane.
- Sidewalk riding is neither allowed or prohibited by Louisiana state law. Local ordinances typically address this issue.
- New Orleans municipal code – No person 15 or more years of age shall ride a bicycle upon any sidewalk in the city nor will bicycles be allowed on sidewalks in the business district.
Motor Vehicle Doors
- No person may open the door of a motor vehicle unless it is safe to do so.
Bike Lanes, Bike Paths and Multi-Use Paths
- Louisiana does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.
Stop Signs and Traffic Control Devices
- Bicyclists are required to come to a full and complete stop at all stop signs and traffic lights displaying a red signal.
- Bicyclists must use hand/arm signals when turning and stopping.
Drivers Overtaking Bicyclists
- An overtaking driver must exercise due care and leave a safe distance of not less than three feet when overtaking a bicyclist.
- Bicyclists may not ride more than 2 abreast and may not impede motor vehicle traffic.
- Every bicycle must be equipped with a white front facing headlight and a red rear light, visible from at least 500 feet when used at nighttime.
- Every bicycle shall be equipped with a bell or other device capable of giving a signal audible for a distance of at least 100 feet, except that a bicycle shall not have a siren or whistle.
- Every bicycle shall be equipped with a brake that will allow the bike to skid on clean, level, and dry pavement.
- Louisiana prohibits anyone from harassing, taunting, or maliciously throwing objects at a bicyclist. See https://www.velonews.com/2017/05/news/legally-speaking-brought-justice_437651.
- Louisiana provides that local governments may institute their own bicycle registration programs.
- Bicycle registration is not mandatory in New Orleans.
Electric Assist Bikes
- Louisiana law defines an electric assisted bicycle as a motorized bicycle with pedals and propelled by human power with a helper motor or both. The motor must be rated no more than 50cc, have an automatic transmission and designed to have a maximum speed of not more than 25mph on flat surface.
- Bicyclists may use e-bikes in the same manner as traditional bicycles, except that they must wear a helmet unless they have a health insurance policy with medical benefits over $10,000.