Kansas Bicycle Laws and Statutes

Kansas Bicycle Laws and StatutesThe Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) maintains the Kansas Bicycle Guide, which contains some basic information about cycling in the state of Kansas. The following is a summary of the bicycling laws and statutes they provide:

Kansas Bicycling Statutes

The Kansas Legislature web site offers the complete text (see Chapter 8: Automobiles and Other Vehicles), but the following are relevant excerpts:

8-1405. "Bicycle" defined.
"Bicycle" means every device propelled by human power upon which any person may ride, having two (2) tandem wheels, either of which is more than fourteen (14) inches in diameter.
8-1586. Unlawful acts; application of regulations.
(c) The provisions of K.S.A. 8-1587 to 8-1592, inclusive, which are applicable to bicycles shall apply whenever a bicycle is operated upon any highway or upon any path set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles, subject to those exceptions stated herein.
8-1587. Traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles.
Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this act, except as otherwise provided in K.S.A. 8-1586 to 8-1592, inclusive, and except as to those provisions of this act which by their nature can have no application.
8-1588. Riding on bicycles.
(a) A person propelling a bicycle shall not ride other than upon or astride a permanent and regular seat attached thereto.
(b) No bicycle shall be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed and equipped.
8-1589. Same; clinging to other vehicles prohibited.
No person riding upon any bicycle, coaster, roller skates, sled or toy vehicle shall attach the same, himself or herself to any vehicle upon a roadway.
8-1590. Riding on bicycles or mopeds; riding on roadways and bicycle paths.
(a) Every person operating a bicycle or a moped upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, except under any of the following situations when: (1) Overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction; (2) preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway; or (3) reasonably necessary to avoid conditions including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, parked or moving bicycles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards or narrow width lanes that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand edge of the roadway.
(b) Any person operating a bicycle or a moped upon a one-way highway with two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near to the left side of the roadway as practicable.
(c) Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast, except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.
(d) Wherever a usable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a roadway, bicycle riders shall use such path and shall not use the roadway.

(e) For purposes of this section, "narrow width lane" means a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side-by-side within the lane.
8-1591. Same; carrying articles.
No person operating a bicycle shall carry any package, bundle or article which prevents the driver from keeping at least one (1) hand upon the handlebars.
8-1592. Lamps, brakes and other equipment on bicycles.
(a) Every bicycle when in use at nighttime shall be equipped with a lamp on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least five hundred (500) feet to the front and with a red reflector on the rear of a type approved by the secretary of transportation which shall be visible from all distances from one hundred (100) feet to six hundred (600) feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of head lamps on a motor vehicle. A lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of five hundred (500) feet to the rear may be used in addition to the red reflector.
(b) Every bicycle shall be equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement.
(c) No person shall sell a pedal for use on a bicycle, unless such pedal is equipped with a reflector of a type approved by the secretary of transportation which is visible from the front and rear of the bicycle to which it is attached during darkness from a distance of two hundred (200) feet, and no person shall sell a new bicycle, unless it is equipped with pedals meeting the requirements of this subsection.
8-1592a. Application of 8-1586 to 8-1592 to motorized bicycles.
The provisions of K.S.A. 8-1586 to 8-1592, inclusive, shall be applicable to motorized bicycles, and every person operating a motorized bicycle shall be subject to the provisions thereof.
8-1592b. Electric-assisted bicycles; traffic law application; no registration or driver's license required.
Vehicle registration and driver's license shall not be required for operation of an electric-assisted bicycle. Traffic regulations applicable to bicycles shall apply to electric-assisted bicycles, except tricycles with no brake horsepower.

Other Related Statutes and Definitions

8-1407. "Business district" defined.
"Business district" means the territory contiguous to and including a highway when within any six hundred (600) feet along such highway there are buildings in use for business or industrial purposes, including but not limited to hotels, banks or office buildings, railroad stations and public buildings which occupy at least three hundred (300) feet of frontage on one side or three hundred (300) feet collectively on both sides of the highway.
8-1411. "Crosswalk" defined.
(a) That part of a roadway at an intersection included within the connections of the lateral lines of sidewalks on opposite sides of the highway measured from the curbs or, in the absence of curbs, from the edges of the traversable roadway; or
(b) Any portion of a roadway at an intersection or elsewhere distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the surface.
8-1416. "Driver" defined.
"Driver" means every person who drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle.
8-1424. "Highway" defined.
"Highway" means the entire width between the boundary lines of every way publicly maintained when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel.
8-1437. "Motor vehicle" defined.
"Motor vehicle" means every vehicle, other than a motorized bicycle or a motorized wheelchair, which is self-propelled and every vehicle which is propelled by electric power obtained from overhead trolley wires, but not operated upon rails.
8-1439a. "Motorized bicycle" defined.
"Motorized bicycle" means every device having two tandem wheels or three wheels which may be propelled by either human power or helper motor, or by both, and which has:
(a) A motor which produces not more than 3.5 brake horsepower;
(b) a cylinder capacity of not more than 130 cubic centimeters;
(c) an automatic transmission; and
(d) the capability of a maximum design speed of no more than 30 miles per hour except a low power cycle.
8-1446. "Pedestrian" defined.
(a) Any person afoot;
(b) any person in a wheelchair, either manually or mechanically propelled, or other low powered, mechanically propelled vehicle designed specifically for use by a physically disabled person; or
(c) any person using an electric personal assistive mobility device.
8-1459. "Roadway" defined.
"Roadway" means that portion of a highway improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the berm or shoulder. In the event a highway includes two (2) or more separate roadways the term "roadway" as used herein shall refer to any such roadway separately but not to all such roadways collectively.
8-1465. "Sidewalk" defined.
"Sidewalk" means that portion of a street between the curb lines, or the lateral lines of a roadway, and the adjacent property lines intended for use by pedestrians.
8-1471. "Stop" when required, defined.
"Stop" when required means complete cessation from movement.
8-1473. "Street" defined.
"Street" means the entire width between the boundary lines of every way publicly maintained when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular traffic.
8-1477. "Traffic" defined.
"Traffic" means pedestrians, ridden or herded animals, vehicles and other conveyances either singly or together while using any highway for purposes of travel.
8-1485. "Vehicle" defined.
"Vehicle" means every device in, upon or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, except electric personal assistive mobility devices or devices moved by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.
8-1489. "Electric-assisted bicycle" defined.
"Electric-assisted bicycle" means a bicycle with two or three wheels, a saddle, fully operative pedals for human propulsion, and an electric motor. The electric-assisted bicycle's electric motor must have a power output of no more than 1,000 watts, be incapable of propelling the device at a speed of more than 20 miles per hour on level ground and incapable of further increasing the speed of the device when human power alone is used to propel the device beyond 20 miles per hour.
8-1508. Traffic-control signals.
(4) "The driver of a motorcycle or a person riding a bicycle facing any steady red signal, which fails to change to a green light within a reasonable period of time because of a signal malfunction or because the signal has failed to detect the arrival of the motorcycle or bicycle because of its size or weight, shall have the right to proceed subject to the rules stated herein. After stopping, the driver or rider shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in or near the intersection or approaching on a roadway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time such driver or rider is moving across or within the intersection or junction of roadways. Such motorcycle or bicycle traffic shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk and to other traffic lawfully using the intersection."
Note: This is the so-called Dead Red law, which allows bicyclists and motorcylists to legally proceed through inoperative red lights in Kansas when it's safe to do so.
8-1516. Overtaking and passing of vehicles and bicycles proceeding in the same direction
(c)(1) "The driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left thereof at a distance of not less than three feet and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken bicycle."
(c)(2) "The driver of a vehicle may pass a bicycle proceeding in the same direction in a no-passing zone with the duty to execute the pass only when it is safe to do so."
See: 3-Foot Passing: It's The Law in Kansas!
8-1520. No-passing zones; duties of drivers.
Where signs or markings are in place to define a no-passing zone, no driver at any time shall drive on the left side of the roadway within such no-passing zone or on the left side of any pavement striping designed to mark such no-passing zone throughout its length.
This section does not apply under the conditions described in subsection (a) (2) of K.S.A. 8-1514: "When an obstruction exists making it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the highway, except that any person so doing shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles traveling in the proper direction upon the unobstructed portion of the highway within such distance as to constitute an immediate hazard;"
(If it's safe to do so, drivers can cross over double-yellow center lines to avoid "an obstruction" such as slow-moving vehicles or bicycles.)
8-1532. Pedestrians; obedience to official traffic-control devices required.
(a) A pedestrian shall obey the instructions of any official traffic-control device specifically applicable to such pedestrian, unless otherwise directed by a police officer.
(b) Pedestrians shall be subject to traffic and pedestrian-control signals as provided in K.S.A. 8-1508 and 8-1509.
8-1533. Same; right-of-way at crosswalks; interference with vehicular traffic; duties of drivers.
(a) When traffic-control signals are not in place or not in operation the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.
(b) No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.
(c) Subsection (a) shall not apply under the conditions stated in subsection (b) of K.S.A. 8-1534.
(d) Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.
8-1534. Same; crossing roadway at location other than crosswalk.
(a) Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.
(b) Any pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.
(c) Between adjacent intersections at which traffic-control signals are in operation pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk.
(d) No pedestrian shall cross a roadway intersection diagonally unless authorized by official traffic-control devices; and, when authorized to cross diagonally, pedestrians shall cross only in accordance with the official traffic-control devices pertaining to such crossing movements.
8-1535. Same; drivers to exercise due care.
Notwithstanding other provisions of this article or the provisions of any local ordinance, every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary and shall exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused or incapacitated person.
8-1536. Same; movement in crosswalk.
Pedestrians shall move, whenever practicable, upon the right half of crosswalks.
8-1537. Same; use of roadways.
(a) Where a sidewalk is provided and its use is practicable, it shall be unlawful for any pedestrian to walk along and upon an adjacent roadway.
(b) Where a sidewalk is not available, any pedestrian walking along and upon a highway shall walk only on a shoulder, as far as practicable from the edge of the roadway.
(c) Where neither a sidewalk nor a shoulder is available, any pedestrian walking along and upon a highway shall walk as near as practicable to an outside edge of the roadway, and, if on a two-way roadway, shall walk only on the left side of the roadway.
(d) Except as otherwise provided in this article, any pedestrian upon a roadway shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.
8-1540. Pedestrians' right-of-way on sidewalks.
The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian on a sidewalk.
8-1543. Pedestrians under influence of alcohol or drugs; misdemeanor.
A pedestrian who is under the influence of alcohol or any drug to a degree which renders such pedestrian a hazard shall not walk or be upon a highway except on a sidewalk. Violation of this section is a misdemeanor.
8-1544. Obedience of pedestrian to bridge and railroad signals required.
(a) No pedestrian shall enter or remain upon any bridge or approach thereto beyond the bridge signal, gate or barrier after a bridge operation signal indication has been given.
(b) No pedestrian shall pass through, around, over or under any crossing gate or barrier at a railroad grade crossing or bridge while such gate or barrier is closed or is being opened or closed.
(You cannot walk your bicycle across railroad tracks when the gates are down.)
8-1550. Methods of giving notice of intention to turn; hand and arm signals.
All signals herein required given by hand and arm shall be given from the left side of the vehicle in the following manner and such signals shall indicate as follows:
(a) Left turn. Hand and arm extended horizontally.
(b) Right turn. Hand and arm extended upward.
(c) Stop or decrease speed. Hand and arm extended downward.

Note: KDOT's Bicycle Safety Guide also shows that a right turn can be signalled with the right arm extended horizontally. (Image courtesy of KDOT)

8-1561. Minimum speed regulation.
(a) No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.
(Minimum speed regulations and impeding "the normal and reasonable movement of traffic" only apply to a "motor vehicle", not bicycles.)
8-1577. Opening and closing vehicle doors.
No person shall open the door of a motor vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.
(Drivers exiting vehicles cannot interfere with moving traffic, including bicycles.)
8-1903. Loads on passenger vehicles extending to either side.
No passenger-type vehicle shall be operated on any highway with any load carried thereon extending beyond the left side of such vehicle nor extending more than six (6) inches beyond the right side thereof.
(Make sure any bicycles on a car rack do not exceed the width of the vehicle.)
8-2002. Powers of local authorities.
(a)The provisions of this act shall not be deemed to prevent local authorities with respect to streets and highways under their jurisdiction and within the reasonable exercise of the police power from: (8) regulating the operation of bicycles and requiring the registration and inspection of same, including the requirement of a registration fee;
(Local communities can have their own laws that regulate bicycling to a greater or lesser degree than state statutes.)

See Also

Bicycling Laws in Other States

By Randy Rasa, editor/webmaster at Kansas Cyclist.

Last Update: January 9th, 2014