Passing laws: Kansas requires that in the event a motor vehicle passes a bicycle it shall leave a safe distance, not less than 3 feet, when passing the bicycle. In addition, the driver of the motor vehicle may, if safe to do so, proceed in a no passing zone.
Helmet law: There is no state law in Kansas that requires the operator of a bicycle to wear a helmet. However, though not required by law it is strongly recommended.
Vulnerable User Laws to Protect the Bicyclist: Kansas has not enacted any Vulnerable User laws.
Distracted Driving Laws: As almost every bicyclist knows, distracted driving creates one of the most dangerous risks to a bicycle on a public road way. In Kansas has the following laws aimed at distracted driving, subject to limited exceptions:
- A person who holds an instruction permit may not drive a passenger vehicle on a roadway while using a wireless communication device;
- A person who holds a farm permit may not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless communication device;
- No person may operate a motor vehicle on a roadway while using an electronic communication device to write, read or send a text message; and
- Any licensee issued a restricted license shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless communication device.
Where to Ride – Lane Position Laws for a Bicyclist: Generally speaking Kansas law requires the bicyclist to be as close to the right hand edge of the road as possible. However there are some important exceptions that I will outline below:
- When passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
- When preparing to take a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway;
- When reasonably necessary to avoid unsafe conditions such as riding in a lane that is too narrow; and
- When upon a one-way highway with two or more marked traffic lanes, in which case a bicyclist may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of such roadway as practicable.
Sidewalk Riding: There is no law that either permits or prohibits you from riding your bicycle on a sidewalk. However, Kansas requires that if there is a usable path for bicycles that is adjacent to the roadway, then you are REQUIRED to use such path.
Riding a Bike under the Influence: In Kansas, bicycles are not defined as vehicles. Kansas’s law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to vehicles and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists. However bicycles should not be operated while under the influence.
Stop Sign Laws: Generally, in Kansas bicycles have to follow the same rules as motor vehicles regarding the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and Kansas does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.
However, when a bicycle approaches an intersection controlled by a traffic light, the rider may proceed through the intersection on a steady red light if, the light fails to change to green within a reasonable amount of time because of malfunction or failure to recognize a bicycle, provided the biker:
- Comes to a full stop;
- Yield to the right of way to any pedestrian lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk; and
- Yields the right of way to the driver of any vehicle approaching on such highway from other direction.
Car Door Laws: Kansas requires that no person open their door on the side nearest to moving traffic unless it is safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of traffic. In addition, the door can only be open for the amount of time it takes to load and unload passengers.
Important Resources and Links