Passing laws: Mississippi 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.
Helmet law: There is no state law in Mississippi that requires the operator of a bicycle to wear a helmet. However, although not required by law it is strongly recommended.
Laws to Protect the Bicyclist: There are certain laws entitled “vulnerable user laws.” These laws, in essence, require the vehicle least at risk to yield to the vehicle most at risk. For example, a motor vehicle would have to yield to a bicycle and a bicycle would have to yield to a pedestrian. Mississippi does not have any specific vulnerable laws, but those of laws that protect bicyclist.
Mississippi law requires that:
- It is unlawful for a person to harass, taunt or maliciously throw an object towards or at a bicyclist; and
- The operator of a vehicle that passes a bicycle in the same direction may not take a right hand turn into any driveway or highway unless said turn can be made safely.
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. Every state has varying laws to attempt to reduce the amount of distracted driving that exist. Nonetheless, it still presents a serious problem.
In Mississippi there have been laws passed to attempt to reduce distracted driving by punishing violators. Here is a summary of the present laws. There will be links at the end of this article to the specific laws in full detail.
- A person who holds a permit or instruction permit, may not drive a vehicle on a roadway while using a wireless phone device to make or receive any written communications (i.e, email and text); and
- A person that is the operator of a bus with a minor on board shall not use a wireless communication device.
Lane Position Laws for a Bicyclist: Generally speaking Mississippi 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;
- When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized; and
- When it is unsafe to do so.
Sidewalk Riding: In Mississippi, there is no law that either allows or prohibits riding the bicycle on a sidewalk. Accordingly, the bicyclist has the option or either riding on a sidewalk, bike lane/path or the normal vehicular traffic lane.
Riding a Bike under the Influence: In Mississippi, bicycles are defined as vehicles. Mississippi’s law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to vehicles and therefore directly applies to bicyclists.
Stop Sign Laws: In Mississippi 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 does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.
Important Resources and Links