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Rules of the Road - Bike Edition!

With ten new people a day moving - MOVING!!!- to Bentonville, 35 to the whole NWA area, many of them are here because bikes. As far as we can tell, there is no one single, definitive, easy-to-read place where the rules of riding are posted, so we thought we’d share what we know to be the Rules of the Road - Bike Edition! FYI we have a printed set of these rules in our offices, so if you’d like some to share, (with people who need a refresher lol) stop by anytime.

Bicycle with helmet strapped onto it
Photo by Kaffebart on Unsplash

These are the rules for the State of Arkansas. If you’re accessing this from out of state, YMMV, as they say.

Bicycles are not necessarily vehicles under Arkansas law, however bicyclists have all of the rights and responsibilities of other drivers. Bikes obey all traffic laws, signs, and signals, use hand signals to indicate left or right turns, slowing, or stopping, and aren't allowed to use phones while riding. This also means bikes can ride in the center of the lane, and are not required to ride along the curb.

In Arkansas, bikes must slow down at stop signs, and may proceed only if traffic is clear and the action doesn’t present an immediate hazard. This is why you will see cyclists seemingly "run" a stop sign. Under the same conditions, cyclists may take off before cars at stoplights after they stop. This is so the cyclist can get out of the way of cars, who may not appreciate being slowed down while a cyclist slowly gets going from a full stop. The faster a cyclist is out of the intersection, the safer everyone is.


  • Group rides

Ride single file on the road and on the trail when other trail users are present, and never use more than one-half of the trail.

couple biking int eh woods of Holland
Biking the countryside in the Netherlands. Photo by Denise Jans on Unsplash
  • Control your speed

Obey all speed regulations. Slow down and use caution when approaching and overtaking other riders.

  • Shout out when passing

Give an audible call when approaching or overtaking another trail user. A friendly “on your left”, or ringing the bell on your handlebars is appropriate.

  • Ride with the flow of traffic, not against it

Just like in the car, ride to the right on your bike, except when passing, preparing for a turn, or avoiding a hazard. Ride on the shoulder whenever it’s suitable and safe. That said, bicycles are generally entitled to the whole lane on all roads, not just on designated bike routes.

  • Ride single file

blurry black and white photo of cyclists, meant to show they are riding fast
Photo Maico Amorim on Unsplash

Ride single file (especially in traffic and on curvy roads). This is especially important. Most trails aren't wide enough to accommodate two-by-two, much less your 2 plus 1 coming the other direction. It's just the right thing to do, plus this provides more room to maneuver.. Ride two abreast only if no one else is around, or if you’re both on the shoulder.

  • Be visible

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. Brightly colored clothing is also an option, but not required.

  • Trail condition etiquette

mtb dude sending it
Photo by Ruben Christen on Unsplash

If you see a mud puddle, ride through it, do not go around creating an alternate line. Respect all trail signs. Monitor local trail reports for closures and condition updates.

  • Safety

Always wear a helmet. This should go without saying. Full-face helmets are recommended for mountain biking. Elbow and knee pads are highly recommended. Always carry water. Call 911 for emergencies. Bentonville has a special Trail Response Unit just for trail emergencies, so if you are hurt, or encounter someone who is injured, don’t hesitate to call for help.

riding in the woods in Bracknell, England
Trails in Bracknell, southwest England. Photo by Carl Winterbourne on Unsplash

Who yields the trail?

Bicyclists, skaters, walkers and others yield to equestrians.

Bicyclists and skaters yield to walkers.

Bicyclists yield to skaters

Downhill users yield to uphill users

Faster users yield to slower users

  • Think green

Respect wildlife - never spook animals, and Leave No Trace. Stay on the existing trail and don’t create new ones. If camping or picnicking, pack out at least as much as you take in.

  • Leash your dog

This should go without saying. More and more people are starting to carry items to defend themselves against stray or aggressive dogs. You don't want to wander upon your dog squirming and squealing on the ground because a it startled a rider and got pepper sprayed.

This is by no means a definitive list of cycling law, but it's a good start. With our trails and the Greenway seeing more and more use daily, a little courtesy will go a long way. The trails are FREE, and here for everyone to enjoy. Be polite, don't endanger others, and follow the rules so we can all have a good time.

Remember, both our locations are insanely bike friendly, and we have FREE bike storage while you work. Hit us up anytime for a tour, and to arrange your own workspace in the Market District or Bela Vista.

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