In a prior post, we reviewed the rules Kansas has relating to passing persons on bicycles.  Today’s post also relates to non-vehicle transportation.   We examine a Kansas statute relating to persons driving animal drawn carriages or riding animals.

KSA 8-1504 grants persons riding an animal or driving an animal drawn carriage the same rights and expects them follow the same rules and duties applicable to drivers of motor vehicles.  It does go on to state, however, that it does not apply to those rules or rights that, by their very nature, have no application.  Mostly, these would relate to certain required equipment on vehicles that, by their nature, would not be required on an animal or animal drawn carriage.

What is the legislature’s purpose in this statute?  Certain religious communities may not utilize vehicles and it seems the legislature wants drivers of motor vehicles to extend the same rights and courtesy to animal drawn carriages or persons riding animals.  They also seem to want to make sure that persons utilizing these non traditional forms of transportation still have a duty and responsibility to other drivers on the roadway.

I do question, however, the sentence in this statute relating to those rights or duties that cannot be applied due to “their very nature.”  It seems this could leave an argument for some defense attorneys to argue certain duties might exempt a person riding an animal or animal drawn carriage while prosecutors could argue the same potential duty may apply.  There could be room for subjective arguments.  The legislature may need to clarify which equipment or rules do and do not apply to these forms of transportation.

The safest approach would be to do as much as you can in regards to following the rules and equipment and then a “best efforts” or “good faith” argument could be made to any Judge hearing a potential violation.

Until next time, drive safe!