Texas Laws Protecting Bicyclists
Houston, Texas had over 23 bicycle fatalities in the past five years. Local bicycle organizations are striving to make Houston and the state of Texas a more bike-friendly state and has put specific laws in place to protect cyclists while they are riding on roadways. For the most part, bicycles are to be treated as any other vehicle on the road in regards to right-of-way and general traffic laws. However, there are Texas state statutes that are targeted to bicycle riders as well as to how motorists should interact with bicycles on the road. These laws are in place to ensure that Texas is a safe place for bicyclists to ride and prevent accidents whenever possible.
State of Texas Cycling Laws
The ultimate goal of most Texas traffic laws, including those regarding bicycles, is to prevent accidents and keep everyone on the roadways safe. Bicyclists and pedestrians are especially protected under the law due to the extent of injury that can happen when a vehicle crashes into these vulnerable individuals. Not only must bicyclists obey the rules of the road, motorists are also expected to use extreme caution to avoid crashing with a cyclist. Some of the statutes that pertain to cyclists riding on the roads in Texas include:
Houston City Ordinance No. 95-813
Children under the age of 18 who operate or ride on a bicycle or any side car, trailer, child carrier, seat or other device attached to a bicycle must wear a bicycle helmet.
State of Texas Bicycle Laws
Statute 551.101 Rights and Duties
A person operating a bicycle has the rights and duties applicable to a driver operating a vehicle under this subtitle, unless:
(1) a provision of this chapter alters a right or duty; or
(2) a right or duty applicable to a driver operating a vehicle cannot by its nature apply to a person operating a bicycle.
Statute 551.103 Operation on Roadway
(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a person operating a bicycle on a roadway who is moving slower than the other traffic on the roadway shall ride as near as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway, unless:
(1) the person is passing another vehicle in the same direction;
(2) the person is preparing to turn left at an intersection or onto a private road or driveway;
(3) a condition on or of the roadway, including a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, pedestrian, animal, or surface hazard prevents the person from safely riding next to the right curb or edge of the roadway, or
(4) the person is operating a bicycle in an outside lane that is:
(A) less than 14 feet in width and does not have a designated bicycle lane adjacent to that lane; or
(B) too narrow for a bicycle and a motor vehicle to safely travel side by side.
(b) A person operating a bicycle on a one-way roadway with two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near as practicable to the left curb or edge of the roadway.
(c) Person operating bicycles on a roadway shall ride in a single lane. Persons riding two abreast may not impede the normal and reasonable flow of traffic on the roadway. Persons may not ride more than two abreast unless they are riding on a part of the roadway set aside for the exclusive operation of bicycles.
Houston Traffic Code Section 45-302
No person shall ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk in the City of Houston within a business district or where prohibited by sign. A business district is defined as “the territory contiguous to and including a roadway when, within 600 feet along such roadway, there are buildings in use for business or industrial purpose which occupy 300 feet collectively on both sides of the roadway.”
Traffic Laws for Bicyclists and Motorists
Ride as far to the right as practicable, in the same direction as other traffic. “Practicable does not mean “possible.” Stay out of the gutter; leave yourself enough room to avoid hazards, including parked cars with open doors.
- A cyclist may ride in the middle of a lane (take the lane) that is less than 14 feet wide or is too narrow to safely share with a motor vehicle. Cyclists may ride two abreast when taking a lane on a multi-lane roadway. Persons riding two abreast may not impede the normal and reasonable flow of traffic on the roadway.
- A cyclist should ride in the proper lane to make a turn or otherwise negotiate an intersection. That is usually the rightmost lane that goes to your destination.
- A cyclist may ride to the left side on a one-way roadway.
- A cyclist must stop and yield at stop signs and traffic lights just as motor vehicles do.
- A cyclist must have and use a white light on the front of the bike and a red reflector or red light on the back when riding in the dark.
- If only one brake is working , it should be on the back wheel to avoid pitching the rider over the handlebars.
- Vehicles, including bicycles are prohibited from racing on public roads, There are specific allowances for sanctioned bicycle races that are approved by local law enforcement.
- Always carry Texas I.D. or Drivers License when operating a bicycle on public roads.
- Use hand and arm signals.
Left Turn: Raise left arm to a horizontal positions
Right Turn: Left arm raised so hand is pointing up or Right arm extended horizontally.
Stop or slow down: Raise left arm horizontal and bend elbow so hand is pointing down.
Car Door Bicycle Injury Lawyer Serving Houston, Texas Victims
If you or a loved one has been a victim of a Texas bicycle accident, you deserve to be compensated for the costs of the accident. Even if the perpetrator flees the scene, you may be able to be compensated through your own uninsured motorist insurance policy. At Houston Bicycle Accident Lawyer RJ Alexander Law PLLC, we will fight for your rights to receive a fair financial award for the pain and suffering you have had to endure due to the recklessness of someone else. RJ Alexander Law PLLC offers a free consultation to discuss your case and will not charge you a fee unless you receive a monetary payout so call (713) 766-3322 today.