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Texas Bicycle Laws: What You Need To Know

Posted On September 21, 2020 In Uncategorized

Riding a bicycle can be an incredibly enjoyable experience. Whether a bicyclist is a recreational rider or someone who uses the cycle as their regular mode of transportation, it is important to understand that bicyclists face more risks than others in or around the roadway. In an effort to mitigate the risks involved in riding a bicycle, both drivers and bicyclists need to understand Texas bicycle laws and how they apply. Here, we want to review some of the basic Texas bicycle laws so you can remain safe on the roadway.

Texas Cycling Laws You Should Know

There is no doubt that bicycling can be dangerous, particularly because bicyclists typically operate around other vehicles, trucks, buses, etc. However, it is important to understand that bicycles are generally considered vehicles under state law and should be afforded the same rights as other vehicles. Conversely, bicyclists are required to follow traffic laws when they are on the roadway. Some of the basic bicycle laws in Texas are as follows:

  • Bicyclists should only ride on streets, roadways, bike paths, and other routes specifically designated for bicycle riding.
  • Bicycles should not be ridden into bicycle racks. Rather, a bicyclist should dismount upon arrival and place their bike into an available space.
  • Bicycles are considered vehicles, and the bicyclist must obey all traffic laws, signs, and signals. This includes stopping at all stop signs and all red lights.
  • Bicyclists may ride two-abreast on the roadway, but shall not impede the normal and reasonable flow of traffic.
  • A person using a bicycle may not carry more passengers then the bicycle is designated for.
  • Bicyclists may not carry any objects that prevent them from keeping at least one hand on the handlebars.
  • Bicyclists must extend their hands to perform arm signals regarding their intent to stop or turn.
  • Every bicycle must be equipped with a brake capable of making the braked wheel skid on dry, clean, and level pavement.
  • Bicycles can only be operated at nighttime if they are equipped with a headlamp that is visible from a distance of 500 feet in front of the bike and a rear red reflector or red lamp visible from a distance of 300 feet or 500 feet, respectively.
  • A bicycle rider who is moving slower than other traffic on the roadway should ride as near as possible to the right curb or right edge of the roadway.

Under the following circumstances, bicyclists are allowed to take the full lane of travel:

  • When the person is passing another vehicle moving in the same direction.
  • What the person is preparing to make a left turn at an intersection or onto a private road or driveway.
  • When there are unsafe conditions on the roadway that prohibit riding safely near the right side of the road.
  • When the lane is substandard width, making it unsafe for a bicyclist and motor vehicle to travel side by side.

While Texas does not have a statewide helmet law requirement for bicyclists, all bicycle riders, including electric bicycle riders, are strongly encouraged to wear helmets to protect them from open head wounds and traumatic brain injuries.

Texas Bicycle Accident Statistics

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 2,547 total bicycle crashes reported during the latest year of data available. Out of these incidents, there were:

  • 16 fatalities
  • 312 suspected serious injuries
  • 1,102 non-incapacitating injuries
  • 878 possible injuries

When looking at this data, it is clearly evident that bicycle operators have a high probability of being injured in the event a collision occurs with another passenger vehicle on the roadway. By following the laws mentioned above, both drivers and bicycle riders will take steps to mitigate risks and stay safe on the roadway.

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