Bicycle Safety

There are many reasons the cycling population is growing in the Texas. First and foremost, the general population is growing. Fast. People are also cycling for a wider variety of reasons: lifestyle, health and commuting, among others. Whether you are a cyclist or driver, thoroughly understanding the laws, ordinances, rights and duties, and best practices is the smartest way to arm yourself against the dangers of the road.

Common Myths About Cycling

Whether you are taking a leisurely ride through the neighborhood or you are making deliveries in the middle of downtown rush hour, knowing the rules of the road is essential. There are plenty of myths and misperceptions when it comes to cycling safety. For instance, many people do not realize that bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. Bicycling is a legitimate mode of transportation with the same rights and duties as a motor vehicles on the roadway.

Cyclist Rights

  • Cyclists have the same rights and duties on the road as a driver operating a vehicle. A cyclist moving slower than other traffic on should ride as close as possible to the right curb or edge of the roadway, unless the person is passing another vehicle moving in the same direction, the person is preparing to turn left at an intersection, or there is a hazard on the road.
  • Cyclists may ride two to a lane as long as they do not impede the normal and reasonable flow of traffic.

For a list of Texas bicycle FAQs visit the TxDOT bicycle FAQ page. The information to the right is a simplified version of the Texas Transportation Code Chapters 551 and 545 as they pertain to bicycles. For a complete list of Texas laws visit the Texas statutes. Also, whenever you travel, whether far away or to a neighboring town, check local ordinances as they vary from city to city.

  • 551.001
  • 551.101
  • 551.102
  • 551.103
  • 551.104
  • 545.107

persons-affected

Sec. 551.001. PERSONS AFFECTED

These laws apply to any person riding a bicycle on a highway or bike lane

duties

Sec. 551.101. RIGHTS AND DUTIES

A person riding a bike must follow the same laws that apply to a driver in a motor vehicle.

operation

Sec. 551.102. GENERAL OPERATION

Only one person per bike, unless the bike is designed for riding tandem. – You cannot carry anything or perform any task that prevents you from having at least one hand on the handlebars

roadway

Sec. 551.103. OPERATION ON ROADWAY

Cyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic and near the curb (the minimum safe distance while passing is 3 feet between cyclists and standard size motor vehicle and 6 feet between cyclists and large motor vehicles) – Cyclists do have the right to take the lane when out of safety necessity – Cyclists may ride two abreast when it does not impede traffic

safety-equipment

Sec. 551.104. SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Bicycle brakes must be capable of making the braked wheel skid while on level pavement – Bicycles must be equipped with a white light on the front of the bike and a red reflector on the back for nighttime riding

sidewalk

Sec. 545.107. METHOD OF GIVING HAND AND ARM SIGNALS

– To indicate turning left, extend your left arm horizontally – To indicate turning right, cyclists can either extend their right arm or extend left arm and hand upward – To indicate slowing down or stopping, extend hand and arm downward

Best-Practices

Best Practices forĀ Bicyclists

In addition to knowing the law, there are some potentially life-saving best practices cyclists should follow:

  • Plan your trip – not all roadways are as safe for cycling as for a motor vehicle.
  • Wear brightly colored clothing and reflective gear at night.
  • Although riding on sidewalks is allowed in most areas, be aware of cars pulling out from driveways. Ride at a lower speed to ensure that both you and the driver have enough time to stop.
  • When possible, aim to make eye contact with motorists at intersections or crosswalks, utilize hand signals, and consider using bells to alert motorists of your presence.
  • Though there is no Texas helmet law, it is always best to wear a helmet.
  • Ride as far to the right as practical (daytime). At night, be aware of environment conditions, fast traffic roads, bar and club areas, determine whether taking the lane (as recommended at night) is the safe thing to do.
  • Reinforce hand signals verbally.

This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work!

Please upgrade today!