As bicycling continues to be the fastest growing mode of transportation, more cities are accommodating riders on their commutes. While bicyclists have the same rights as drivers in the state of Texas, they also have the same responsibilities. Whether you are enjoying a leisurely ride or you are commuting to and from work in rush hour, knowing the rules is necessary to stay safe on the road.
Laws for Bicyclists
Following these rules can help reduce your risk of being fined or worse, being involved in an accident.
- Travel in the same direction as traffic, never against it
- Obey traffic signs, including red lights and stop signs
- Observe others’ right-of-way
- Pay attention to lane markers
- When riding at night, use a light on the front and a red reflector or red light on the back of your bike
- Signal your turns: For a left turn, stretch your left arm out to the left. For a right turn, stretch your right arm out to the right. When stopping, hold your left arm downward.
General Bicycle Safety
While there is no Texas helmet law, some cities and counties do require cyclists to wear helmets. It is always best to wear a properly fitted helmet to reduce the chance of injury or even death in case of an accident. Always plan your trip ahead of time to avoid any dangerous roads, and check your tires and breaks before leaving the house. Ride as far to the right as you can, and be on the lookout for vehicles making right turns.
Riding at Night
Riding at night poses more risks for bicyclists, but you can take precautions to keep yourself safe when it is dark out. In addition to equipping your bike with a light on the front and either a red light or a red reflector on the back of your bike, you should wear bright colors or reflective clothing while riding at night. This will help drivers see you on the road and can prevent an accident. When possible, try to take a route that is well lit to assist in seeing potholes or other road hazards.
Tips for Drivers
When driving, be on the lookout for cyclists, especially at intersections. When you are passing a cyclist, be sure to give them plenty of room, and move to another lane when possible. As cycling becomes more common, it is important to familiarize yourself with cyclists’ hand signals so you will know when they are turning and stopping.
Visit TxDOT Bicycle Safety for more tips on sharing the road.