The City of Brownsville promotes bicycling as a safe, convenient and active transportation option and invests in bike lanes and paths to accommodate cyclists. In addition, the availability of infrastructure for active transportation, such as bike paths, encourages healthier lifestyles, city leaders say.
Local cyclist Graham Sevier-Schultz, who owns a bike and coffee shop in Brownsville, recently praised the city’s bike lane and trail system in an interview with ValleyCentral.com. He called bicycling a good way to experience the outdoors and said the popularity of cycling in the Rio Grande Valley is increasing.
Brownsville’s growth as a cycling community dates from 2013 when it adopted a Bicycle and Trails Master Plan. The plan stated that the goal is to create a network of bicycle trails and lanes that allow travel across all of Brownsville by walking or biking.
In 2013, the city already had 21 miles of bike lanes, 15 miles of off-road trails and more than 3 miles of sidepaths. Since then, the city has established additional bike trails, bike lanes and shared lanes marked by “sharrows”, in keeping with the plan’s principle of facilitating 10- to 15-minute trips connecting local destinations. In this current map you will find Brownsville bike trails and how well the city is connected by bicycling lanes.
A bike lane is a portion of the roadway that is designated for preferential use by bicyclists. Shared-use paths look exactly the same as regular vehicular lanes but have road markings to indicate the road is shared by bicycles and automobiles. Side paths are larger sidewalks, typically 10 to 14 feet wide (8 feet minimum). They are wider to accommodate all nonmotorized users, such as bicyclists, pedestrians, skateboarders, and roller skaters.
Bicycles and Traffic Accidents with Motor Vehicles
Unfortunately, Brownsville bicyclists know too well the danger of sharing roads dominated by cars and trucks after losing a beloved member of the bicycling community in a fatal bicycle accident in Harlingen in 2018. It was one of 71 bicycle accident fatalities in Texas in 2018, the highest number for one year in that decade.
There were 68 fatal cyclist crashes in Texas in 2019 and 312 more accidents believed to have caused serious injury.
The 71 bicycle accident fatalities in Texas in 2018 represented 1.94 percent of the state’s 3,642 traffic fatalities that year (the most in the nation).
The most likely scenario for a traffic accident that results in a cyclist’s death is:
- A 47-year-old male bicycle rider
- An urban area – not an intersection
- Cycling between 6 to 9 p.m. on a weekend
- Being hit by a pickup truck
Share the Road with Bicyclists in Texas
Share the Road Texas, which strives to educate cyclists and motorists on college campuses about bicycle laws and safety, reminds us that bicycle riders are considered vehicle operators and are required to obey traffic rules just as other vehicle operators on the road.
According to Chapter 551 of the Texas Transportation Code, bicyclists have the same rights and duties applicable to operating a vehicle. Bicycles may be operated on all roadways except where prohibited by statute such as on an interstate highway.
- Obey traffic signals, including stop signs
- Mind lane markings
- Ride with the flow of traffic
- Use hand signals when turning, stopping, or slowing
- Yield to pedestrians
- Expect, look for and share the road with cyclists
- Allow at least 3 feet of safe clearance when passing cyclists
- Look for cyclists before opening car doors, especially when parallel parking
- Give cyclists the right of way when the situation calls for it
- Never drive in bike lanes that are specifically for the safety of cyclists
Further, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that all bicyclists should wear properly fitted bicycle helmets every time they ride. A helmet is the single most effective way to prevent a head injury in a bicycle crash.
Bicyclists should also increase their visibility to drivers by wearing fluorescent or brightly colored clothing during the day, at dawn and at dusk. To be noticed when riding at night, bicycle riders should use a front light and a red reflector or flashing rear light, and use retro-reflective tape or markings on equipment or clothing.
What to Do if You Are Injured While Cycling in Brownsville
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident caused by a motorist in Brownsville, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries and accident-related losses. A Brownsville bicycle accident lawyer at Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. can review the accident and help you determine the proper steps to take after a serious bicycle accident. We know Texas personal injury law and the Transportation Code and how the law applies to bicycle accidents caused by negligent drivers.
Our experienced legal team can investigate the cycling accident you were involved in to determine who was at fault and the extent of your injuries and losses. Then we can contact the insurers to demand a payment that covers your losses and expenses.
If our aggressive negotiations with insurers do not produce an acceptable settlement, we can, after consulting with you, file a formal lawsuit to take your case to court and present your case to a judge and jury.
You should treat a serious bicycle accident like other motor vehicle accident:
- Call police
- Get photos to depict the accident and damage to your bike, as well as your injuries
- Get contact information from witnesses
- Seek either emergency medical care or see a doctor within 24 hours
- Report the accident to your insurer, but do not record a statement and do not sign anything
- Contact a local personal injury law firm that takes bicycle accident cases.
Contact Our Brownsville Bike Accident Lawyers
The Brownsville personal injury attorneys at Herrman & Herrman have extensive experience with bicycle accident cases. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident in Cameron County, speak with one of our compassionate and knowledgeable bike accident attorneys as soon as you can.