If one of your resolutions is to stay fit in 2017, bicycling is a simple and inexpensive way to help you meet your goal. Not only does bicycling give you a chance to get some fresh air and enjoy the scenery of the great outdoors, it is also a wonderful form of exercise. Through bicycling, an individual can reduce pain, build strength, increase muscle tone, improve stamina, lose weight, lower the risk of heart attack, and alleviate stress.
Despite these benefits, however, bicycling does have a dangerous side. Bicyclists who share the roads with cars, trucks and other motor vehicles are at risk of suffering injuries in accidents. Fortunately, bicyclists can take steps to help keep them safe. Familiarizing yourself with bicycle safety rules, and the “rules of the road” as covered in the Texas Transportation Code statutes, will go a long way towards helping you avoid sustaining serious injury in a bicycle accident.
10 Important Bicycle Safety Rules
Below are 10 important safety measures cyclists should follow anytime they take their bicycle out for a ride:
Riders should always wear a properly fitted helmet. Even though there is no statewide helmet law in Texas, wearing a helmet can significantly reduce the chances of experiencing serious head trauma or fatal injuries.
Check to see that your brakes are in working order.
Make sure the air pressure in your tires matches the manufacturer’s recommended amounts.
Wear light-colored or reflective clothing so drivers can more easily see you.
Always ride with the flow of traffic, never against it.
Obey traffic signs and signals.
Stay visible to other vehicles at all times.
Ride predictably so drivers will be more able to anticipate your moves.
Be aware of other driver’s right of way and yield when necessary.
Never travel at an excessive rate of speed.
The essential rule of bicycle safety is to not do anything you wouldn’t do if you were behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
Bicycle Laws in the State of Texas
One of your responsibilities as a bicyclist in the state of Texas is to make yourself aware of the laws pertaining to bicycles. This is important for all bicyclists, regardless of whether they are intending to ride as a way to get to and from work, for pure enjoyment, or as a way to stay fit.
Texas Transportation Code (Title 7, Chapter 551) states:
- Bicyclists have the same rights and duties as a driver operating a motor vehicle.
- A bicyclist can only ride on or astride a bicycle which has a permanent, regular seat attached to its frame.
- Bicycles cannot be used to transport more people than the bicycle is intended to carry.
- Bicyclists must always have at least one hand on the handlebars, although two hands is preferred for safety’s sake. Carrying any object(s) that prevents this from happening is strictly prohibited.
- Bicyclists should try to ride within three feet of the curb. The only exceptions are when a bicyclist is preparing to make a left-hand turn; is attempting to pass another vehicle; is traveling on a one-way road, or some obstacle or hazard prevents the bicyclist from safely riding that close to the curb.
- Bicyclists must always ride in the same direction as other traffic.
- It is against the law for bicyclists to either attach him- or her, or the bicycle, to another vehicle on the road.
- Bicyclists who want to ride during nighttime hours must equip their bicycles with a lamp on the front of the bicycle (capable of emitting a white light visible from at least 500 feet ahead), and either a red reflector or red lamp on the rear of the bicycle.
- Bicycles must be equipped with brakes capable of making the braked wheel skid.
- Bicyclists are required by law to use hand signals to inform other drivers of their intentions to come to a stop or make a turn. To signal you are making a stop, simply extend your left arm out horizontally and angle your forearm vertically downward. A left turn is signaled by extending your left arm horizontally outwards in the direction of your turn, while a right turn is signaled by extending your left upper arm horizontally and angling your forearm vertically upward.
- Even when a bike path or lane exists adjacent to the roadway, bicyclists can still opt to ride in the road so long as they adhere to the state’s bicycle laws and rules of the road.
While the above does cover a majority of the laws that apply to bicyclists, a more in-depth look at bicycle laws can be found in the Texas Transportation Code statutes.
If you or someone you love has sustained an injury in a bicycle accident, contact Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. Our firm has more than 100 years of experience and we are committed to doing all we can to help you pursue the compensation you are rightfully deserve. Call us now to let us help you assess your legal rights.