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Know Your Bicycle Rights in Texas

Monday, June 15, 2020

Being a bicyclist in Texas comes with several inherent risks. Distracted drivers, drunk drivers, roadway hazards and an increased chance of head injuries are some of the risks you take on as a cyclist. How you address these risks could determine whether or not you get into a bicycle accident. Texas crash statistics for 2018 show 72 pedal cyclist deaths in motor vehicle accidents. Protect yourself from an accident by knowing and exercising your rights as a cyclist in Texas.

what are the bicycle laws in texas?

The Right to Ride in the Road

 Many drivers show signs of anger, frustration and road rage when driving behind bicyclists in Texas. They may tailgate you, honk their horns or pass too closely. It is your right as a biker, however, to ride in the road alongside motor vehicles. Bicycles are vehicles in Texas (Section 551.001). You have the right to take up a full lane of traffic when riding in the road. For safety reasons, keep as far to the right side of the road as possible except when avoiding obstacles or turning left. If a driver was infringing upon your right to the road, you may have grounds for a case against him or her after a collision.

 If your city has a bicycle path available, use this to reduce your risk of getting into an accident. Texas law, however, does not require you to use a bike path if you would rather use a standard traffic lane. You may also have the right to ride your bicycle on the sidewalk if the area does not have any municipal rules forbidding it. Texas does not have a statewide rule against riding on sidewalks. Many major cities, however, including Dallas, have municipal laws prohibiting bicyclists from riding on sidewalks in central business districts. Learn the laws in your city before riding on the sidewalk.

The Right-of-Way

 Bicyclists in Texas receive the right-of-way when a motorist would have the right-of-way in the same situation. When at an intersection, for example, if you came to a stop first on your bicycle, you will have the right-of-way. It is against the law for a driver to ignore your right-of-way as a bicyclist. If a driver does not yield and causes an accident, he or she could be liable for your injuries and damages. You must also respect others’ rights-of-way. It is your duty as a cyclist in Texas to obey all roadway rules and traffic signs, including stop signs and traffic lights.

The Right Not to Wear a Helmet

 Texas does not have a universal bicycle helmet requirement. Currently, the State of Texas does not require any bicycle rider to wear a helmet, regardless of age or level of experience. It is your prerogative to wear a helmet or not wear a helmet, unless the municipal rules in your city say otherwise. Cities that require the use of a bicycle helmet include Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Houston and Bedford.

 A defendant in a personal injury claim in Texas could not hold it against you if you were not wearing a helmet in a bicycle accident. You have the right under state law not to wear one. Even if the accident gave you a head, face or brain injury, the defendant could not use your lack of helmet wearing in a comparative negligence defense. Wearing a helmet, however, is a wise choice for your personal safety as a bicyclist. Wearing a helmet drastically decreases your chances of a serious brain injury in an accident.

The Right to Expect Reasonable Care From Drivers

 Finally, as a bicyclist, you have the right to expect drivers and others on the road to treat you with reasonable care. All drivers owe duties of care to other drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians. These duties include obeying traffic rules and state laws. Driving drunk, texting and driving, driving negligently, and reckless driving are examples of common breaches of the duty of care by drivers in Texas. If a driver fails to respect one of your rights as a cyclist and this causes a collision, you could have the right to bring a claim against the driver for negligence. A Dallas bicycle accident lawyer could help you bring a cause of action in Texas.

Posted by admin at 5:25 pm

Bicycle Safety Tips

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Bicycles are responsible for more injuries than skateboards, trampolines, playground equipment, and swimming pools combined across all age groups, according to significant findings from a 2015 report by the National Safety Council. According to this study, nearly half a million people received treatment in emergency rooms for bicycle-related injuries. For comparison, this number is significantly higher than the number of injuries sustained playing football, at 399,873.

The report noted that 1,100 cyclists lost their lives in accidents involving motor vehicles in 2015. There are more than 80 million bike riders around the country, all at risk of injury. Fortunately, there are a few simple ways you can remain safe on the road. Follow these bicycle safety tips to reduce your risk of injury.

Wear a Helmet

The importance of this simple safety tip cannot be overstated. While most people know that wearing helmets is the safest option, they don’t know how much of a difference it makes – according to the National Safety Council, cyclists who don a helmet reduce their risks of injury by 60% and a traumatic brain injury by 58%. Bicyclists who lose control or collide with an object are most likely to fly forward and contact with the ground at high speeds can prove devastating, even fatal.

For maximum safety, choose a helmet that meets minimum federal safety standards. Always wear a helmet snugly with the strap flush with your chin.

Follow the Rules of the Road

Motorists and bicyclists have an implicit duty to “share the road.” Motorists must provide a safe passing distance and be aware of bicyclists, but cyclists also must follow the rules of the road. If you routinely take the same route, become acquainted with local traffic laws and ride single file in the direction of traffic.

Cyclists are most vulnerable at intersections, so use extra caution in these areas. Look to the right, to the left, and over the shoulder before crossing or entering traffic. Use appropriate hand signals when turning and be aware of hazards like opening car doors.

Equip Your Bike

Make sure your bike has proper safety features like reflectors. At minimum, your bike should have them on the front, rear, pedals, and spokes. Attach a rear-view mirror for enhanced visibility and use a horn or bell to alert drivers to your presence.

Suit Up

If you’re biking in traffic, dress for the occasion. Wear bright or reflective clothing that makes you visible to drivers. Avoid biking at night if possible, but if you must ride at night, all your clothing should be reflective.

Be Aware of Common Hazards

Some bicycle accidents are more common than others. In an urban environment, a common scenario called a “right hook,” occurs when a cyclist travels in the same direction as a vehicle, and the motorist turns to the right and into a cyclist’s path. This is most common at intersections, by highway entrance and exit ramps, and driveways. Mitigate your risk of injury by glancing over your left shoulder frequently and using exaggerated hand signals to make your intentions known to other drivers.

Another common hazard is car doors – specifically, a vehicle door opening and striking someone when a motorist exits his or her car. The best way to avoid this risk is to assume that every door in your path will open. Leave a door-sized space between you and the side of the road when passing parked or stopped cars.

Bicycling can be a wonderful way to commute while getting a little exercise, but it’s not without its dangers. Observe these basic safety tips to reduce your risk of injury.

Posted by admin at 5:11 pm