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What Laws Apply to Cyclists in Texas?

If you want to operate your bicycle on the roadways of Texas, then there are various laws that you need to be aware of. It is imperative that you learn and understand the safe operation of your bicycle as well as the laws that apply to you and other motorists so that you can avoid serious accidents that lead to catastrophic injuries. This is not a complete list of laws that could affect you and other riders, so please conduct your own research before heading out on your bike. If you experience a crash, speak to a bicycle accident attorney in Houston for assistance.

Bicyclists Have the Right to be There

When we examine Texas law regarding bicyclists, we can see that bicycle riders are typically entitled to every right that other motorists have, and they are also obligated to follow all duties of a roadway that drivers must adhere to (Tex. Transp. Code § 551.101). 

Under Texas law, a bicycle refers to the type of vehicle that you typically think of as a bicycle, as well as electric bicycles, so long as they have fully operable pedals and a motor that is less than 750 watts that assist the rider. An electric bicycle cannot travel more than 28 mph.

Bicyclists must follow all traffic laws that drivers are required to follow up. This includes stopping at stop lights and stop signs, yielding the right of way to others, and more.

Riding Near the Curb and the Direction of Traffic

Texas law does say that bicyclists should ride as close as possible to the shoulder or curb of the road and travel in the same direction as other traffic. There are times when bicyclists can deviate from this, particularly when passing slower motorists or bicyclists and when they need to make a turn.

One Hand on the Handlebars

Bicyclists are required to leave one hand on the handlebars at all times, although, of course, two hands are recommended. This helps ensure roadway safety by always having the rider ready to adjust to changing roadway conditions and hazards.

Arm Signals for Turning

Texas law states that bicyclists must signal which way they wish to turn by pointing in the direction they want to go. This allows other motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists to know a rider’s intentions.

  • Stop – a rider should extend their left hand and turn their forearm down at a 90-degree angle.
  • Left turn – the rider should extend their left arm and hand horizontally
  • Right turn – the rider should extend their left arm to the left but turn therefore arm up at a 90-degree angle, OR they should extend to their right arm horizontally

Proper Bicycle Equipment

Any person who wants to ride their bicycle in the evening and night time must have the following equipment in place:

  • Headlamp – this must be on the front of the bicycle and emit a white light visible from at least 500 feet in front of the bicyclist.
  • Red reflector or lamp – the bicycle must have either a red reflector that is visible from at least 300 feet behind the bicyclist OR have a red lamp that is visible from a distance of at least 500 feet from behind the bicyclist.

Brakes That Make the Wheel Skid

Every legal bicycle in Texas must have brakes. The brake on a bike must be capable of making the braked wheel skid if it is on level, dry, and clean pavement. If you’re injured in a collision, speak to our personal injury lawyer in Houston.

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