Every road user — motorist, pedestrian, and cyclist alike — needs to know (and obey) the rules of the road. If you do not know the Texas bicycle laws, you may put yourself at risk of injury on the road, as well as for receiving a citation or fine for violations. Below are a few important traffic laws that pertain to cyclists in Texas.
Which traffic laws apply to cyclists?
You can find the majority of the traffic laws that apply to bicycles in Texas Transportation Code Chapter 551. According to § 551.101(a), the law considers a bicycle a vehicle, and as such, a cyclist has the same rights and obligations as a motorist.
“Unless a specific statutory right or duty is altered by Tex. Transp. Code Chapter 551, or a right or duty applicable to a driver cannot by its nature apply to a person operating a bicycle, the same laws that apply to an operator of motor vehicle apply to a person operating a bicycle,” explains the DOT.
What are some general Texas bicycle laws of which I should be aware?
Below are a few key bicycle traffic laws with which you will need to be familiar:
- When cyclists are traveling slower than traffic, they need to ride as close as practicable to the right curb or to edge of the roadway (not the shoulder).
- If cyclists are riding on a one-way road, they should ride to the far left — not right.
- Cyclists must use hand signals when turning.
- Cyclists cannot ride more than two abreast.
- Cyclists cannot transport more people on the bike than it has seats, i.e., you cannot allow people to ride on your handlebars or crossbar.
- Cyclists must yield to pedestrians.
- Cyclists can ride on Texas highways, although riding on the highway might not be such a great idea. Chris Bishop, a Texas DOT officer, cautions on org: “Drivers of the bikes should take extra care, because let’s face it, for them especially it can be dangerous out there. It is not a safe route for bicyclists. We urge them to find something else, another way to get where they’re going.”
- Your bike must have the proper safety features, which include approved lights on the front and back of your bike, functioning brakes, and a seat.
How do I keep up-to-date with cycling traffic laws in Texas?
Legislation is always changing. For example, there was recently a new bill, HB 2459, under consideration in Texas that would have required drivers to allow a minimum of three feet of space when passing a cyclist on the road. More than half of the states already have a similar law in place.