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Cycling & Texas Law
Texas Drivers Handbook
CHAPTER 9 SOME SPECIAL DRIVING SITUATIONS (Page 56)
SHARE THE ROAD WITH BICYCLES
A bicycle is a vehicle. Any person riding a bicycle has all of the rights and responsibilities as a driver of a vehicle.
Bicycle Rules for Motorists
1. Bicyclists are not restricted to the right lane of traffic. One-way, multi-lane streets are one example. Another instance is when the bicyclist is changing lanes to make a left turn. The bicyclists should follow the same path any other vehicle would take traveling in the same direction.
2. Motorcycles should merge with bicycle traffic when preparing for a right turn. Avoid turning directly across the path of a bicycle traffic.
3. Bicyclists are required to ride as far to the right in the lane as possible only when the lane can be safely shared by a car and a bicycle, side-by-side. Even then there are certain conditions which allow a bicyclist to take the full lane.
a. The person is overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
b. The person is preparing for a left turn at an intersection or onto a private road or driveway.
c. There are unsafe conditions in the roadway such as fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, pedestrians, animals, potholes, or debris.
d. The lane is of substandard width making it unsafe for a car and a bicycle to safely share the lane side by side. When this is the case, it is best for the cyclist to take the full lane whether riding single file or two abreast.
Car-Bicycle Crashes Caused by Motorists
The most common motorist caused car-bicycle crashes are:
1. A motorist turns left in front of oncoming bicycle traffic. Oncoming bicycle traffic is often overlooked or its speed misjudged.
2. A motorist turns right across the path of the bicycle traffic. The motorist should slow and merge with the bicycle traffic for a safe right-hand turn.
3. A motorist pulls away from a stop sign and fails to yield right-of-way to bicycle cross traffic. At intersections, right-of-way rules apply equally to motor vehicles and bicycles.
CHAPTER 13 BICYCLE VEHICLE LAWS AND SAFETY (Page 65)
BICYCLE TRAFFIC LAWS
A bicycle is a vehicle. Any person riding a bicycle has the same rights and responsibilities that apply to a driver operating a vehicle unless it cannot by its nature apply to a person operating a bicycle. Any person who operates a bicycle is subject to the same penalties for violating a traffic law as is a person operating a motor vehicle. All traffic convictions will be placed on the individual’s driver record, regardless if the conviction was for an offense committed on a bicycle or in a motor vehicle.
Do:
1. A bicyclist should always obey all traffic laws, signs, and signals. Never ride opposite the flow of traffic. Stop at all stop signs and stop at red lights.
2. A person operating a bicycle on a one-way road with two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near as possible to the left curb or edge of the road.
3. Individuals who are riding two abreast shall not impede the normal reasonable flow of traffic on the road. Individuals riding two abreast on a “laned” road must ride in a single lane.
4. Bicyclists may ride on the shoulder of a road.
5. Bicyclists may signal a right-hand turn using either the left arm pointing up or the right arm pointed horizontally.
6. A person operating a bicycle on a road moving slower than the other traffic shall ride as near as possible to the right curb or edge of the road unless:
a. The person is overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
b. The person is preparing for a left turn at an intersection or onto a private road or driveway.
c. There are unsafe conditions in the roadway such as fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, pedestrians, animals, potholes, or debris.
d. The person operating a bicycle in an outside lane that is:
   - Less than 14 feet in width and doesn’t have a designated bicycle lane adjacent to that lane; or
   - The lane is too narrow for a bicycle and a motor vehicle to safely travel side by side.
Don't:
1. No bicycle shall be used to carry more than the number of individuals it is designated or equipped for.
2. No person riding a bicycle shall attach the same or himself to a streetcar or vehicle upon a road.
3. No person operating a bicycle shall carry any package, bundle, or article which prevents him/her from keeping at least one hand on the handlebars.
4. Only ride upon or astride a permanent and regular seat.
SHARED LANE MARKING
The shared lane marking may be used to:
1. Assist bicyclists with lateral positioning in a shared lane with on-street parallel parking in order to reduce the chance of a bicyclist’s impacting the open door of a parked vehicle;
2. Assist bicyclists with lateral position in lanes too narrow for a motor vehicle and a bicycle to travel side by side within the same traffic lane;
3. Alert road users of the lateral location bicyclists are likely to occupy within the traveled way;
4. Encourage safe passing of bicyclists by motorists; or
5. Reduce the incidence of wrong-way bicycling.
BICYCLES MUST BE PROPERLY EQUIPPED
1. Every bicycle shall be equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement.
2. Hearing-impaired bicycle riders may display a safety flag.
3. Every bicycle in use at nighttime shall be equipped with:
a. A lamp on the front which emits a white light visible at a distance of at least 500 feet to the front of the bicycle;
b. A red, DPS-approved reflector on the rear must be visible from distances of 50 feet to 300 feet. (A red light on the rear visible from a distance of 500 feet may be used in addition to the red reflector.)
BICYCLE SAFETY GUIDLINES
1. It is highly suggested bicycle riders wear an approved bicycle helmet.
2. When riding on pedestrian facilities, reduce speed and exercise caution.
3. Do not weave in and out of parked cars.
4. Move off of the street to stop, park, or make repairs to your bicycle.
5. A bicyclist should select a route according to the person’s own bicycling skill and experience.
6. It is not required by law but bicycles should be equipped with a mirror.
RIDING IN WET WEATHER
Water makes certain surfaces slick. Be aware of manhole covers and painted stripes on the road. Water also obscures some hazards. Watch for potholes filled with water. In addition, the visibility of motorists is greatly decreased in wet weather. Wear highly visible clothing when riding a bicycle.
The information was taken from the Texas Drivers Handbook (Updated: May 8, 2012).
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