Houston drivers need to be on the lookout for more bicycles on or near the roads. The bicycle-sharing company Houston B-Cycle has seen a 65% increase in ridership recently and is looking to expand into other parts of the city. This doesn’t come as a surprise to cycling enthusiasts, as approximately four million Texans ride bicycles every year.
While bicycling in any major city is risky, this is especially true in a city like Houston where drivers are not as used to seeing bicyclists on or near the road. The current infrastructure of Houston was not designed to safely provide for bicyclists on the majority of its roadways, even though many commute to work on bikes or enjoy biking on the weekends.
Houston Bicycle Laws
Texas law maintains bicyclists have the same duty of care as drivers, including keeping to the right whenever possible, passing with care, and signaling for turns. Bicyclists must stop at red lights and stop signs, use bike lanes wherever available, and ensure their bikes have operational braking systems before riding.
The Houston Bicycle Ordinance requires all riders under the age of 18 to wear an appropriately-fitted helmet at all times when operating a bicycle or riding as a passenger. The Houston Bicycle Ordinance also prohibits bicyclists from riding on sidewalks within business districts of Houston and requires them to yield the right of way to pedestrians when riding on other sidewalks.
Safety Tips For Avoiding Bicycle Accidents
Texas ranks a lowly 33rd on a national list of bicycle-friendly states. To this effect, many drivers do not know how to react when they see a bicyclist on the road, which has resulted in a higher number of bicycle accidents.
For Bicycle Riders:
- Before riding, check your bike to ensure it’s ready to roll
- Do not wear headphones while riding
- Keep both hands on the handlebars except when signaling to turn
- Ride single-file when riding in a group
- Wear brightly colored and/or reflective attire
- Protect your head by wearing a properly fitted bike helmet
- Stay visible using blinking lights
For Drivers Sharing the Roads:
- Be mindful of the space between your vehicle and a bicycle – passing motorists should give cyclists at least three feet of space
- Use caution while turning, including checking your blind spots before making a right turn by looking over your right shoulder
- Stay out of designated bike lanes
- Yield and give cyclists the right of way
- Be extra careful at night and/or in lower visibility conditions, as most bicyclist deaths occur between 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm
- As always, don’t drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Houston Bicycle Accident Injury Lawyer
The majority of bicycle accidents are serious, since a cyclist has no protection from a car weighing several thousand pounds. If you or a family member has been the victim of a Houston bicycle accident, contact an experienced bike injury trial attorney to learn more about your legal rights.