Bicycles in Large Cities
The biggest fear a bicycle rider faces whenever they peddle off for their commute on two wheels is being hit by a car. In cities like San Antonio and/or Corpus Christi, seeing people riding their bikes in certain parts of town is a common site. Motorists should know that cyclists have the same rights as they do on the road. Cyclists also need to remember that the laws that all motorists are responsible for apply to them as well. The most important thing both cyclists and motorists need to know in order to prevent bicycle accidents is to always be aware of their surroundings.
Hit and runs are major problems with bicycle accidents. In 2013, Chron published an article addressing the issue of catching hit and run drivers. They proposed that bicycle riders attach cameras to the back of their bikes as well as on their helmet. This news article came after reports of over 1,000 hit-and-run accidents were reported in Corpus Christi. Of those accidents, over 100 of them involved bicyclists, and pedestrians being struck by vehicles.
Share the Road
Bicycle accidents occur when the cyclist or the motorist, or both, are distracted or impaired. The state of Texas has very clear laws when it comes the well-being of anyone commuting, whether it’s on two wheels or four. BikeTexas.org is a great website to see and read the Texas Transportation Code rights and regulations for bicyclists. To save you time, we broke down the most common laws right here for your convenience. Useful peace of mind information no matter what means of transportation you use to get around town.
Safe Passing Laws – 3Feet Rule
Technically, Texas does not have a statewide regulation for the amount of distance a vehicle needs to give a cyclist when overtaking. Certain cites like Austin, New Braunfels, Helotes, El Paso, Beaumont, and San Antonio have created their own safe passing law of 3-feet. Austin, TX, is known for having a high volume of bicycle riders and undercover police officers enforce the safe passing law to crackdown on dangerous drivers.
Texas has a laissez-faire attitude when it comes to helmet laws. There is no statewide helmet law, but cities like Austin, Houston, and Ft. Worth have mandatory helmet laws for anyone under 18. Even though it is legal to ride a bike without a helmet, if you’re above age, you have to ask yourself, “Why wouldn’t I wear a helmet?” Wearing a helmet may not lower your risk of being hit by a vehicle, but it will lower your risk of sustaining a serious head injury in case of an accident.
BUI – Bicycling Under the Influence
The law in Texas is very vague on this. Texas defines a motor-vehicle as; “a device in, or by which a person or property is or may be transported or drawn on a highway, except a device used exclusively on stationary rails or tracks.” An attorney can argue that the term motor vehicle implies that vehicles powered by humans, like bicycles, don’t apply to this rule. However, someone who is caught riding a bike while under the influence can still be arrest for public intoxication so it’s recommended that you don’t drink and ride.
Did you know there are regulations for opening vehicle doors in traffic? In Texas, no person can open a door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic. Unless it is safe to do so. This is to prevent bicyclist and pedestrians from crashing into a car door. You cannot leave a vehicle door open for longer than it takes to load or unload passengers around moving traffic either. According to bicyclesafe.com, bicyclist running into vehicle doors is one of the most common types of bicycle accidents.
Jeff is Here 4 You
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident Jeff is here for you! Davis Law Firm is here 24/7, through the holidays, to listen to your case. Our team of legal representatives offer free consultations at no risk to you. Don’t let the carelessness of others spoil your holiday season, contact us today!