Monday, September 7, 2009

Texas Bicycle Laws

So in my 5 years as a road biker I have heard many interpretations of bike laws. I had one car ask me at a red light if it was legal for me to be in the road. I have had quite a few drivers yell at me to ride on the sidewalk. Yesterday a lady on a bike yelled at me for not having a bell on my bike, granted she was not wearing a helmet and was weaving like a loony on the trail. So here is a consolidated list of current Texas bike laws pertaining to all things including bells and helmets.

First for the helmet situation:
According to the Helmet Safety institute: in Coppell and Southlake kids under 15 need to wear one, Bedford is under 16, Benbrook under 17. Children under 18 have to have a helmet on in Houston, Ft Worth, Austin and Arlington. Dallas is apparently the only city in Texas that requires all ages to wear a helmet.

Registration
Houston requires bikes to be registered for $1.00 or risk being fined $5.00. This can be done at a fire station. I think I will take my chances with the fine. I wonder how many people have shown up to a fire station looking to register their bike.
**Update: I don't really fact check my stuff. Someone left me a comment saying that bikes are not required to register anymore. I'm leaving the section up with a side note because I think it's funny you used to have to.**

Sidewalk vs Road
In Houston you can not ride a bike on the sidewalk in a business district. A business district is defined as an area where within 600ft of the road and occupying a 300ft stretch on either side of the road are buildings used as businesses. If you do ride on the sidewalk, pedestrians have the right of way. Lets face it, its easier to ride on the street and operate the bike like a car.

Safety Equipment
Working breaks, a light on the front of the bike that emits a white light at least 500ft, a red light/reflector on the back visible from 500ft.
Sorry lady, bell not required.

ID Requirements
You are not required to carry ID when operating a bike. If you are stopped by the police you are required to give your name, address and DOB. You will not be charged with failure to carry an ID. Don't give false info because that is illegal.

Drunk While Riding
I'm still looking for written evidence, but bloggers indicate it is possible in Texas to be charged with a DUI while on a bike. Open container laws apparently also apply. I'm of the opinion you would have to wreck into a Police Cruiser completely wasted with a beer cap on to face charges. Then your lawyer would really have to suck to be convicted. Not that I have faced that scenario.

Hand Signals
Have to use the hand signals we learned in drivers ed.

Operation on the Road
Ride the bike in the far lane as close to the curb as you feel safe. You can ride two abreast in a single lane, but no more than 2. Bikes can pass a car in another lane, bikes can move into another lane to get around a hazard or parked car. Bikes can cross lanes to make a left-hand turn.

Basically bikes are considered motorized vehicles and have to follow all the rules that cars do, including: not speeding, stopping at red light, stopping at stop signs, etc.

Interesting facts:
In Idaho cyclists can run stop signs if they slow down first to check traffic.
In Colorado it is now illegal to throw things at cyclists, before they would actually have to hit the biker for it to be a punishable offense.
Another CO law stipulates that cars must give bikers a 3ft cushion when passing.
A similar law was recently vetoed by Gov Rick Perry of TX, he stated it was already illegal to drive recklessly.
My opinion is that people don't necessarily drive recklessly, they just don't pay attention to what they are doing.

24 comments:

  1. I called the city - Mayor's Citizen Assistance Office - and was put on hold while they checked: No bike registration required in Houston any longer.

    ReplyDelete
  2. sweet thanks. i was kind of worried about that $5 fine

    ReplyDelete
  3. 1) There's no state helmet law for cyclists. 2) TX Penal Code Sec. 49.04 "Driving While Intoxicated" is worded for *motor* vehicles only, but Sec. 49.02 "Public Intoxication" would probably apply to cyclists. 3) Right-arm-extended hand signal also allowed for cyclist. 4) Bikes can also ride on the left side of the roadway on a one-way road. 5) Unlike cars, bikes can also travel on the right shoulder or, for a one-way multi-lane road (e.g. divided highway), on the left shoulder.

    ReplyDelete
  4. TTC 551.003 allows riders to occupy a whole lane if it's under 14 feet wide without an adjacent bike lane or if the rider deems it too narrow for a bike and a car to operate side-by-side

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello, i am glad to read the whole content of this blog and am very excited and happy to say that the webmaster has done a very good job here to put all the information content and information at one place. Personal Injury Attorney Houston

    ReplyDelete
  6. Nice post. I have been searching for articles about valves and actuators and your post really helps. Thanks a lot for posting this.
    call center outsourcing

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great and fantastic blog. I am interested very much in the subject matter of your blog, it’s my first visit. I like very much your way of presentation. I am so much interested to join your network. Thanks for sharing this post. Keep blogging.
    canada pharmacy

    ReplyDelete
  8. Now a days most of the people are crazy about having bikes. There are separate rules and laws for the bikers. The Florida driving school offers various driving courses to get rid of your traffic tickets.

    ReplyDelete
  9. There are increased number of accidents with the bikes when we look at the statistics. This is because of the increased no of bikes and lack of awareness among the people.
    Florida approved traffic school

    ReplyDelete
  10. Even the older people are getting crazy about bikes. Mostly the people who live in bay areas prefer to have bikes to ahve a ride in the evenings.
    Florida Traffic School Online

    ReplyDelete
  11. You have provided ample information here on your post that can easily be understand by your readers. I am admiring you for that. Thanks for this insightful post and I am hoping more to come.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This blog is providing beautiful news about the Liberian Educational Sector. It is nice to know about it this is useful information. And such blogs makes us familiar with the whole world.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Is it legal to ride a bicycle on the side walk in Arlington,Texas?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks buddy! I just moved to Houston and I'm about to go bike George Bush Park for the first time. I don't own a helmet and I didn't want to get in trouble for not having one on! Though... if I decide to start biking in the streets, I'll get one for that.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm a cycling newby. This blows and the post following have been incredibly informative. Thanks so much man

    ReplyDelete
  16. hey that's actually a large Information and i like this and thanks for distributing it with us!I have read a couple of of the articles on your website now because I was looking for data about this topic. and I am really impressed with your way of writing

    ReplyDelete
  17. a good reason to register your bike is, if it is stolen pawn shops can check to see who the owner is. if recovered you will be able to get your bike back from the police impound.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thank you for the summary!

    ReplyDelete
  19. This is really great and informative post .I really enjoyed this post so much .
    affordable used cars in Houston

    ReplyDelete
  20. I have recently acquired a bike. I'm still pretty timid when it comes to riding it though. So I'm not confident enough to ride it on the road yet. I live near the med center, and I see people riding their bikes on the sidewalks in that area.
    Is it wrong to do so as well?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I commute to MH TMC from river oaks and have found the commute to be bicycle friendly, and drivers to respect my space even though I might be holding them up.

      Delete
  21. Great information. Thanks for sharing. If
    Affordable used cars in houston are available then why bicycle?

    ReplyDelete