Whether you need help with Houston bike accident law, or you are simply seeking to get a better understanding of the regulations and laws that protect bicyclists in Houston and Texas, you’re in the right place.
Many cyclists do not understand their rights, or the laws related to bicycling in Houston, which can lead to many dangerous situations. In this article, we’ll discuss just a few of the laws you need to know about in Houston, to help you stay safe while sharing the road with motorists.
- You Are Protected By The Same Laws As Any Motorist Or Motorcyclist
First things first – a Houston bike accident attorney will tell you the same thing when it comes to your basic rights. You are protected just like a motorist or a motorcyclist would be. You have the right to use an entire lane, and to ride in the street without being harassed, or subjected to dangerous behaviour from other drivers.
This is what many people in less bike-friendly cities do not understand. All bicyclists have an equal right to the road, despite being slower and more vulnerable than car operators and motorcyclists.
- You Have The Right To A Whole Lane – But Are Expected To Stay To The Right When Possible
While you do have the right to an entire lane, there is a catch – if you are moving slower than other traffic, you are expected to stay “as far to the right as possible”, except during maneuvers like turns, lane switches, extremely narrow streets, and other such common-sense scenarios.
In practice, this is a good idea. Staying to the right when possible will allow for safer overtaking, and prevent you from becoming the victim of road rage if a motorist thinks you are going to slowly, and using up the entire lane.
- There Is No Law Regarding Safe Overtaking Of Bicyclists In Texas
Though some cities like San Antonio and Austin have passed safe overtaking laws, Texas as a state makes no provisions for these laws. There is no “safe distance” motorists must abide by when passing you, such as the “3-foot” law that is common in other cities.
This means that you must be alert when biking in Houston. While it would be great if all motorists passed you safely, this is often not the case. You must always be ready to take emergency action and be aware of your surroundings to avoid injury when a car overtakes you, and is too close to you.
- Helmets Are Required – If You’re Under 18
If you’re under 18 years old, helmets are required by law in Houston. This is not true in all of Texas, so it’s a city-specific regulation. If you are under the age of 18, you can be cited for wearing a helmet while operating a bicycle of any kind.
No matter how old you are, though, we do recommend wearing a helmet, particularly if you are riding outside of bike trails and in the city. It is the first line of defense that can protect you in case of an accident.
- Riding On The Sidewalk Is Illegal In “Business Districts”
Houston has made it illegal to ride your bicycle on the sidewalk in “business districts” and other such crowded areas of the city. This is because bicyclists can pose a threat to heavy pedestrian areas and other traffic-dense places in the city.
As a rule, it’s best to avoid riding your bicycle on the sidewalk everywhere in the city, when possible. You have the right to the road – use it!
Understand Houston Bike Accident Law – And Your Rights!
When it comes to accidents, it’s important to know your rights – such as your right to an entire lane of the road – as this can help you pursue a case if an individual was negligent or purposefully put your life in danger during an accident. So know your rights – and when to seek justice by using Houston bike accident law!