Traffic Violations and Bicyclists

November 7th, 2018 by Tad Nelson in Traffic Offenses

Not all traffic violations involve cars or trucks. You can also be cited by Houston police for traffic infractions committed while riding a non-motorized vehicle like a bicycle. In fact, under Texas law a bicycle is considered a “vehicle” subject to the same rules of the road as cars. So if you are stopped and ticketed for a traffic violation, you face the same fines, driver’s license points, and other penalties that you would for committing the same infraction while driving your car.

What All Bicyclists Need to Know About Texas Traffic Laws

With that in mind, here is a brief overview of the basic traffic laws you need to be aware of while riding your bicycle in-and-around the Houston area:

  • As a bicyclist, you must obey all traffic signs and signals. This means you must stop at stop signs and red lights.
  • When stopping or preparing to turn, a bicyclist should use the appropriate hand signals, e.g. a left arm pointed horizontally to signal a left turn.
  • A bicyclist must always ride with the flow of vehicular traffic, i.e. on the right side of the road. When driving on a multi-lane, one-way road, the bicyclist should ride as close as possible to the left curb or shoulder.
  • If two bicyclists are riding side-by-side (i.e., two abreast), they must only occupy a single lane and not impede the normal flow of traffic. A single bicycle should also never carry more than one passenger unless it is designed for such use.

In addition to these rules of the road, bicyclists must also understand and adhere to the following equipment regulations:

  • Texas has no statewide law regarding the mandatory use of bicycle helmets. Several municipalities have local ordinances, however. For example, here in Houston bicyclists under the age of 18 must wear a helmet when operating on public roadways.
  • All bicycles must be equipped with functioning brakes.
  • If a bicycle is used at night, it must be equipped with both a front headlamp that emits a white light visible for at least 500 feet, and a red reflector on the back of the bike that is visible from distances of 50-300 feet. A bicycle may also use a rear tail-lamp that emits a red light visible for at least 500 feet.
  • If a bicyclist is hearing impaired, he or she may display a safety flag.

Stay Safe While Bicycling in Houston, Galveston, or League City

Beyond what the law requires, here are some additional general tips for remaining safe while bicycling:

  • Always wear light-colored or reflective clothing, as that makes it easier for motorists to see you, especially during nighttime or early-morning hours.
  • Never ride your bicycle on a sidewalk unless it is permitted by local law.
  • If you need to deal with a flat tire or make other repairs to your bicycle, move off the street first.
  • Exercise special caution when riding in rain or wet weather, as it reduces your visibility and can lead you to miss certain road hazards.

And if you are ticketed for a traffic violation arising from the use of your bicycle–or any other vehicle–contact the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates for legal advice on what steps to take next. Call (281) 280-0100.


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