Bicyclists are considered motorists with the same legal rights and obligations
to be safe when traveling as drivers of automobiles. Unfortunately, they
are also the most vulnerable motorists on the roadways, can be easily
overseen by inattentive motorists, and often suffer
catastrophic or even fatal injuries when they are involved in
collisions with motor vehicles.
According to a recent report from the League of American Bicyclists, Texas
ranks 22nd in the nation when it comes to being a bicycle-friendly state.
Although this is not the worst, it is certainly not the greatest reassurance
to Texans who choose to ride bikes as a form of commuting, exercise, or
The safety report noted the following about Texas and bicycling safety:
- Texas received the lowest score possible in two areas of the report –
funding and infrastructure, and evaluation and planning.
- The state does not spend an adequate amount of funding it receives from
the federal government on bicyclist and pedestrian safety.
- One of the best ways to improve bicycle safety in the state would be to
pass a statewide safe passing law. Currently, only certain communities
in the state, such as Austin, have this rule. In 2010, Governor Perry
vetoed a proposed bill that would have mandated a 3-foot passing law when
motorists pass cyclists. More than 20 states across the country have such a law.
Additional improvements could also come in the form of vulnerable road
user laws and a statewide
distracted driving ban against cell phone use and texting while driving. Currently under
Texas law, using cell phones or texting behind the wheel is prohibited
only for certain drivers (bus drivers or novice drivers) or in certain
areas (school zones).
Even without laws and better roadways that more favorably accommodate bicyclists,
everyone can do their part to share the road and reduce the risks of preventable
bicycle accidents. Here are a few ways you can stay safe as a driver or
- Always wear a helmet
- Wear bright or reflective clothing
- Equip your bike with reflectors and lights for increased visibility
- Obey all rules of the road and traffic laws
- Exercise extra vigilance when approaching intersections or making turns
- Always drive defensively and anticipate what others might do on the road
- Never drive distracted or under the influence
- Yield to bicyclists just as you would a motor vehicle
- Always use mirrors and check surroundings before backing up, making turns,
or entering intersections
- Give bicyclists a safe distance when passing or move into another lane
Tom Rhodes Law Firm, P.C., our San Antonio
injury lawyers know that negligence and moments of inattention can have disastrous consequences
on the lives of victims and their loved ones. Do your part to keep yourself
safe whenever you ride a bike or get behind the wheel. It could save a life.
Injured in a bicycle wreck?
Contact our team to discuss your rights during a free consultation.