I feel sorry for those poor bicyclists that are just trying to get a little cardio workout so they can possibly live longer. When, in reality, just riding a bike on the street could lead to their demise. I hear people complain “Why don’t they ride on the sidewalk?” I live in Dallas, and what these complainers don’t understand is, according to Texas Motor Vehicle Laws, bicyclists using Dallas’ streets during a ride must follow all traffic rules just like a motor vehicle. This includes stopping and yielding at signs, yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks, displaying proper illumination (front & back of bike), riding with the traffic flow on designated “one way” streets in designated bicycle lanes and using turn signals (hand signals…and, no, not the finger). Bicyclists must use hand signals to signal their intent to stop, turn left, or turn right. The bicyclist must use the following signals.
- Stop – Extend the left hand and arm downward
- Left Turn – Extend the left hand and arm horizontally
- Right Turn – Extend the left hand and arm upward, or extend the right hand and arm horizontally.
A bicycle is a vehicle and a person operating a bicycle has the rights and duties applicable to a driver operating a vehicle. This, according to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, gives good legal cause to sharing the road with bikes. Bicyclists that do not follow street signs and laws are subject to the same penalties as a motor vehicle driver. If you ride a bicycle, you should check your own city’s bicycle laws as well as city ordinances on wearing a helmet.
Here’s some additional information which is not only good for the bicyclist to know, but those driving around bicyclists as well. If a person operating a bicycle on a roadway is moving slower than the flow of traffic, they need to ride as near as possible to the right curb or edge of the roadway. However, there are exceptions to this law. Under the following conditions the law allows bicyclists to take the full lane of travel when:
- The person is passing another vehicle moving in the same direction.
- The person is preparing to turn left at an intersection or onto a private road or driveway.
- When there are unsafe conditions on the roadway, including fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, pedestrians, animals, or surface hazards that prevents the person from safely riding next to the curb or edge of the roadway.
- The lane is of substandard width (less than 14 feet in width and not having a designated bicycle lane adjacent to that lane) making it unsafe for a bicycle and a motor vehicle to safely travel side by side.
And persons operating bicycles on a roadway may ride two abreast, but they must share a single lane. They may not impede the normal flow of traffic and they may not ride more than two abreast unless they are riding on a part of a roadway set aside for the exclusive operation of bicycles. I’ve been stuck behind a row of those guys at the lake. Although, the view wasn’t so bad, I still want those hours of my life back.
If you are a bike enthusiast or just a weekend warrior, you may be interested to know that now, in Texas, you may purchase specialty license plates from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles that will hopefully remind people about sharing the road with bikes. And, a portion of the fee funds a variety of Bike Texas programs such as the Safe Routes to School program, the Community Trails Program as well as the Share the Road program for bicyclist and motor safety education.
Until next week…bicyclists are people too (just goofier looking). Look out for them.
Writer/ Comedienne/ Artist
Sharing the Road With Bikes – Comedy Defensive Driving