Security and Safety

Bicycle Safety Essentials for Texas Roads

By Patrick Reardon 11.4.19

Bicycling is perhaps one of the most popular forms of outdoor exercise in the nation, and it’s not difficult to see why. Nothing beats riding the great Texas trails. But while we may never forget how to ride a bike, it’s definitely possible to forget simple bicycle safety rules.

Oftentimes it’s easy to forget that bicycling comes with hazards as well as benefits. Nationwide, bicycle-related deaths have increased 10% in the last year, and two of the most dangerous cities for cyclists in 2017 were Houston and Austin.

While you can’t control vehicles around you, there are several precautions you can take to ensure your safety when cycling Texas roads. To promote the safety of Texas cyclists, here are some of the top bicycle safety essentials to consider.

Use Your Head

Every year in the U.S., more than 50% of cyclist fatalities involve a cyclist who is not wearing a helmet. Although Texas law does not actually require cyclists to wear helmets, some cities and counties may. The use of helmets has been shown to prevent 70% of serious head injuries during bicycle accidents. The numbers speak for themselves.

Don’t Be Left in the Dark

Biking early in the morning or later in the evenings is often the best way to beat Texas’ grueling heat. Keep in mind, however — especially as dark begins falling earlier — that the darker the conditions, the harder it is for drivers to spot you. The Texas Department of Transportation requires cyclists to clip a white headlamp on the front of their bicycle and red reflectors on the rear while riding at night. Reflective clothing can also help alert drivers of your presence on the road.

Share the Road

While many roads and trails in Texas have a designated lane for cyclists to keep them separated and protected, many roads don’t. Bicycles are entitled to the same rights on the road as motor vehicles, but Texas law dictates that when there is no bike lane on a road, cyclists should ride in the right lane as close to the curb as is practical.

Know Your Place

Bicycles are vehicles, not toys; the same traffic laws and regulations apply to cyclists as motorists. This means braking for red lights, stop signs, and pedestrians, and riding in the same direction as traffic. Biking against traffic or darting across lanes is as dangerous (and illegal) as it would be in a car.

Buckle your helmet and stay safe out there! Find more ways to explore Texas here.

© 2019 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance