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Sharing Spaces: Cyclist's rules on the Texas road

Bicycles Sharing Roadway
Posted at 8:50 PM, May 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-02 16:39:00-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — It is important for both drivers and cyclists to be aware, especially when bike lanes end or when it's time to make a turn. Team Life Cyclers' shared how to stay safe and share space.

Accidents happen when cycling, but some close-call situations can be avoided. Even Corpus Christi City Manager Peter Zanoni has seen the lack of sharing spaces first-hand when his group was nearly hit by a Jeep.

"For cycling you've got to obey the traffic just like everyone else does," Gerardo Gomez, President and Co-Founder of Team Life Cycle, said. "You see a stop sign, stop. You see a red light, stop."

In Texas, cyclists must ride as close to the curb as possible, generally 3-feet of cushion, and in the same direction as traffic.

"We use stopping, slow down, turning," Lee Pradia, Member of Team Life Cycle, said. "We use the right hand to say we are turning right because a lot of times we do this people think we are waving at them."

When a bike lane ends, sometimes you'll see a sign that reads 'yield to bikes'. This is just one example of awareness.

"I'd like for the cars to know that yield to us at the intersection," Pradia said. "It's okay for us to take the lane."

Cyclists are also allowed to take the lane for safety reasons and when riding side-by-side as long as the pair is not delaying traffic.

"At least four and above, now you're considered a peloton. You're in a group, especially with six. It's usually three and three if you're riding shoulder to shoulder," Gomez said. "We've got to give the car that ability to also be able to pass, and for us to coexist and continue on our ride."

For a closer look at the issue and regional response click here. To hear from one local rider who battled back from a life-changing crash and was able to compete again against the best in the nation click here.

Texas Bicycle Laws

  1. Bicyclists have the rights and duties of other vehicle operators: (551.101). Yes, this means you have to stop at stop signs and red lights, but cars are required to yield right-of-way to a bicycle when appropriate, just as to any other vehicle.
  2. Ride near the curb and go in the same direction as other traffic: (551.103). Near the curb is subjective (we recommend leaving a cushion of about three feet) but the law gives a cyclist the right to take the lane when necessary for safety.
  3. At least one hand on the handlebars (two are safer): (551.102c). One when signaling but two when turning works well.
  4. Use hand and arm signals: (545.107). Point the way you are going, let the other operators know what you want to do.
  5. One rider per saddle: (551.102a). Don’t let your friends share your bike while riding unless you’re both on a tandem.
  6. You may ride two abreast as long as you don’t impede traffic: (551.103c). Racing and taking the lane are special cases.
  7. Must have a white light on the front and a red reflector or red light on the rear (for riding at night): (551.104b). The light is primarily so people can see you coming from the side, where their headlights do not shine on your reflectors. The law, effective as of Sept. 2001, states that a red light can replace a red reflector. []
  8. Brakes capable of making the braked wheel skid: (551.104a). Don’t test that front brake to see if the wheel will skid while riding, especially down hill.