If you are one of the thousands of people who prefer to explore and enjoy San Antonio on a bicycle, it is important to have at least a basic understanding of bicycle safety. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 68 bicyclists lost their lives in Texas in 2019. You can decrease your risk of getting into a serious bicycle accident with a few simple safety tips.
How to Prevent an Accident
You may have the power to prevent a bicycle accident in San Antonio. Adhering to three basic safety rules can help keep you out of harm’s way when sharing the road with motorists:
- Be visible. Lack of visibility is a common cause of bicycle accidents in Texas. It is easy for drivers to overlook bicyclists, especially at night. Increase your visibility by wearing brightly colored clothes or a reflective vest.
- Be vigilant. Always pay attention to your surroundings, especially in a busy city. Be aware of the flow of traffic and the vehicles around you. Bike defensively, meaning always expect the unexpected and be prepared to stop at a moment’s notice.
- Be responsible. You have the same responsibilities as other motorists. Bicycling responsibly can improve your safety. Always obey Texas’ bicycle laws, including traffic control signals and rights-of-way. Do not engage in dangerous or reckless bicycling practices, such as drinking and riding.
Even the most diligent bicyclist cannot always avoid an accident. Dangerous and reckless drivers put your safety at risk every time you bike. Doing your part to bike safely, however, can reduce your risk of a crash. If you are unfortunately involved in an accident, speaking with a San Antonio car accident attorney can help you understand your rights to compensation as an injured bicyclist.
Bicycle Laws in Texas and San Antonio
In general, bicyclists in Texas have all of the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers. They have a right to bike in the roadway and must yield the right-of-way to motorists and pedestrians, when applicable. Bikers should use bike lanes where they are available. San Antonio, like most cities, has a law prohibiting bicyclists to ride on sidewalks in business districts. Bicyclists must obey all traffic signs and control signals, like other drivers.
Obeying the state and city bicycle laws that apply to you is an effective way to improve your safety. The drivers around you will expect you to adhere to traffic laws, such as coming to a complete stop at stop signs and red lights. Violating traffic laws can make your actions less predictable to drivers, increasing your risk of a collision. Breaking a bicycle law can also place liability for an accident with you.
Equipment Required By Law
Another way to improve your safety is to make sure your bicycle has all of the equipment that is required by law. The right bike equipment can improve your visibility and allow you to properly brake and steer. The bicycle equipment that is required in Texas is:
- A brake that is capable of bringing the bicycle to a stop by making the wheel with the brake skid on dry, level and clean pavement.
- If biking at night, a headlamp that is attached to the front of the bicycle. The headlamp must emit a white light that is visible from at least 500 feet in front of the bike.
- If biking at night, a cyclist also must have a rear red reflector that is visible from at least 300 feet or a red lamp that is visible from 500 feet from the rear.
In San Antonio, as in most cities in Texas, wearing a bicycle helmet is optional. Texas does not have a universal helmet law. However, wearing a helmet is always strongly encouraged, as it could save you from a serious or fatal brain injury in a crash. If you get injured in a bicycle accident, consult with a San Antonio bicycle accident lawyer right away for assistance.