Cyclists’ Laws


The other day, my poor little roomie came home complaining that she’d been hit.

Not by a bully, and not by a car – by a stinkin’ cyclist. Now, I’ve heard a joke a somewhere about how drivers hate pedestrians and pedestrians hate cars, but EVERYONE hates cyclists. And sad to say, it’s kind of true. Although, I offer up a lot of kudos to you out there who do cycle to class and to work. You’re saving the environment, saving yourself money, and getting a good workout. It can just be a pain in the ass when you get in rest of our ways – and go around hitting people, obviously.

So, my roomie told me that she had been at a crosswalk and was crossing, chit-chatting and minding her own business when WHAM – she was hit. The cyclist had come from behind her and was trying to go around her, I guess, but obviously didn’t do such a great job. Consequently, she catapulted into her and caused a big bruise and obviously some pain. In retrospect, the story is pretty funny, but of course, I feel for her.

It got me thinking though – it’s funny how so many (not all) cyclists try to play both the ‘Motorist’ and ‘Pedestrian’ card when they’re out and about. So, when it’s convenient, they’re a motorist on the regular road. And when it’s convenient again, they’re pedestrians on the sidewalks and crosswalks. Well, you can’t have it both ways!!

According to Texas law, cyclists are NOT allowed to ride on the sidewalks. They “generally have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. That means you have the right to ride on any roadway (unless prohibited by a specific local ordinance), and you have to follow all the same traffic laws as motorists.”

So technically, this also means that cyclists aren’t supposed to be using crosswalks. They should wait for the green light and go with the cars because technically they’re ‘motorists’ and crosswalks are for pedestrians.

Also, cyclists are supposed to ride as practically possible to the right of a car in the same lane – not directly in front and not directly behind. There are some exceptions to this too:

  • when the outside lane is too small to fit a car and bike side by side, or is less than 14 feet wide
  • when there are hazards in your way (dead animals, potholes, etc.)
  • when you’re passing a slower-moving vehicle
  • when you’re going at least as fast as surrounding traffic
  • when you’re preparing to make a left-hand turn
  • when you’re on a one-way street (in that case, you can ride to the far left instead of the far right)

And check this out – ‘bike surfing’ is illegal. (You can’t stand up or lean too far forward.) Although that seems to be incredibly common, it’s convenient and easy to do when leisurely riding along. But don’t let an irritable cop looking to ticket someone catch you doing that!

So, if you’re a cyclist – observe the rules and stop annoying everyone with your recklessness! And if you’re a pedestrian or driver, know the laws for cyclists, so you know when they’re actually breaking laws and not just annoying you.

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