Lady strapping her helmet onto her head before riding her bicycle.

Bicycle Safety: Tips to Prevent Accidents and Injuries

Bicycling is a health-conscious (and eco-conscious) means of navigating your Texas community. But before you hit the road, it’s essential to remember that a bicycle doesn’t offer the same degree of protection as an enclosed vehicle. A crash while you’re on a bicycle can leave you with serious injuries.

Guard against this by emphasizing safety while riding. The following tips will help.

Obey Texas Bicycle Safety Laws

Bicycle safety laws in Texas can vary from municipality to municipality, so be sure to research the laws in your area to ensure full compliance.

That said, certain general Texas bicycle safety laws and requirements to be aware of include:

  • Bicyclists should use bike lanes when available, and otherwise should strive to ride as close to the right side of the road as is safe and practical.
  • A bicyclist may use the travel lane to avoid a hazard, when someone else is approaching them, or in other situations when using the normal travel lane may be necessary.
  • Bicyclists may ride up to two abreast if they can do so without impeding the flow of traffic. Generally, though, bicyclists should ride single-file.
  • A bicyclist should indicate turns with common hand signals. They should make the signal continuously for a minimum of 100 feet before they make the turn.

The overall rules of the road that apply to motorists also apply to bicyclists. Texas bicyclists should obey the same laws they would obey if they were driving, particularly when making turns, navigating roundabouts, and making decisions based on who has the right of way.

Wear a Helmet

Currently, there is no statewide law requiring bicycle riders of any age to wear a helmet. Individual municipalities may have their own helmet laws. For example, in Dallas, a bicycle rider must wear a helmet if they are under 18 years of age.

That said, wearing a helmet and other safety gear (like protective goggles or glasses) is critical regardless of the law. Ensure your helmet fits you well and has a label indicating it is U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission-certified.

Be Aware of Hazards

Paying attention to your surroundings is vital when bicycling. However, there are some hazards bicyclists might easily overlook if they’re not vigilant. Examples include:

  • Sewer grates
  • Loose gravel or other less-than-ideal surface conditions
  •  Railroad tracks

In addition, a bicyclist should try to maintain a space of at least a car door’s width between themselves and any parked vehicles they pass. If someone in a parked vehicle opens a door without looking, they might create a hazard a bicyclist has little time to avoid.

Know Your Limits

Biking can be a strenuous activity. If you push yourself beyond your limits, you might find yourself struggling to operate your bike safely. For example, physical strain and stress might slow your response time, which could, in turn, prevent you from avoiding a hazard.

Getting in a workout is a great reason to cycle. Just remember that pushing yourself too hard can be dangerous. Even if you avoid a wreck, pushing yourself may result in heat stroke, a cardiac event, or other health issues.

Stay On Top of Maintenance

Keeping your bicycle in good working order is key to staying safe and optimizing its lifespan. Regularly confirm your bicycle’s tire pressure is sufficient and its head and tail lamps have functioning batteries. Ensure the chain drive is clean and the brakes and gears work properly before taking your bicycle out if you haven’t in some time. Many shops offer routine maintenance plans, which can be a convenient and easy way to stay on top of issues before they arise.

Contact a Texas Bicycle Accident Lawyer

Taking these steps may limit your chances of getting hurt in a wreck. But unfortunately, you can’t control the decisions others make. If you’ve been hurt in a bicycle accident someone else caused, Rochelle McCullough, LLP, wants to help you pursue fair compensation for what you’ve suffered. Our Texas bicycle accident lawyers can pursue the money you need for your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses, including pain and suffering. Learn more about what we can do by contacting us online for a free case review today.