The City of San Antonio is full of bicycle enthusiasts who use these vehicles for work, recreation and a regular means of transportation. Unfortunately, San Antonio is not the safest city for bicyclists, due largely to distracted drivers and confusion regarding bicycle traffic laws.
In 2019, the Texas Department of Transportation reported 68 pedalcyclist fatalities throughout the state. You may be able to stay safe as a bicyclist and avoid accidents by knowing and obeying San Antonio’s related laws.
Are Bicycles Vehicles in Texas?
Yes, bicycles are classified as vehicles under Texas State law. This means bicyclists have all of the same rights, responsibilities and duties that apply to motor vehicle operators. As a bicyclist, you must obey all traffic laws, regulations, signs and signals. Failing to do so could lead to a ticket or fine for a traffic violation.
Do You Have to Obey Traffic Laws on a Bicycle in San Antonio?
Yes, you must obey all traffic laws and roadway rules while riding a bicycle in San Antonio, unless a law does not apply to a bicycle due to its nature. This includes following traffic control signals, obeying stop signs, yielding the right-of-way (when applicable), following speed limits and traveling in the same direction as the rest of traffic.
There is also a Safe Passing Ordinance in San Antonio that requires motor vehicle operators to stay at least three feet and commercial truck drivers to stay at least six feet away from bicyclists while following or passing. Breaking basic roadway rules is a common mistake that can lead to preventable collisions.
Where Can You Ride a Bicycle in San Antonio?
You should ride your bicycle on the road or a bicycle lane in San Antonio, not a sidewalk. You have as much right to the road as motor vehicle operators in Texas. If you are moving slower than the traffic around you, you must ride as near as you can to the right-hand side of the road unless you are passing another vehicle, turning left or a road hazard makes it unsafe to do so. If a bicycle lane is available, you must use the bicycle lane rather than riding in the road.
While riding your bike, you may ride two abreast with another bicyclist. You cannot carry a passenger on your bicycle unless you have a bike that is designed for more than one person. You also cannot carry an object that prevents you from keeping at least one hand on the handlebars of the bicycle. It is against the law to attach a skateboard, roller skates or another such object to the bicyclist or bicycle.
Do You Have to Wear a Helmet While Riding a Bicycle in San Antonio?
No law in San Antonio or Texas requires you to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle. Texas does not have a universal helmet law for bicyclists, but certain municipalities require them. These include Fort Worth, Houston, Dallas and Austin. Although you legally do not have to use a helmet, it is strongly encouraged. Studies show that wearing a helmet can reduce your risk of a head injury by 85 percent.
What Is the Required Bicycle Equipment in Texas?
According to Texas Transportation Code Section 551.104, all bikes in the state must be equipped with adequate brakes, as well as a front headlight and rear reflector if the bicyclist plans on riding at nighttime. In addition, San Antonio’s Bike Light Ordinance requires a front white light and a rear red reflector or light, both visible from at least 500 feet. Breaking this municipal law is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable with up to a $200 fine.
Can You Get a DUI While Riding a Bike in San Antonio?
No, you cannot get a driving under the influence (DUI) charge for operating a bicycle while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs. However, you could receive charges for public intoxication. If you cause or contribute to an accident while driving under the influence, you could also face civil liability for the collision – meaning you will be financially responsible for injuries or property damage.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident in San Antonio, contact a bicycle accident attorney for help as soon as possible.