Shefman Law – Austin Personal Injury, Bicycling and Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Tag Archive: Vulnerable Road User

  1. Austin’s Vulnerable Road User Law and How It Protects Motorcyclists, Bicyclists, Pedestrians, Scooters and Horseback Riders

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    Austin has adopted the three foot passing rule as between autos and bikes and a six foot passing rule as between trucks and bikes. The Austin law defines those protected as “vulnerable road users” as follows:

    “(1) a pedestrian, including a runner, physically disabled person, child, skater,
    highway construction and maintenance worker, tow truck operator, utility worker, other
    worker with legitimate business in or near the road or right-of-way, or stranded motorist
    or passenger;
    (2) a person on horseback;
    (3) a person operating equipment other than a motor vehicle, including, but
    not limited to, a bicycle, hand cycle, horse-driven conveyance, or unprotected farm
    equipment; or
    (4) a person operating a motorcycle, moped, motor-driven cycle, or motor assisted scooter.”

    The law also states as follows:

    “(b) An operator of a motor vehicle passing a vulnerable road user operating on a
    highway or street shall:
    (1) vacate the lane in which the vulnerable road user is located if the highway
    has two or more marked lanes running in the same direction; or
    (2) pass the vulnerable road user at a safe distance.”

    The law then defines safe distance as:

    “(c) For the purpose of Subsection (b)(2), when road conditions allow, safe distance
    is at least:
    (1) three feet if the operator’s vehicle is a passenger car or light truck; or
    (2) six feet if the operator’s vehicle is a truck, other than a light truck, or a
    commercial motor vehicle as defined by Texas Transportation Code Section 522.003.”

    The law makes provisions for vulnerable road user right-of-ways where oncoming traffic is making left hand turns:

    “(d) An operator of a motor vehicle that is making a left turn at an intersection,
    including an intersection with an alley or private road or driveway, shall yield the right-of-way to a vulnerable road user who is approaching from the opposite direction and is in
    the intersection, or is in such proximity to the intersection as to be an immediate hazard.”

    The autos and trucks that speed up to pass you, they are breaking the law. This is what the law says about this manuever:

    “(e) An operator of a motor vehicle may not overtake a vulnerable road user
    traveling in the same direction and subsequently make a right-hand turn in front of the
    vulnerable road user unless the operator is safely clear of the vulnerable road user, taking
    into account the speed at which the vulnerable road user is traveling and the braking
    requirements of the motor vehicle making the right-hand turn.”

    There is even an anti-harassment provision written into the law:

    “(f) An operator of a motor vehicle may not maneuver the vehicle in a manner that:
    (1) is intended to cause intimidation or harassment to a vulnerable road user; or
    (2) threatens a vulnerable road user.”

    The law places the due care responsibility on the auto or truck UNLESS the vulnerable road user is in violation of the law:

    “(g) An operator of a motor vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with

    anyvulnerable road user on a roadway or inan intersection of roadways.
    (h) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that at the time of
    the offense the vulnerable road user was acting in violation of the law.”

    This information is directly quoted from § 12-1-35 VULNERABLE ROAD USERS Austin Ordinance.