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Austin Bicycle Law

Austin City Ordinance: Bicycle Traffic Regulations (Please check Austin Ordinance website for updates)

VEHICLE TRAFFIC RULES

A bicyclist shall comply with the requirements of this title imposed on a driver of a vehicle, to the extent that the requirements may be applied to operation of a bicycle.

§ 12-2-12 OBEDIENCE TO TRAFFIC-CONTROL DEVICES.

A bicyclist shall obey the instruction of official traffic signals, signs, and other traffic-control devices applicable to vehicles, unless otherwise directed by a police officer.

(B) Unless a bike lane is specifically designated otherwise, a bicyclist riding in a bike lane may not travel in the opposite direction of adjacent motor vehicles in the roadway.

(C) A bicyclist shall obey traffic signs that prohibit a right, left, or “U” turn, except when the bicyclist dismounts from the bicycle to make the turn. A bicyclist who dismounts shall obey regulations applicable to § 12-2-13 USE OF SIDEWALKS RESTRICTED.

 

(A) Except as provided in Subsection (B), a person may ride a bicycle on a sidewalk.

 

(B) A person may not ride a bicycle on a sidewalk on the following streets:

 

(1) 100 to 1100 blocks of Congress Avenue;

 

(2) 1900 to 2500 blocks of Guadalupe Street;

 

(3) 100 to 1100 blocks of Brazos Street;

 

(4) 200 to 1100 blocks of Colorado Street;

 

(5) from the 200 block of Second Street (West) to the 300 block of Second Street (East);

 

(6) from the 900 block of Fifth Street (West) to the 800 block of Fifth Street (East);

 

(7) from the 700 block of Sixth Street (East) to the 1000 block of Sixth Street (West);

 

(8) from the 100 block of Eighth Street (West) to the 200 block of Eighth Street (East);

 

(9) from the 100 block of Ninth Street (West) to the 200 block of Ninth Street (East);

 

(10) from the 200 block of 11th Street (West) to the 200 block of 11th Street (East); and

 

(11) from the 200 block of 15th Street (West) to the 200 block of 15th Street (East).

 

§ 12-2-14 EXITING FROM ALLEY, DRIVEWAY, OR BUILDING.

 

A bicyclist exiting from an alley, driveway, or building shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian on a sidewalk or sidewalk area, or to a vehicle on a roadway.

 

§ 12-2-15 PARKING.

 

(A) A person may not park a bicycle:

 

(1) in a manner that obstructs pedestrian or vehicle traffic; or

 

(2) in a space designated as a vehicle parking place or between two designated vehicle parking places.

 

(B) A person may not attach or secure a bicycle to public or private property in a manner that may damage, impair, or render the property unusable.

 

(C) A person may park a bicycle:

 

(1) against a street curb;

 

(2) in a bicycle rack on a sidewalk; or

 

(3) against a building.

 

§ 12-2-16 RIDING RESTRICTIONS.

 

(A) Except as otherwise directed by a traffic-control device or a police officer, a bicyclist shall ride:

 

(1) in the right-most lane available to vehicle traffic where vehicles are prohibited from parking along the right curb;

 

(2) in the center of the lane where vehicles are permitted to park along the right curb; or

 

(3) in the right-hand portion of an unlaned street.

 

(B) A bicyclist may not ride a bicycle between vehicles traveling or standing in the same direction within marked lanes of a roadway.

 

§ 12-2-17 RIDING ON RESTRICTED OR PROHIBITED STREETS.

 

A bicyclist may not ride a bicycle on a street where bicycle riding is prohibited or on a street during the hours that bicycle riding is prohibited on the street.

 

ARTICLE 3. BICYCLE HELMETS.

 

§ 12-2-31 HELMET REQUIRED.

 

(A) Except as permitted by Section 12-2-33 (Health Condition Exemption) a child may not operate or ride on a bicycle, sidecar, trailer, child carrier, seat, or other device attached to a bicycle unless the child is wearing a helmet.

 

(B) Except as permitted by Section 12-2-33 (Health Condition Exemption) a parent may not permit a child to operate or ride on a bicycle, sidecar, trailer, child carrier seat, or other device attached to a bicycle unless the child is wearing a helmet.

 

(C) Under this section, a helmet must:

 

(1) be properly fitted and securely fastened to the child’s head with the straps securely tightened;

 

(2) not be structurally damaged; and

 

(3) conform to the standards of the American National Standards Institute, the American Society for testing and Materials, the Snell Memorial Foundation, or a federal agency with regulatory jurisdiction over bicycle helmets at the time of the manufacture of the helmet.

 

§ 12-2-32 APPROVAL OF STANDARDS.

 

(A) The city council approves the bicycle helmet standards promulgated by the American National Standards Institute, the American Society for Testing and Materials, and the Snell Memorial Foundation.

 

(B) The city clerk shall file a copy of the standards in effect on May 9, 1996 in the clerk’s office.

 

§ 12-2-33 HEALTH CONDITION EXEMPTION.

 

(A) A child is not required to wear a helmet if the child has in its immediate possession a health exemption identification prescribed by this section.

 

(B) The city manager shall provide a health exemption identification to a child with a written statement:

 

(1) from a licensed physician that states the child’s health condition and explains why the condition prevents the child from wearing a helmet; and

 

(2) that is approved by the Austin-Travis County Health and Human Services Department.

 

(C) The city manager shall establish procedures to implement this section.

 

§ 12-2-34 SALE OF A BICYCLE.

 

(A) A person may not sell a bicycle, bicycle sidecar, trailer, or child carrier commercially unless the person provides a written statement to the purchaser that describes the requirements of this article.

 

(B) The police chief shall prescribe the statement required under this section and shall provide a sample statement to a person on request.

 

(C) A person who sells bicycles and bicycle equipment shall print and distribute the statement to purchasers at the person’s own expense.

 

§ 12-2-35 LEASE OF A BICYCLE.

 

(A) A person may not lease a bicycle for use by a child unless the person:

 

(1) provides a helmet for each child who will operate or ride on the bicycle; or

 

(2) determines that each child who will operate or ride on the bicycle has a helmet available.

 

(B) A person who sells or leases a helmet for use under this section may charge for the helmet.

 

§ 12-2-36 PENALTY; ENFORCEMENT.

 

(A) A person commits an offense if the person performs an act prohibited by this article or fails to perform an act required by this article.

 

(B) An offense under this article is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed:

 

(1) $20 on a first conviction; and

 

(2) $40 on a subsequent conviction.

 

(C) The municipal court may dismiss a charge against a person for an offense under Section 12-2-31 (Helmet Required) on receiving proof that the defendant acquired a helmet for the child who was operating or riding a bicycle in violation of Section 12-2-31 (Helmet Required) on or before the 30th day after the citation was issued.

 

(D) To promote the use of helmets, the city council encourages the municipal court to consider deferred dispositions under Article 45.051 (Suspension of Sentence and Deferral of Final Disposition) of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure where appropriate.

 

§ 12-2-37 CIVIL ACTIONS.

 

(A) The city council adopts this article to encourage bicycle safety through the use of helmets and through the promotion of educational efforts.

 

(B) The city council does not intend this article to be used in a manner to prejudice a person, child, or parent in a civil action arising out of a bicycle accident. The council encourages construction of this article accordingly.

 

Negligence

All claims originate when one party has been negligent. Negligence occurs when someone is not paying attention, or is being careless when they should have been paying attention. Through the years the law of negligence has developed through the creation of statutes by the legislature and through the interpretation of those statutes by the Courts.

 

The following elements are necessary to establish a negligence cause of action:

The breach of a duty, established by law that is the cause of a resulting harm, and damages to another person, or several people.

Some acts are determined to be intentionally negligent, and others are reckless, or wanton. Also under the umbrella of negligence are claims called, strict liability.

Bicycle Accidents:

Texas requires all children riding bicycles to have a helmet on! It is the law, and it is common sense.

Texas Transportation Code gives bicycles the same duties and responsibilities as car drivers. Bikes must follow all the same rules of the road as cars. ( Transportation Code Section 551.101)

Whenever reasonably required you can therefore ride in the roadway unless you are in a jurisdiction that specifically prohibit cyclists on their bikes from riding in the roadway. The idea is not to impede the ordinary flow of traffic. Keep in mind that if you are acting reasonably, then you are probably acting legally. Riding two abreast can be dangerous no matter where you are. Texas law says it is fine for bikes to ride two abreast where there is more than one lane of traffic so long as you are not an impediment to traffic.

If you are riding at night, then you have to have a light. You should also be well versed in all of the proper hand signals used for turning. For other bikers out there, please call out regarding that ginormous pot hole and point to it after you have managed to avoid it. Also, if there is a car riding up on another cyclist that you see ahead of you, call out “CAR” to let them know that they might “inconvenience” that hummer trying to pass them. These actions are common courtesy and can spare a lot of bike parts and injuries.

Motorcycle & Scooter Accidents

If you or someone you love and care about has been injured in a motorcycle accident, it is crucial that you protect your rights. In order to protect your rights, you or your loved one will need a skilled motorcycle accident attorney to help you navigate the complexity of vehicle and traffic laws, physician and alternative medical support issues, the laws of negligence, and other liability issues and concerns. An experienced attorney can help you know how and when to deal with insurance companies and their representatives. Being represented by a skilled motorcycle accident attorney means you will be provided guidance through all of these various aspects of a motorcycle accident.

Most motorcycle accidents occur where the driver of the vehicle that hit the rider violated a right-of-way or “did not see the motorcycle”. Knowing how to overcome the prejudices that many car drivers/jurors have towards motorcyclists is as important as knowing the law. We at CyclistLaw understand what it is like out on the road. We are endurance bicyclists, scooter riders, and motorcycle riders. We ride on country roads and busy city streets and highways, just like you.

 

Lane Splitting in Texas

Texas does not allow lane splitting! Riders, if you lane split and are in a collision, you will be liable or partially liable for your injuries.

Helmet Laws

Texas does not require adults (those over the age of 21) to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. Children under the age of five years old are not allowed on motorcycles. All youth under the age of 21, must wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle. Please see the Helmet Law Exemption Tab on this site for more information relating to helmet laws in Texas.

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