Latest Post: Quick Tips for Bikes
There are plenty of reasons to ride your bike: it’s good for your health, it’s good for the environment, and possibly best of all, you can avoid Austin traffic. Though Austin is continually working to make its streets more bike friendly, bikers can still sometimes feel unwelcome.
But one thing’s for sure:
You’ve got the right to ride.
Bike Rights Austin, sponsored by McMinn Law Firm, aims to educate both drivers and cyclists on the shared rights of the road so we can all get where we’re going safely.
Shared Road Rules
Under the law, bicycles are considered moving vehicles, are entitled to all rights of the road and are expected to adhere to the same laws as cars. That means stopping at stop signs, stopping at red lights, signaling when turning, but also driving in the main lane sometimes instead of the sidewalk. Some drivers think that bikes aren’t allowed to ride in the road. Not only are bikes allowed to ride in the road, it’s illegal to ride a bike on the sidewalk in certain parts of Central Austin .
Where to Ride
When possible, bikes are supposed to ride as far to the right side of the roadway as is safely possible. In this definition, roadway does not include the shoulder of the road. This means that when driving on the right side of the road is dangerous, if there is debris or other obstacles making it unsafe, the cyclist is allowed and expected to take the lane. Cyclists are also allowed to take the lane if the road is less than 14 ft wide without a bike lane, making it is unsafe for a vehicle and a bike to ride abreast. To ensure the safety of all on the road, cars and other cyclists are required by law to leave 3 feet of space when passing a cyclist.
Bike Lane Obstructions
While signage determines if parking in a bike lane is illegal, a parked car is considered an obstruction of the bike lane and forces cyclists into the main lane of the road. For most efficient use of travel space, cars should avoid parking in bike lanes so cyclists can remain off the main lane.
Poor visibility is a large cause of automobile and bicycle collisions. On a road filled with large cars, bikes become harder to see. In a city that loves its bikes, drivers should be extra careful and double check for bikes when turning or changing lanes.
Quick Tips for Cars
- Treat cyclists like you would any other car
- Check for bikers before you open the door when by a roadway
- When turning right or changing lanes, double check for cyclists
- Leave at least 3 feet between your car and a cyclist
- Avoid parking in bike lanes
Quick Tips for Bikes
- When biking, follow the same rules as if you were driving
- Ride in the bike lane when possible
- If no bike lane is available, ride as far to the right as safely possible
- Use hand signals when turning and stopping
- At night, use bike lights and reflectors
- Always ride with the flow of traffic
What to do if you’re in a bike-automobile collision
An accident involving a cyclist and a car should be treated like an accident between two cars. If you are involved in a collision that causes injury to either party, you should call 911 as soon as possible. Both parties should exchange contact and insurance information. Each should also collect the contact information from any present witnesses. If you are injured in such a collision, you might be entitled to compensation and should seek representation.