National Bike Week – Basic laws and tips for bicyclists in Texas

National Bike Week – Basic laws and tips for bicyclists in Texas

What traffic laws apply to cyclists? What traffic laws do not?

Generally, bikes are entitled to all rights and obligated to all duties of the road that apply to a motor vehicle. 

Stop at red lights and stop signs

Pay attention to lane markers

Ride near the curb, traveling in the same direction as traffic

Use a light on the front and a red reflector or red light on the back of your bike while riding at night

• A person operating a bicycle, if moving slower than traffic, shall ride as near as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway.
By definition, “roadway” does not include the shoulder of the roadway.

• A person operating a bicycle shall ride only on or astride a permanent and regular seat attached to the bicycle.

• A person may not use a bicycle to carry more persons than the bicycle is designed or equipped to carry.

• A person operating a bicycle, coaster, sled or toy vehicle or using roller skates may not attach either the person or the bicycle, coaster, sled toy vehicle, or roller skates to a streetcar or vehicle on a roadway.

• A person operating a bicycle may not carry any object that prevents the operator from keeping a least one hand on the handlebars.

• Bicyclists must use hand signals to signal their intent to stop, turn left, or turn right. The bicyclist must use the following signals:

Stop – Extend your left hand and turn your forearm downward at a 90-degree angle.
Left Turn – Extend your left hand and arm horizontally
Right Turn – Extend your left arm to the left and turn your forearm up at a 90-degree angle, or extend the right hand and arm horizontally.

• Every bike must be equipped with a brake capable of making a braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement.

• A person may not operate a bicycle at nighttime unless the bicycle is equipped with the following:

Headlamp – a lamp on the front of the bicycle that emits a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet in front of the bicycle.
Red Reflector/Red Lamp – A bicycle must be equipped with either a red reflector visible from a distance of 300 feet from the rear of the bicycle, or a red lamp visible from a distance of 500 feet from the rear of the bicycle.

When is it allowable for a cyclist to “take the lane,” and when is it not?

A person operating a bicycle on a roadway who is moving slower than the other traffic on the roadway shall ride as near as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway.

Under the following conditions bicyclists may take the full lane of travel:

The person is passing another vehicle moving in the same direction

The person is preparing to turn left at an intersection or onto a private road or driveway

When there are unsafe conditions on the roadway, including fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, pedestrians, animals or surface hazards that prevents the person from safely riding next to the curb or edge of the roadway

The lane is of substandard width (less than 14 feet wide and not having a designated bicycle lane adjacent to that lane) making if unsafe for a bicycle and a motor vehicle to safely travel side by side

Note: When on a one-way street, a bicyclist can ride to the far left instead of the far right.

Additionally, persons operating bicycles on a roadway may ride two abreast. Persons riding two abreast on a laned roadway shall ride in a single lane. Persons riding two abreast may not impede the normal and reasonable flow of traffic on the roadway. Also note, bicyclists can’t make passage of traffic “unreasonably inconvenient”.

TIPS for Bicyclist & Drivers

Tips for Bicyclists

  • Wear a properly fitted helmet to reduce the chances of head injury and death. (Some cities and counties require cyclists to wear helmets. Contact local law enforcement for more information.)
  • Always check brakes and tires before riding.
  • Make it easier for drivers to see you by wearing light colors or reflective clothing.

Tips for Drivers

  • Be on the lookout for cyclists on the highway, especially at intersections.
  • If you’re passing a bicyclist, move to another lane if possible and give them plenty of room.
  • Watch for riders who may need to maneuver around potholes and debris.

More resources:
TxDOT
Top 10 Tips for First Time Bicycle Commuters

Ride & Seek set for Saturday, March 9th, 2019

Ride & Seek set for Saturday, March 9th, 2019

Ride & Seek is a free event for Wichita Falls, Texas, encouraging people of all ages to bring out their wheels for a fun scavenger hunt along our Circle Trail.

About this Event

The Bike Friendly Action Committee is hosting their first event, “Ride & Seek,” at Lake Wichita Park on March 9th from 10AM12PM. This free event encourages people of all ages to bring out their wheels (bikes, scooters, skates) for a fun scavenger hunt along our Circle Trail. In addition to the scavenger hunt, we will have refreshments, booths to learn about bike safety, proper fit and helmet checks! Pre-register for this Free event to be eligible to win a free bike (one adult and one child will be available). Free swag bags will be given away to the first 100 participants so show up early! For more information, follow our page on Facebook and Instagram at @bikewichitafalls!

Free Registration is a CLICK away!

Be sure to like Bike Wichita Falls on Facebook.

Bicycle-Friendly: Implementing the strategy to improve quality of life.

Become a League of American Bicyclists Bicycle-Friendly Community to raise the quality of life, attract and retain talent and cultivate an organic external identity for Wichita Falls.

Bicycling already plays an important role in Wichita Falls. The Hotter’N’Hell Hundred race (and its associated events) is both a well-loved local event and a significant part of the region’s external identity.

This portion of the strategy focuses on ways that Wichita Falls can become a bicycle-friendly place every day of the year for riders of all abilities, not just serious cyclists.

The League of American Bicyclists is widely regarded as the respected authority for recognizing bicycling best practices in communities in the United States. The organization’s Bicycle Friendly Community program provides a “roadmap” for communities to follow in becoming bicycle friendly. Communities who follow the necessary steps and apply can receive a designation as a Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, or Diamond Bicycle Friendly Community.

SAFB Bikerack Wichita FallsSince the program’s inception in 1995, the League has received more than 1,500 bicycle friendly community applications; 430 communities are currently recognized as Bicycle Friendly Communities with an additional 100 receiving an honorable mention. Bicycle Friendly Communities in Texas include Austin at the Gold level and Brownsville, El Paso, Fort Worth, Frisco, Houston, Plano, Richardson, San Antonio, and The Woodlands at the Bronze level.

The core of this strategic approach is built around achieving a Bronze designation for Wichita Falls in the first five years of strategic implementation. The League does not establish exact standards for what constitutes a Bronze, as its designations are based on both objective and subjective criteria. But receiving Bicycle Friendly Community designation generally involves factors such as bicycle-friendly laws, education and public outreach, infrastructure expansion, bike program staff, active bike clubs and signature events, and so on.

An action team is in place now and hopes to submit the application for Bronze designation in August 2019.

Connections to Community Goals

 Attract and retain residents and businesses: Having the option to access jobs, retail, and other amenities without a car is an important factor for many individuals when making decisions about where to live; this is especially true for younger workers.

Increase prosperity for all residents: Supporting and encouraging active transportation can improve public health, create new recreational opportunities, and expand access to amenities.

Enhance the quality of life and quality of place: Enhanced bicycle infrastructure and programming would directly improve connectivity.

Promote inclusivity and equity: For people without access to a car, quality bicycle infrastructure can be an important link to jobs and services. An ambitious citywide program could also help advance revitalization efforts in areas that have suffered from disinvestment.

Improve internal and external perceptions of Wichita Falls: Hotter’N’Hell is among the most important influences on the community’s external identity. Leaning into this image could help Wichita Falls stand out in a crowded place-based marketing landscape.

Wichita Falls to become a more bike-friendly place

Wichita Falls to become a more bike-friendly place

MSU_Bike_Rack

Midwestern State University’s Cycling Team attended the unveiling of another bike rack. Rack made by The Burn Shop

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KFDX/KJTL) – Texas is ranked 25th in the nation when it comes to being bike friendly.

Places with the current designation include 10 communities, 37 businesses, and 6 universities and members with the Bike Friendly Community Action Team are trying to get Wichita Falls recognized.

“The goal is to eventually in August of next year to apply for the bronze level designation and through the League of American Bicyclist. They have bronze silver gold and then a platinum level,” said Becky Raeke with the BCFA team.

The qualifications are based on things like, infrastructure, ordinances that address cyclists safety, and community outreach, among several other criteria.

Even though the city hosts one of the largest bike rides in the nation, the chamber of commerce president said we can’t just rely on the Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred.

“We’re already known around the cycling world for Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred but aside from that we’re not that friendly toward cyclists and so becoming more bicycle friendly will make it easier for people to get around the community whether it’s for recreational, or for commuting and for us selling people from the outside world on, why Wichita Falls.”

With more establishments getting behind the bike-friendly movement, organizers with the BFCA team are hoping it becomes a growing trend.