Safe Bicycle Riding
REMINDER: Remember that, despite state law, YOU are most responsible for your own safety!
Most bicycle accidents share a common denominator…they are AVOIDABLE! Proper maintenance, courtesy, common sense, defensive riding and compliance with state laws can prevent needless injury and property damage.
Anyone operating a bicycle on, or around, the UNT Health Science Center campus is expected to have a good understanding of the Texas Motor Vehicle Laws and is subject to penalties for violating them.
Exercise Good Judgment:
Your bicycle gives you a high degree of mobility and speed, but bicycles are often difficult for other drivers to see. Road conditions and congestion due to vehicles, parked cars, signs, pedestrians, roller-skaters, skateboarders and other bicycles intensify this problem. Bicyclists should do everything they can to make themselves as visible as possible, follow safe and predictable driving habits, and to mix safely with other users of the traffic system.
Know the Laws:
- All bicyclists must operate under Texas Motor Vehicle Laws while on public roadways, including stopping at stop signs, yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks, displaying proper illumination, and riding in designated bicycle lanes with the traffic flow on “One Way” streets.
- A bicycle is a vehicle and a person operating a bicycle has the rights and duties applicable to a driver operating a vehicle. All laws and signs that regulate the movement of vehicles upon the roadway also apply to bicycles. Therefore, a bicyclist must obey all traffic laws, signs, and signals. This includes stopping at all stop signs and all red lights.
- A person may not operate a bicycle on a road 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 which is 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.
- 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 the left hand and arm downward
- Left Turn – Extend the left hand and arm horizontally
- Right Turn – Extend the left hand and arm upward, or extend the right hand and arm horizontally.
Bicycle Safety for Cyclists – Best Practices
- Always ride with traffic and follow the rules of the road. Forget what you might have heard in the past, you are required to ride with the flow of traffic, not against it. You are much more predictable and visible to motorists, especially at intersections and driveways. Ride in a straight line, not in and out of cars, and use hand signals when turning and stopping. Obey traffic signs, signals, and lane markings and yield to traffic when appropriate, including pedestrians.
- Don’t ride on the sidewalk. Although you might think it’s a safer option, motorists are simply not looking for bicyclists on the sidewalk, especially those riding against traffic. So at every driveway and intersection, you are at much greater risk of being hit by a motorist than if you were riding on the road with traffic. Pedestrians will thank you for riding on the road as well.
- Ride on the trail, paved shoulder, bike lane, or bike route. You still need to follow the rules of the road and watch out for your fellow travelers. Ride to the right, signal your turns, obey traffic signs and signals.
- Be predictable and visible. Try not to be hesitant or do things that motorists and other travelers may not be expecting. Make sure everyone can see you and knows where you are and where you are going. If riding in the dark, use headlights, taillights and reflectors, and wear reflective materials and brightly colored clothing. Do not wear headphones or talk on a cell phone while bicycling!
- Watch for hazards on the road or trail that might make you fall or swerve. Rocks, trash, storm grates, wet leaves, potholes, gravel, railroad tracks, and even wet pavement markings can all send you flying. Also watch for parked cars, doors opening, and cars pulling in and out of driveways.
- Watch for turning traffic. It may come as a surprise, but crash data tells us that getting hit from behind is extremely unlikely. Most car/bike collisions happen at intersections and driveways when motorists or bicyclists are turning. So, at every intersection and driveway, keep a careful eye out for:
- Motorists turning right in front of you – you may be going faster than they think.
- Motorists turning left across your path – drivers are looking for gaps in traffic and may not be paying attention to anything other than other motor vehicles
*PLEASE visit the following website for information on how to NOT get hit by cars: bicyclesafe.com
Bicycle Safety for Drivers – Best Practices
- Watch for bicyclists at all times. Bicycles are vehicles and bicyclists are allowed to take the entire lane when necessary. Scan for bicyclists in traffic and give them the appropriate right-of-way. Children and novice riders can be unpredictable, so expect the unexpected. Watch for bicyclists before opening car doors. Don’t drive distracted or after consuming alcohol or other drugs.
- Drive the speed limit and avoid aggressive maneuvers. Obey speed limits and come to a complete stop at stop signs. Allow extra time for bicyclists to traverse intersections. Recognize hazards that bicyclists may face and give them space to maneuver.
- Pass bicyclists with care. Treat bicyclists as you would a slow-moving car – don’t tailgate, and do wait until traffic conditions allow you to safely pass the bicyclist. Reduce speed when passing bicyclists and allow at least 3 feet of passing space. Check over your shoulder after passing a bicyclist before moving back. Don’t use your horn in close proximity to bicyclists.