Traffic Tip: Bicyclists must follow rules of the road
By David Brogger
Jan. 6, 2013 at 8:05 p.m.
Updated Jan. 6, 2013 at 7:07 p.m.
This is the first of a two-part series explaining the rules for operating bicycles, riding scooters, electric wheelchairs, mopeds, etc., on the roadways and how it relates to driving in Victoria.
A lot of children received bicycles, scooters, etc., for Christmas, so we thought it would be a good time to bring up the laws regarding them.
This week, we look at bicycle laws.
Next week, we will look at use of mopeds, electric bicycles, electric wheelchairs, golf carts and other motorized vehicles.
Chapter 551: Operation of bicycles, mopeds and play vehicles.
Subchapter A. Application of chapter
Sec. 551.001. Persons affected. Except as provided by Subchapter C, this chapter applies only to a person operating a bicycle on:
(1) A highway; or
(2) A path set aside for the exclusive operation of bicycles.
Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1318, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.
Subchapter B. Regulation of Operation
Sec. 551.101. Rights and Duties. (a) A person operating a bicycle has the rights and duties applicable to a driver operating a vehicle under this subtitle unless:
(1) A provision of this chapter alters a right or duty; or
(2) A right or duty applicable to a driver operating a vehicle cannot by its nature apply to a person operating a bicycle.
(b) A parent of a child or a guardian of a ward may not knowingly permit the child or ward to violate this subtitle.
Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.
Sec. 551.102. General Operation. (a) A person operating a bicycle shall ride only on or astride a permanent and regular seat attached to the bicycle.
(b) A person may not use a bicycle to carry more persons than the bicycle is designed or equipped to carry.
(c) A person operating a bicycle may not use the bicycle to carry an object that prevents the person from operating the bicycle with at least one hand on the handlebars of the bicycle.
(d) 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.
Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.
Sec. 551.103. Operation on Roadway. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), 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, unless:
(1) The person is passing another vehicle moving in the same direction;
(2) The person is preparing to turn left at an intersection or onto a private road or driveway;
(3) A condition on or of the roadway, including a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, pedestrian, animal or surface hazard prevents the person from safely riding next to the right curb or edge of the roadway; or
(4) The person is operating a bicycle in an outside lane that is:
(A) less than 14 feet in width and does not have a designated bicycle lane adjacent to that lane; or
(B) too narrow for a bicycle and a motor vehicle to safely travel side by side.
(b) A person operating a bicycle on a one-way roadway with two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near as practicable to the left curb or edge of the roadway.
(c) 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. Persons may not ride more than two abreast unless they are riding on a part of a roadway set aside for the exclusive operation of bicycles.
(d) Repealed by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1085, Sec. 13, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.
Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1085, Sec. 10, 13, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.
Sec. 551.104. Safety Equipment. (a) A person may not operate a bicycle unless the bicycle is equipped with a brake capable of making a braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement.
(b) A person may not operate a bicycle at nighttime unless the bicycle is equipped with:
(1) 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; and
(2) on the rear of the bicycle:
(A) a red reflector that is:
(i) of a type approved by the department; and
(ii) visible when directly in front of lawful upper beams of motor vehicle headlamps from all distances from 50 to 300 feet to the rear of the bicycle; or
(B) a lamp that emits a red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear of the bicycle.
Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1085, Sec. 11, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.
Sec. 551.105. Competitive Racing. (a) In this section, "bicycle" means a nonmotorized vehicle propelled by human power.
(b) A sponsoring organization may hold a competitive bicycle race on a public road only with the approval of the appropriate local law enforcement agencies.
(c) The area law enforcement agencies and the sponsoring organization may agree on safety regulations governing the movement of bicycles during a competitive race or during training for a competitive race, including the permission for bicycle operators to ride abreast.
The Victoria Police Department Traffic Safety Unit invites citizens to inform us of any traffic issues that you observe. The easiest way to do this is go to our website. Then, go to the VPD Customer Service Request tab in the center of the page and follow the directions.
If you have a traffic law question, contact Senior Police Officer David Brogger, Victoria Police Department Traffic Safety Unit, at 361-485-3700.