On Monday, August 12 around 5:30 a.m., a bicyclist was hit and killed in Houston.
Investigators say the accident occurred just north of I-10 on Barker Cypress Rd and S. Park View Drive.
A bicyclist and a Silverado pickup were both headed southbound along Barker Cypress Rd. Although the truck made a proper stop, they failed to see the bicyclist in the path alongside it.
Police reveal that the bicyclist was in the right of way, traveling alongside the road given that there was no sidewalk available. The bicyclist had a blinking light on, yet the area was still very underlit.
The accident is still under investigation, yet there remains no say of whether the driver will face charges.
What Constitutes The Right of Way for a Bicyclist?
The Texas State Transportation Code Statutes outline the rules of the road in order to make travel safer for motorists and bicyclists alike:
1. Bicyclists have the same duties and rights as other operators (551.101) – This means that bicycles must obey all traffic rules such as braking at stop lights and signs, etc. It also means that other motor vehicles must treat bicycles as they would any vehicle (e.g. Yielding the right-of-way to bicyclists).
2. Bicyclists must remain near the curb and follow the direction of traffic (551.103) – Generally, keeping 3 feet from the curb is a safe distance, but if it would be more safe to travel within a lane, bicyclists can take the lane closest to the curb with caution.
3. Bicyclists should keep both hands on the handlebars, but at least have one on at all times (551.102c) – That means when signaling a turn, bicyclists can use one hand, but then they must return both hands to the handlebars to complete the turn.
4. Bicyclists are permitted to use hand and arm signals and should do so appropriately (545.107) – Bicyclists turning left should extend the left arm and hand out to the side, and those turning right should extend the left arm and hand out upwards. Bicyclists may also extend an arm and hand downward to signal slowing down or coming to a stop.
5. One rider is only permitted per saddle (551.102a) – If a bicycle only has a single seat, only one person should be on it.
6. Two bicycles may ride abreast as long as traffic is not interrupted by their travel (551.103c) – Sometimes bicycles are allowed to ride two abreast, (i.e. two bicycles side by side) but should be designated to a single lane.
7. For night time bicycle riding, a white reflector must be placed in the front of the bicycle, and a red reflector must be placed on the rear of the bicycle (551.104b) – These reflectors allow a vehicle’s headlights to shine off of them to make bikes visible from the side at night. Red lights may be used in substitution.
8. The bicycle must have brakes which are capable of making it skid (551.104a) – This is important so that a bicyclist can come to a stop at a more natural pace rather than an abrupt stop, avoiding a flip over and sustaining injury.
Who Has The Right Of Way?
If you have been involved in a bicycle accident, it will be important to note who had the right of way. If a car neglected to take into account a bicyclist’s right of way, they may be held liable for damages.
The right of way for bicyclists is illustrated in two different scenarios:
1. Cyclists vs. Pedestrian
If a pedestrian has been given the right of way by a traffic signal, the bicyclist should yield or make a complete stop for pedestrian’s safety.
2. Car vs. Cyclist
Cars must yield if they are approaching an intersection that has a bicyclist traveling on a through road (i.e. main road).
When cars are traveling behind a bicyclist on a single lane, it is generally safe to pass the bicyclist with a 3 foot of distance, but it’s best to give the right of way to bicyclists for safety reasons. Sometimes, the cyclist may scoot closer to the curb to allow a car to safely pass.
Bicyclists who have sustained injuries in a bicycle/auto accident should contact the experienced Houston car accident attorneys of Lapeze and Johns now at (713)739-1010 for a FREE case review.