Texas is approximately 870 miles from border to border. Bicycle safety analysts say the state’s enormity makes it challenging to educate people on biking safety issues. If you ride a bicycle, it’s best to regularly review safety guidelines, as well as to stay updated on traffic laws that are relevant to bicyclists.
It’s also a good idea to learn more about what causes bicycle accidents in Texas. Doing so may help you improve your own safety. Certain regions throughout the state, such as Dallas, have a lower percentage of vehicle-striking-bicyclist collisions than other areas, like San Antonio, where bicyclists have triple the risk of getting hit by a car than they would in Dallas. Safety precautions are beneficial anywhere, however, regardless of the crash statistics in a specific locale.
Most bicycle accidents occur in Texas due to unsafe lane changes by motorists
One of the most dangerous situations that commonly occurs for bicyclists in Texas is to be traveling along a roadway when a motorist makes a sudden lane change. Many drivers come too close to bicyclists, cutting them off in a lane or trying to maneuver around them when there’s not enough space. If you’re riding your bikes and a vehicle cuts across your path or comes too close when moving around you, a collision might occur that results in serious, perhaps, even life-threatening injuries.
Sadly, many bicycle accidents are fatal. Even in Dallas, where the overall percentage of collisions between cars and bicycles is low compared to other regions in Texas, more than 90% of the crashes that occur result in fatalities.
Motorists who speed or are distracted at the wheel increase collision risk
When you’re pedaling along a Texas roadway on a bicycle, you have no way of knowing if someone nearby in a car is distracted at the wheel. A safety precaution bicyclists should always bear in mind is to remember that just because a rider sees a vehicle on the road, doesn’t necessarily mean the driver of the vehicle sees the bicyclist. Distracted drivers cause tens of thousands of collisions every year and pose a particular risk to cyclists.
Speeding is another common factor in collisions between motorists and people riding bicycles. There are two types of speeding: 1. Traveling above posted limits and 2. Traveling too fast for road conditions at the time, which increases the risk of collision.
Various road layouts for bicyclists can affect safety
If you’ve ridden a bicycle in several cities or rural areas in Texas, you may have encountered different types of roadways. Some places have protected lanes, clearly marked for cyclists while others have signs along the road, telling motorists to be kind and “share the road” with people traveling by bicycle. The most dangerous cycling areas are those that have no signage or separate lanes available to help improve safety.
Be especially cautious at intersections
For all travelers, including motorists, pedestrians and cyclists, intersections are some of the most dangerous sections of roadways in Texas. If you’re riding a bike and approaching a crossroad, it’s critical to be alert and cautious. Proceed slowly and be on the lookout for objects that obstruct visibility, as well as motorists who are moving too fast or disregarding traffic signals or stop signs. If a collision occurs, and you suffer injuries, there are laws in place that allow you to seek restitution for damages in a civil court.