In addition to state-wide laws, Austin, Texas has its own bicycle laws. Bike Law Charlie explains.
As both a bicycle accident attorney and advocate for safer riding, I previously prepared an article to serve as an overview of the laws that apply to riders while bicycling in Texas. Now, let’s delve into cities that have passed their own book of laws that also apply to bicyclists. This article focuses on relevant bicycle laws in Austin, Texas, which are listed in its Code of Ordinances at Title 12, Chapter 12-2.
These laws apply when a person rides a bicycle on a street of bicycle path. A bicyclist shall comply with the requirements imposed on a driver of a vehicle, to the extent that the requirements may be applied to operation of a bicycle. §12-2-2 and 11.
Obedience to Traffic Control
A bicyclist shall obey the instruction of official traffic signals, signs, and other traffic-control devices applicable to vehicles, unless otherwise directed by a police officer. Unless a bike lane is specifically designated otherwise, a bicyclist riding in a bike lane may not travel in the opposite direction of adjacent motor vehicles in the roadway. A bicyclist shall obey traffic signs that prohibit a right, left, or “U” turn, except when the bicyclist dismounts from the bicycle to make the turn. A bicyclist who dismounts shall obey regulations applicable to pedestrians. §12-2-12.
Except as otherwise directed by a traffic-control device or a police officer, a bicyclist shall ride: (1) in the right-most lane available to vehicle traffic where vehicles are prohibited from parking along the right curb; (2) in the center of the lane where vehicles are permitted to park along the right curb; or (3) in the right-hand portion of an unlaned street. §12-2-16.
Helmets Required for Children
A parent may not permit a child to operate or ride on a bicycle, sidecar, trailer, child carrier, seat, or other device attached to a bicycle unless the child is wearing a helmet. A helmet must: (1) be properly fitted and securely fastened to the child’s head with the straps securely tightened; (2) not be structurally damaged; and (3) conform to the standards of the American National Standards Institute. §12-2-31.
Exiting from Alley, Driveway, or Building
A bicyclist exiting from an alley, driveway, or building shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian on a sidewalk or sidewalk area, or to a vehicle on a roadway. §12-2-14.
A person may not park a bicycle: (1) in a manner that obstructs pedestrian or vehicle traffic; or (2) in a space designated as a vehicle parking place or between two designated vehicle parking places. A person may not attach or secure a bicycle to public or private property in a manner that may damage, impair, or render the property unusable. A person may park a bicycle: (1) against a street curb; (2) in a bicycle rack on a sidewalk; or (3) against a building. §12-2-15.
Riding on Sidewalks
Finally, Austin prohibits bicycle riding on sidewalks on the following streets per §12-2-13:
(1) 100 to 1100 blocks of Congress Avenue;
(2) 1900 to 2500 blocks of Guadalupe Street;
(3) 100 to 1100 blocks of Brazos Street;
(4) 200 to 1100 blocks of Colorado Street;
(5) from the 200 block of Second Street (West) to the 300 block of Second Street (East);
(6) from the 900 block of Fifth Street (West) to the 800 block of Fifth Street (East);
(7) from the 700 block of Sixth Street (East) to the 1000 block of Sixth Street (West);
(8 from the 100 block of Eighth Street (West) to the 200 block of Eighth Street (East);
(9) from the 100 block of Ninth Street (West) to the 200 block of Ninth Street (East);
(10) from the 200 block of 11th Street (West) to the 200 block of 11th Street (East); and
(11) from the 200 block of 15th Street (West) to the 200 block of 15th Street (East).
If you have any questions about these laws or how they may apply, please feel free to contact us via email or phone (1-844-531-7530) to discuss this topic further
Having served as the president of the Texas A&M Cycling Team, where he led the team in appearances in the U.S. Collegiate National Championships, Charlie has spent thousands of hours riding his bicycle in Texas.