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Bicycle Traffic Laws: Who has the Right of Way?

Written by Tom Crosley
Apr 02, 2019 Motorcycle & Bicycle Accidents, Vehicle Wrecks
  1. 1. Which San Antonio Traffic Laws Apply to Bicycles?
  2. 2. All Road Users Need to Understand the Right of Way Rules
  3. 3. Be On the Look for Distracted Cyclists
  4. 4. Crosley Law: Fighting for San Antonio Accident Victims

The Crosley Law team is passionate about cycling, and we love that our city is embracing bicycling as a sport and means of transportation. However, as San Antonio becomes increasingly bicycle-friendly, you’ve probably become a little confused about which traffic laws apply to San Antonio bicyclists.

In 2017 alone, there were 2,687 reported car-bicycle crashes in Texas. These crashes caused 57 deaths and 1,565 injuries. An additional 907 crashes involved “possible injuries.” Anything we can do to reduce the number of serious bicycle crashes is in our community’s best interest.

Keep reading to learn more about San Antonio bicycle laws and how to keep you and your loved ones safe on the road.

Which San Antonio Traffic Laws Apply to Bicycles?

As you’re driving in San Antonio, you’ll encounter a wide variety of road users, including bicycle riders. All drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, and scooter users must follow Texas’ traffic laws and San Antonio’s ordinances. Failure to obey these regulations can result in personal injury, death, expensive citations, or civil liability. Fortunately, the laws regarding bicyclists are straightforward and similar to the laws governing automobiles.

Under Texas law, someone riding a bicycle has “all the rights and duties” of someone driving a car. This means bicyclists must:

  • Obey all traffic signs, lights, and other traffic-control devices
  • Yield to pedestrians
  • Follow the flow of traffic
  • Have functioning brakes on their bicycle
  • Equip their bicycles with other safety systems, such as lights and reflectors if operating at night

However, many cyclists don’t realize that they must follow Texas and San Antonio’s rules of the road.

RELATED VIDEO: Are There Any Special Laws That Apply to Bicyclists?

All Road Users Need to Understand the Right of Way Rules

Bicycle riders sometimes assume they have the right of way while they are riding their bikes. This stems from a misconception that cyclists have the same right of way laws as pedestrians, but this is not true. A cyclist must yield the right of way to other vehicles and pedestrians in accordance with standard automobile traffic laws.

The reason for this is simple. Bicycles are classified as vehicles in most legal statutes. As a result, the same traffic laws that bind automobiles and motorcycles apply to these manually powered vehicles. In instances where the cyclist does not yield the right of way, they may be at fault for any accidents that occur.

RELATED ARTICLE: How Can We Improve Bicycle Safety in San Antonio?

Be On the Look for Distracted Cyclists

Many of us understand the dangers of distracted driving. However, distractions like phone use can also impact cyclists, scooter riders, and other road users. According to one study, more than 46% of cyclists admitted to being distracted by text messages and chats while biking—and almost 65% bike while distracted by phone calls.

Whether you’re driving or riding a bicycle, put down your phone and pay attention to the road.

RELATED ARTICLE: Common Bicycle Injuries — And When to Speak With a Lawyer

Crosley Law: Fighting for San Antonio Accident Victims

While understanding San Antonio’s road rules is a good start, even the most responsible motorists and bike riders can’t avoid every crash. If you or a loved one suffered life-changing injuries, please contact Crosley Law. Our attorneys will help you understand your legal options, and consultations are always free.

To request an evaluation, please call us at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000 or complete this brief online form.


City of San Antonio Ordinances Sec. 19-286.

Choi, E.H. (2010, September). Crash factors in intersection-related crashes: An on-scene perspective. National Highway Safety Administration. Retrieved from https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/811366

Intersection safety (2018, July 24). Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved from https://highways.dot.gov/research-programs/safety/intersection-safety

Pedestrian and pedalcyclist injuries and crashes (2017). Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved from https://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot-info/trf/crash_statistics/2017/07.pdf

Useche, S., Alonso, F., Montoro, L., Esteban, C. (2018). Distraction of cyclists: how does it influence their risky behaviors and traffic crashes? PeerJ. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6139010/

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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