You Mean I Didn’t Have the Right of Way?

Pedestrian and bicyclist rights and how the law strolls and pedals along with them.

The kids are back in school, so the crosswalks are “little-one chaos.” The weather in Texas is getting cooler, so cyclists are hitting the asphalt without fear of heatstroke. All in all, it’s a great time to be outdoors. Save one reason.

There’s your best friend Joe (and lots of other Joes) cruising the roadway (while texting, eating and more) like his own private autobahn. In other words…

Reckless and distracted drivers.

So what's the law in Texas? Do automobiles always have the right-of-way? What are pedestrian rights at intersections? Do bicyclists have the same rights as motorists?

For guidance, we can turn to our dear friends in the Texas Legislature (Wouldn’t you like to catch a few of them alone in a crosswalk?!) and specifically the Texas Transportation Code (TTC), Chapter 552 (pedestrian rights and responsibilities) and Chapter 551 (bicyclists’ rights and responsibilities).

So yes, there are “responsibilities.” I think we all pretty much know how it works, but here’s a quick and general refresher course:

  • Traffic control signals displaying green, red, yellow lights or lighted arrows apply to pedestrians.
  • Pedestrians facing a red signal alone or steady yellow signal may not enter a roadway.
  • Pedestrians facing a green signal may proceed across a roadway within a marked or unmarked crosswalk unless the sole green signal is a turn arrow.  (Did you know about the “unmarked” crosswalk? And the “sole green arrow” restriction?)
  • Pedestrians facing a “walk” signal may proceed across the roadway and the motorist must yield the right of way.
  • Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as those of motorists, with limited exceptions. That means they must observe all traffic control devices, including yield signs and stop signs.
  • Bicyclists on a roadway who are moving slower than other traffic must ride “as near as practicable” to the right curb or edge, unless preparing to turn left at an intersection or a private driveway.
  • Bicyclists may ride two abreast unless it’s a laned roadway and as long as they don’t impede the flow of traffic. Otherwise, they must ride single file.

That’s your refresher course. There will be a test later. Out on the roadways…

If you want to know more about these laws, just click on the links below.  And slow down, Joe! Drive friendly!

TTC Chapter 552…Pedestrian Rights and Duties

TTC Chapter 551…Bicyclists Rights and Duties

Stay safe out there!


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