For its size, population, and traffic congestion, Texas has a surprisingly low number of bicycle accidents. In most studies, Texas falls in the middle. It does not have enough cyclist fatalities to fall among the most dangerous states, but it also lacks the infrastructure to make it one of the safest states.
Dallas has fewer bicycle crashes than comparable cities. But it also has very few bike lanes and multi-use trails to push the city into the top tier of bike-friendly cities.
Read on to learn about Dallas bicycle safety, including crash stats and an overview of the city’s bicycle infrastructure.
Dallas Bicycle Crash Statistics
Texas provides access to its database containing accident reports through its Crash Records Information System (CRIS). The statistics given come from the CRIS website.
According to CRIS, Dallas had 95 bicycle accidents in 2021. For a city with a population of about 1.3 million, this is extraordinarily low.
To understand how low, San Antonio has a slightly larger population of about 1.4 million. Yet San Antonio had 294 bike crashes in 2021, according to CRIS. This means a cyclist in San Antonio has almost three times the crash risk as a cyclist in Dallas.
Summer is the most dangerous time of the year for bicycle accidents. According to CRIS, almost 35% of bike accidents in Dallas happened in June, July, or August.
Most bicycle accidents occur during the evening rush hour. CRIS shows about 31% of bicycle accidents in Dallas happened between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Sundays and Fridays are the best days to bicycle, according to CRIS. These two days combined had 16 bike crashes in 2021. The most dangerous day of the week, Wednesday, had 20 bike crashes in 2021.
Dallas Bicycle Crash Injuries and Fatalities
Bicycle accidents in Dallas caused three fatal injuries in 2021. Of the remaining bike crashes reported by CRIS:
- 15% caused a serious injury that required an ambulance
- 47% caused a visible injury that did not require an ambulance
- 28% caused complaints of pain or other symptoms but no visible injury
- 10% caused no injuries
This means that 90.1% of Dallas bicycle accidents in 2021 caused injury or death.
Dallas Bicycle Crash Causes
Both bicyclists and vehicle drivers can cause bicycle crashes. But the overwhelming number of accidents begin when a vehicle hits a bicycle. Out of 95 bike crashes listed in CRIS:
- 92 started with a vehicle hitting a bicycle
- 2 started with a bicycle hitting a vehicle
- 1 happened when a bicycle hit a parked car
This does not necessarily mean that 92 out of 95 drivers were to blame for bicycle crashes. Bicyclists can get hit when they violate traffic controls or other rules of the road.
For example, a cyclist can cause a crash when crossing a road between intersections and outside of a marked crosswalk. In other words, a cyclist might bear the blame for the equivalent of jaywalking on a bike.
But most Dallas crashes result from careless, distracted, or intoxicated driving. Some driver-related causes of crashes include:
Failing to Yield the Right of Way
Drivers are notorious for failing to yield to cyclists, and the statistics confirm this. Nearly 35% of Dallas accidents involve a driver who failed to yield to a bicyclist at an intersection or driveway.
These accidents can happen in a few ways. A driver might turn left across an oncoming bicyclist’s path. A driver might turn right as a bicyclist walks their bike across the street in a marked crosswalk. Or a driver might pull out of a driveway into the path of a cyclist on the road.
Cyclists dread when cars overtake them. On roads without a bike lane, a car can get dangerously close to the cyclist when passing. This can lead to sideswipe accidents where the driver fails to spot the cyclist or fails to leave enough space for them.
Almost 11% of Dallas bike accidents involved improper passing. These drivers:
- Changed lanes while a bicycle was next to them
- Passed a cyclist when there was not enough space
- Cut off a cyclist
Bike infrastructure can reduce the number of lane change accidents. But Dallas has very little bike infrastructure.
Speeding accidents can result from either a driver or a cyclist traveling too fast. Speeding increases the risk of losing control of your vehicle or bicycle. It also reduces your window for avoiding a road or traffic hazard.
According to CRIS, 4% of Dallas bike accidents resulted from speeding or traveling too fast for conditions.
Distracted driving increases the odds that you will spot a bicyclist too late to avoid a collision. When you drive at a modest 35 miles per hour, you travel over 100 feet during a two-second glance at your phone.
CRIS listed distracted driving as a cause of 4% of Dallas bike accidents.
Dallas Bicycle Infrastructure
The good news is that Dallas has a bike plan. The bike plan was created in 2011 and will undergo a major update before 2023. The bad news is that Dallas has severely neglected the plan’s implementation.
Dallas claims 74 miles of bikeways. But most of these bikeways are bike routes marked only with signs admonishing drivers to share the road. Only 5.3 of the 74 miles have protected bike lanes to give bicyclists space on the roadway. Of the remaining 69 miles, cyclists must ride on the shoulder or sidewalk to avoid sharing a lane with vehicles.
Dallas also has several multi-use trails for bicyclists and pedestrians. But these trails typically do not provide useful routes for commuters. Instead, they are intended for leisure biking in parks and other recreational areas.
In its 2023 update, Dallas will develop a plan with new priorities. This plan will guide bike infrastructure development for the foreseeable future.
Bicycling Safely in Dallas
Bicyclists can avoid bike accidents despite the lack of infrastructure. Some tips for staying safe include exercising caution at intersections since most Dallas bike accidents happen there. You should also ride defensively, assuming drivers have not spotted you and may maneuver into you. By following just a few tips, you can ride safely in Dallas.