Bicycling continues to be an economical means of transportation, especially in urban areas like Houston. Cycling is also a popular form of recreation and exercise. Unfortunately, riders in Houston face various risks when they ride, including being struck by a motor vehicle or being injured in an accident caused by poor road conditions or other hazards.
Bicycle Accident Statistics for Houston, Texas
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 2,547 pedalcycist crashes in 2019 statewide. Sixty-eight riders were killed and thousands of riders were injured in bicycle accidents that year. Bike Houston reports that over 300 bicycle accidents occurred in Houston each year from 2013 through 2018.
In the Houston area, 19 riders died in traffic accidents during 2018. Between 2009 and 2018, there were 160 bicyclist deaths in the Houston area. Cyclist deaths increased by 46% over that period. Of the 534 cyclist deaths during this time period, 27.5% of the deaths occurred in the Houston area.
Bicycle Infrastructure in Houston
Houston is a bicycle-friendly city. The city has invested in bicycle infrastructure that benefits riders and motorists. By designing and constructing a 345-mile interconnected bikeway network, the city has created a more efficient and safe way for bicyclists to travel throughout the city.
The bicycle network includes:
- Rails to trails
- Shared bicycle lanes
- Bicycle routes
- Bayou trails
- And other urban multi-use bicycle paths
In addition to the bicycle network that spans 500 square miles in Houston, there are also 80 miles of bike, hike, and nature trails throughout the City of Houston parks.
The Houston Bike Plan is on schedule to make the City of Houston a Gold Level Bike-Friendly City by 2027.
The bicycle plan calls for:
- Improving bicycle safety for all ages and abilities by providing education, improved facilities, and enforcement
- Increase access to a citywide network of bicycle facilities that connect schools, parks, neighborhoods, jobs, universities, activity centers, and libraries
- Increase ridership by implementing policies that encourage and enable more people to ride bicycles
- Develop and maintain a high-quality bicycle network that includes bikeways and end-of-trip facilities
You can access more information about the current bicycle infrastructure and the future plans here.
Sharing the Road – Bicycle Laws in Houston
Bicyclists share the roads with motor vehicles and pedestrians. Riders must follow all traffic laws and bicycle laws, including obeying traffic signs, bicycle helmet laws, and signaling when turning.
In addition to following Texas bicycle laws, riders in Houston must also obey bicycle laws set forth in the Houston Code of Ordinances. For example, there is not a state law against riding bicycles on sidewalks. However, riding a bicycle on sidewalks in the Houston business district is against the law.
Obeying traffic laws can reduce the risk of a bicycle accident. Unfortunately, bicyclists cannot predict the actions of drivers.
What Should You Do After a Bicycle Accident in Houston?
Call the police department to report the bicycle accident. Having an official accident report and investigation could help with your injury claim. If it is safe to do so, take pictures of the accident scene or make a video with your cell phone. However, do not endanger yourself or risk making your injuries worse.
Ask witnesses for their names and contact information. Eyewitness testimony can be the key piece of evidence that proves the driver was responsible for causing your injuries.
As soon as possible, see a doctor for a complete examination. Some bicycle accident injuries are evident at the accident scene. However, some injuries may not produce symptoms for several hours or days following the bicycle accident.
You need to document your injuries for a personal injury claim. Delays in your medical care could complicate your injury case. The insurance company may argue that the accident did not cause your injuries because you did not seek medical treatment for weeks after the crash.
The injuries caused by a bicycle accident can be severe. You deserve compensation for your injuries, medical costs, and missed time from work. You also deserve compensation for your non-economic damages.
Working directly with the insurance company for the other driver may not be in your best interest. Seeking legal advice as soon as possible can help you avoid making mistakes that could hurt your claim. Having legal counsel can also reduce the stress of dealing with an insurance claim so you can focus on healing from your injuries.