Laredo, TX has a lot of bicycle accidents and very little cycling infrastructure. But the city has a 20-year plan to improve safety, access, and overall bicycle friendliness. At the end of the plan, Laredo should have over 130 miles of bikeways, including connected bike lanes and multi-use trails.
In the meantime, cyclists must exercise caution because of the dangerous environment created by the lack of infrastructure. Bicycle accidents will continue to injure and kill cyclists, imposing a high cost on both the physical and financial health of injured riders.
Laredo Bicycle Accident Statistics
Laredo has about 0.8% of the state’s bicycle accidents and roughly 0.8% of Texas’s population. Therefore, Laredo is not any more dangerous for cyclists than anywhere else in Texas.
However, this does not mean Laredo is safe for bicyclists. Texas has a fairly high bicycle fatality rate of 2.2 deaths per 100,000 residents over the past ten years. For comparison, the safest state in the country, Nebraska, has a fatality rate of 0.77 deaths per 100,000 residents. Laredo falls in the middle, with 1.6 deaths per 100,000 residents.
While Laredo has bike accident statistics typical for Texas, compared to other metropolitan areas, it falls among the more dangerous cities for cyclists.
Bike Crash Outcomes
According to CRIS, 15 people were injured or killed in Laredo bike crashes in 2022. Seven cyclists walked away from their crashes unharmed. This gave Laredo a 68% bicycle injury rate that year.
Of those injured in Laredo bike accidents in 2022:
- One suffered a fatal injury
- Three had serious injuries that incapacitated the cyclist
- Seven had visible injuries that were non-incapacitating
- Four had possible injuries that caused pain or other symptoms but were not visible
These numbers are the lowest in the past ten years. At their peak in 2017, 34 cyclists were killed or injured, more than double the number for 2022.
Dangerous Times to Bicycle in Laredo, TX
According to CRIS, bicycle crashes are fairly evenly distributed throughout the week, with one exception. Sundays see a drastic drop in bicycle accidents. Sunday has roughly half the number of crashes compared to the peak on Friday.
The most dangerous time of day for cyclists falls between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Unlike many cities, the number of bicycle crashes in Laredo does not slowly grow throughout the afternoon to peak during the afternoon commute. Instead, Laredo’s crashes suddenly jumped 68% during the 4 p.m. hour to the peak during the 5 p.m. hour.
Bike crashes generally increase during the spring and decrease over the summer. The one outlier happens during October. Crashes spike in October even though the number of crashes generally trends downward from May to December.
Causes of Laredo Bicycle Accidents
The most common cause of bike accidents occurs when drivers fail to yield the right of way to cyclists.
This traffic violation can happen in a few situations, such as when drivers:
- Turn left across the path of an oncoming bicycle
- Make a right turn into a cyclist riding on the right shoulder or bike lane
- Proceed through an occupied crosswalk
- Go out of turn at a four-way or two-way stop
The next most common cause of bike crashes is distracted driving. Drivers often have difficulty spotting cyclists on the road. When you add in a distraction, such as texting, eating, or talking, drivers might not spot cyclists until after they hit them.
The third most common cause of bicycle accidents is speeding. Drivers who speed cannot stop in time to avoid a collision with a bike. Speeding also increases the chances that a driver will lose control of their vehicle.
A speeding driver is more likely to overcorrect, run red lights, and try to beat cyclists through an intersection instead of yielding.
Common Locations of Bike Crashes in Laredo, Texas
Bike crashes in Laredo are scattered across the city.
Some hotspots for bicycle crashes include:
- McPherson Rd. in the Del Mar Hills neighborhood
- Clark Blvd.
- Saunders St.
- Hidalgo St. and Lincoln St. in downtown Laredo
Bicycle accidents tend to cluster in locations with heavy traffic and few pedestrian crossings.
Bike Infrastructure in Laredo
Laredo has very little bicycle infrastructure. The city currently has roughly 20 miles of bike lanes. But these lanes do not connect to each other. As a result, cyclists cannot ride from one point to another strictly using roads with bikeways, and cyclists must ride on roads not designed with any bike facilities.
But Laredo has a plan to expand its bikeway network. In a plan approved in 2021, Laredo will have 70 miles of bikeways by 2031. By 2041, Laredo should have 125 miles of bikeways. The city plans to focus on connecting existing bikeways as well as adding new ones.
The city has three multi-use paths that prohibit motor vehicle traffic. But these trails were designed for recreational use rather than commuting. If you want to take a recreational ride around a park or along the Rio Grande, you can probably find a trail to ride in Laredo. If you want to use a trail to ride to work, you likely will not find one.
Laredo offers a solution to its disconnected and sparse bicycle infrastructure. El Metro’s transit buses include bike racks mounted on them. You can put your bike on the rack and ride the bus on lone trips or to reach bike lanes and multi-use paths. The transit system also has bike racks at bus stops so you can leave your bike while you ride.
Riding Your Bicycle Safely in Laredo, Texas
When you ride your bike in Laredo, try to plan a route that uses the bike lanes. But since the city does not have a linked network of bike lanes, planning a trip using only bike lanes might be impossible. As a result, you may want to ride on sidewalks or use El Metro buses in more congested areas. And always wear a helmet.
If you take a few precautions and plan your route, you can ride your bike safely in Laredo.