Rules of the Road

Safety Tips


  • Ride in the same direction as other traffic. Bicycles must be driven like other vehicles.
  • Stop at stop signs and red lights. Cyclists must obey signs and traffic signals.
  • Leave a cushion of about 3 feet between yourself and the curb. "Near the curb" is subjective but the law gives a cyclist the right to take the lane when necessary for safety.
  • Always use hand signals. Tell motorists what you intend to do and point in the direction of your turn.
  • Turn left, as a motorist. Signal, move to the left lane, and turn left when signaled or clear at the stop sign.
  • Be seen. Equip your bike with a white front light and a red rear light or red reflector.
  • Respect pedestrians. When passing a pedestrian from behind, give audible warning and pass with care.

Rules of the Road


Section 545.107. Method of Giving Hand and Arm Signals


An operator who is permitted to give a hand and arm signal shall give the signal from the left side of the vehicle as follows:
  • To make a left turn signal, extend hand and arm horizontally;
  • To make a right turn signal, extend hand and arm upward, except that a bicycle operator may signal from the right side of the vehicle with the hand and arm extended horizontally; and
  • To stop or decrease speed, extend hand and arm downward.

Section 551.101. Rights & Duties


  • A person operating a bicycle has the rights and duties applicable to a driver operating a vehicle under this subtitle, unless:
    • A provision of this chapter alters a right or duty; or
    • A right or duty applicable to a driver operating a vehicle cannot by its nature apply to a person operating a bicycle
  • A parent of a child or a guardian of a ward may not knowingly permit the child or ward to violate this subtitle.

Section 551.102. General Operation


  • A person operating a bicycle shall ride only on or astride a permanent and regular seat attached to the bicycle.
  • A person may not use a bicycle to carry more persons than the bicycle is designed or equipped to carry.
  • A person operating a bicycle may not use the bicycle to carry an object that prevents the person from operating the bicycle with at least one hand on the handlebars of the bicycle.
  • A person operating a bicycle, coaster, sled, or toy vehicle or using roller skates may not attach either the person or the bicycle, coaster, sled, toy vehicle or roller skates to a streetcar or vehicle on a roadway.

Section 551.103. Operation on Roadway


  • Except as provided by Subsection (b), a person operating a bicycle on a roadway who is moving slower than the other traffic on the roadway shall ride as near as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway, unless:
    • The person is passing another vehicle moving in the same direction
    • The person is preparing to turn left at an intersection or onto a private road or driveway;
    • A condition on or of the roadway, including a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, pedestrian, animal, or surface hazard prevents the person from safely riding next to the right curb or edge of the roadway; or
    • The person is operating a bicycle in an outside lane that is:
    • Less than 14 feet in width and does not have a designated bicycle lane adjacent to that lane; or
    • Too narrow for a bicycle and a motor vehicle to safely travel side by side
  • A person operating a bicycle on a one-way roadway with two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near as practicable to the left curb or edge of the roadway.
  • Persons operating bicycles on a roadway may ride two abreast. Persons riding two abreast on a laned roadway shall ride in a single lane. Persons riding two abreast may not impede the normal and reasonable flow of traffic on the roadway. Persons may not ride more than two abreast unless they are riding on a part of a roadway set aside for the exclusive operation of bicycles.
  • Repeated by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1085, §13, eff. September 1, 2001.
  • Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, § 1, eff. September 1, 1995.
  • Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1085, §§10, 13, eff. September 1, 2001.

Section 551.104. Safety Equipment


  • A person may not operate a bicycle unless the bicycle is equipped with a brake capable of making a braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement.
  • A person may not operate a bicycle at nighttime unless the bicycle is equipped with:
    • A lamp on the front of the bicycle that emits a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet in front of the bicycle; and
    • On the rear of the bicycle:
      • A red reflector that is:
        • Of a type approved by the department; and
        • Visible when directly in front of lawful upper beams of motor vehicle headlamps from all distances from 50 to 300 feet to the rear of the bicycle; or
    • Lamp that emits a red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear of the bicycle
    • In addition to the reflector required by Subsection (b), a person operating a bicycle at nighttime may use a lamp on the rear of the bicycle that emits a red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear of the bicycle.

Section 551.105. Competitive Racing


  • In this section, "bicycle" means a non-motorized vehicle propelled by human power.
  • A sponsoring organization may hold a competitive bicycle race on a public road only with the approval of the appropriate local law enforcement agencies.
  • The local law enforcement agencies and the sponsoring organization may agree on safety regulations governing the movement of bicycles during a competitive race or during training for a competitive race, including the permission for bicycle operators to ride abreast.

Brownsville Bike Related Laws


A. Sidewalk Requirements Ordinance #2011-1600


Introduced and passed on December 13, 2011.

An amendment to the City Code of ordinances was made on December 13, 2011 to replace the standards for sidewalks in the City of Brownsville. The amendment changed the sidewalk requirements expanding the width to 7.5 feet in the downtown area and 4 feet adjacent and parallel to other properties.

B. Safe Passing Ordinance #2010-1562


Introduced on October 8, 2012, and passed on October 16, 2012.

This amendment to the City Code of Ordinances was first introduced to City Commission on October 8, 2012. This amendment adopts a means to provide vulnerable road users protection from motorists to further develop the City's goals of a bicycle-and-pedestrian-friendly community. The ordinance provides a definition of a vulnerable road user with includes a pedestrian, a person on horseback, and a person operating equipment other than a motor vehicle such as a bicycle. Furthermore, the Ordinance states that the motor vehicle shall pass the vulnerable road user from a safe distance while also observing a decelerated speed. Similarly, the operator of the motor vehicle must also yield the right-of-way to a vulnerable road user.

C. Bike Parking Ordinance #2013-235.82


Introduced in December 10, 2013, and passed on January 7, 2014

In response to the growing influx of bicyclists and bike-related businesses, the City of Brownsville created an ordinance for bicycle specified parking. To boost the transportation through bicycling, the City adopted the Bicycle and Trail Master Plan which outlines the implemented and future plans for a series of bike trails. By creating bicycle parking requirements, the City verifies the availability of safe and convenient bicycle parking. As such, bicycle parking spaces are required in the City of Brownsville for all new development and major renovations in the city. Identified in Ordinance 2013-235.82, the number of bicycle spaces is dependent on the general use structure such as a commercial, civic, residential or industrial space. Also within the Ordinance are the standards for bicycle parking spaces. Provisions such as well-lit areas for parking a bicycle, accessibility, location, clearly marked spaces from the entrance of a building, and signage should be observed.

D. Complete Streets Resolution #2012-056


Adopted on October 2, 2012.

This resolution was created to allow the City to incorporate Complete Streets approaches as a way to address a wide variety of societal challenges, including pollution, climate change, traffic congestion, social isolation, obesity, physical inactivity, limited recreational opportunities, sprawl, population growth, and safety. It also reinforces the importance of creating a comprehensive, integrated transportation network that enables safe travel by all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vulnerable road users.

E. NACTO Guidelines Resolution


Adopted on May 20, 2014.

This resolution was created in response to the Bicycle and Trail Master Plan. This resolution states that the City of Brownsville accepts NACTO (National Association of City Transportation Officials) Urban Streets Design Guide and Urban Bikeway Design guide as a resource for guidance on the development of bicycle facilities. This guide will improve the City transportation network.
Cyclists Waiting to Make a Left Turn
Bike Lane on McAllen Road
Children Wearing High Visibility Vests on Bike Path
Raul Alcala Challenge Event
Ladies Ride, Posing at Brownsville Museum of Fine Art
Brownsville Bike Barn
Young Child Learning Rules of the Road