Frequently Asked Questions
What follows are some of the frequently asked questions about Houston Bikeways and biking in general.
If there are further questions, please contact us.
Do I have to register my bike?
Bicycles no longer need to be registered with the City of Houston. However, we strongly advise you to record the serial number of your bicycle(s). In addition, taking photos of your bicycle(s) is also helpful. The information you provide is used by the Houston Police Department to locate your bicycle when lost or stolen.
Do I have to wear a helmet?
Children 17 and under must wear a helmet. We strongly recommend everyone wear a properly fitting and approved helmet. Studies show that when falls or accidents occur, helmets can prevent 85% of bicyclist head injuries. Helmets are cool.
Do I need to have lights on my bike?
State law requires that you have a front light and a rear reflector. A blinking red light is advisable.
Can I ride my bike on the sidewalk?
It is acceptable to ride on the sidewalk under certain conditions, except in a business zone. A business zone is the territory that includes the contiguous 600 ft. along the roadway where there are buildings in use for business or industrial purposes that occupy 300 feet collectively on both sides of the roadway. Remember that pedestrians have the right-of-way.
What About the left turn lane?
Bicyclists can use the left turn lane to make left turns. By obeying normal traffic laws and signaling their intentions, bicyclists can travel on the road as any other vehicle.
What happens when a bike lane ends?
What do I do when a bike lane ends and I have to keep going? Continue riding on following your intended route. Ride as far right as safe to do so. As vehicles, bicycles can travel on any roads where they are not restricted. Some examples of restricted roads are freeways, expressways, parkways, or other roadways as marked. Bicyclists must obey traffic laws and signal appropriately to notify other travelers of their intentions.
How should I pass another cyclist?
The same traffic rules apply. If you are a cyclist, check behind you to make sure no vehicles are on the left lane. Use your hand signals to let other vehicles know your intentions. When passing the other cyclist, you can use an audible signal such as a bell or voice signal to let the other cyclist know you are "Passing". This avoids surprises. If you are a motorist you will be traveling on a separate lane. Remember to be aware of bicyclists traveling on the bike lane, especially when making a right turn. Signal to let all vehicles know your intentions. Be aware that bicyclists may travel outside of the bike lane if necessary.
On a shared road? If you are a bicyclist, the same traffic rules hold true for passing bicycles or other vehicles on a shared road. If you are a motorist remember that the bicycle is a vehicle too and has the right to occupy the full lane under certain conditions. You must pass on the left lane following the normal traffic rules.
Shared roads are not striped. A bicyclist and motorist can travel on the same lane. The striped lane separates a motorist lane and a bicyclist lane. In both cases, a bicyclist can take the full traffic lane if road hazards or concerns warrant it.
What do I do at a 4-way stop?
Follow normal traffic laws and stop. Whether you are a bicyclist or motorist, the first vehicle to arrive at the intersection, on your right, has the right-of-way.
Do bikeways help air quality?
One way is by providing opportunities for people to bicycle and walk. Another way is as a transportation control measure in the State Implementation Plan. This plan is how the ozone non-attainment region plans to meet healthful air quality standards. The Houston Bikeway Program is on target with meeting committed bikeway miles.