bike1sharrowIt’s as easy as riding a bike. You’ve heard this phrase more times than you could count, right? Well, the physical part of getting on a bike and riding it may be very simple, but getting on the road as a bicyclist is a different story. If you are going to be a bike rider on the public streets, you should follow all of the rules and guidelines below.

Riding a Bike

First of all, there are a few quick hints for a bicyclist to follow when using public streets.

1. A bicyclist should always obey all traffic laws, signs, and signals.
2. Never ride opposite the flow of traffic.
3. Stop at all stop signs and stop at red lights.
4. A person operating a bicycle on a one-way road with two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near as possible to the left curb or edge of the road.
5. Individuals who are riding two abreast shall not impede the normal reasonable flow of traffic on the road. Individuals riding two abreast on a “laned” road must ride in a single lane.
6. Bicyclists may ride on the shoulder of the road.

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That all sounds fairly easy but there is a lot more to know and understand as a bicyclist. Keep reading and try to remember all of these rules you need to obey while riding on a public road.

1. Bicyclists may signal a right turn using either their left arm pointing up or their right arm pointed horizontally.
2. A person operating a bicycle on a road moving slower than the other traffic shall ride as near as possible to the right curb or edge of the road unless:
a. The person is overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
b. The person is preparing for a left turn at an intersection or onto a private road or driveway;
c. There are unsafe conditions in the road such as fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, pedestrians, animals, potholes, or debris; or
d. The person operating a bicycle in an outside lane that is less than 14 feet in width and doesn’t have a designated bicycle lane adjacent to that lane; or
e. The lane is too narrow for a bicycle and a motor vehicle to safely travel side by side.

Those are a little complicated. The bottom line on the last one is to try to safely drive your bike when going slower than traffic. Use your common sense and try to remember the rules you just read.

Now some people learn better by telling them what not to do. So for those, let’s give you a quick list.

1. No bicycle shall be used to carry more than the number of individuals it is designated or equipped for.

2. No person riding a bike shall attach the same or himself to a streetcar or vehicle upon a road.

3. No person operating a bicycle shall carry any package, bundle, or article which prevents him/her from keeping at least one hand on the handlebars.

4. Do not ride on a seat unless it is a permanent or regular seat.

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In many cities you will notice that bicyclist have their own lane. These are called Bike Lanes. In many other cities there are lane markings referred to as “Sharrows”. According to the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia,
the “bike lane” is for the use of bicycles only and the “Sharrow” does not mean bicycles have to be in the left lane. It is just a reminder to drivers to watch for bicyclists. Both cars and drivers can and should use both lanes.

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And finally, let’s talk about what equipment every bicycle should have when operating on a public road.

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1. Every bicycle shall be equipped with a brake that will enable the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement.
2. Hearing-impaired bicycle riders may display a safety flag.Flag
3. Every bicycle in use at nighttime should be equipped with:
a. •A lamp on the front which emits a white light visible at a distance of at least 500 feet to the front of the bicycle;

b. •A red, DPS-approved reflector on the rear must be visible from distances of 50 feet to 300 feet. (A red light on the rear visible from a distance of 500 feet may be used in addition to the red reflector.)

So now when someone says, it’s as easy as riding a bike, you can counter with the argument that riding a bike may be the most complex thing one can do, if they plan to ride safely.

Though Thanksgiving 2013 is already in the books, the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s holidays will see a spike in travel around the State of Texas. The reality is that most have family scattered across the state (and country), and the Holiday Season is intended to be spent with loved ones. How do you avoid all of the hassle and stress associated with travelling in a confined space for such a period of time? We are all different, especially when it comes to road travel, but here are a few tips that should help you retain sanity throughout the remainder of the year.

  1. Be sure to leave early – Congestion on Texas highways and interstates will reach maximum capacity around this time, so to save yourself (and your family) the headache of car horns and obscene gestures by allotting 20-30 minutes more than you had initially planned.
  2. Know your route – The advent of GPS devices have been a great resource for drivers, but not all are exactly spot on with directions. Before you pack in the car to head to your destination, make certain that you have the safest, least time consuming route.
  3. Stay off your phone – Though possibly the most obvious, when you are driving refrain from using your phone. If you must use your phone for directional purposes, allow your co-pilot to serve in this function.
  4. Stay alert – Road conditions can vary regionally, so be sure to keep up with your inclement weather updates. When driving, also be aware of other motorists and obstacles.
  5. Don’t get too stressed – The kids are in the back seat asking “Are we there yet?” Traffic is bumper-to-bumper, and you are running late. This is going to be typical, but don’t let the stress ruin your day – it makes for poor driving.
  6. Make your ride enjoyable – Play “I Spy,” listen to some holiday music, stop at a coffee stand for hot cocoa – whatever the case, it will make the ride must more pleasant.

These are simply a few of the ways to stay safe while travelling over the Holiday Season. Perhaps most importantly, though, is to NEVER get behind the wheel after you have had too much alcohol (obviously). We can guarantee that if you follow these precautions, you’re road trip will run along smoothly. We cannot guarantee that grandpa will stay awake through dessert, however.

If you’ve just passed your permit or driver’s license test, the next step will be to buy a car. Though some teenagers are lucky enough to receive new cars..

Regular traffic laws that apply in most, if not all, states are well known. But did you know, there are some driving laws of cities and states that are completely bizarre? It is sometimes hard to find the reasoning for these unusual driving laws, but they do exist. Take a look at some of the weirdest driving laws in the United States.

Common Sense

Common sense is a main function in developing driving laws. Turn Right and use right turn signal. Stop at the stop sign. Still, with using common sense, there are some unusual driving laws in effect. Laws usually come into existence out of necessity. It’s hard to imagine what happened to cause these laws to exist:

  • In Alaska, it is illegal to tether a dog to the roof of a car.
  • In Chico, California, just to add insult to injury, it is illegal to jump out of a car that is moving at 65 mph.
  • In Dublin, Georgia, it is illegal to drive through playgrounds.
  • Finally, in Alabama, it is illegal to drive while blindfolded. Seriously, why does this need to be a law?

Inexplicable Laws

While the laws above seem unnecessary because of common sense, why these laws exist is simply unexplainable. Hopefully you’ll never be in these situations:

  • In Arkansas, after 9 p.m., it is illegal to honk your horn where ice cold beverages or sandwiches are served. The sandwich industry must be influential in Arkansas politics.
  • In Texas, registering a car without windshield wipers is illegal; but a car without a windshield is acceptable. What purpose would wipers serve without a windshield?
  • In New Jersey, it is illegal to hang anything from your rearview mirror, including air fresheners. How are drivers supposed to get that “new car smell?”

America, the Land of the Unusual Driving Laws

Whether they seem unnecessary or strange, the crazy driving laws don’t stop there. With all the cities and towns in America, there are bound to be unusual traffic laws throughout the country. If you’re visiting another state, try not to break any of the strange laws in effect there.

Texas law requires that drivers have automobile coverage to pay for any property damage or injury to others resulting from an accident that they have caused. The first offense for driving without insurance can result in a court fine of between $175 and $350, and subsequent offenses can result in court fines up to $1,000.

Additionally, if you are convicted of driving without insurance, you may have to pay an annual surcharge of $250 to the Texas DPS to maintain your possession of your driver’s license. This will remain in effect for three years, meaning that the first offense could ultimately cost you more than $1,000.

The insurance company will provide you with a card that operates as your “proof of insurance” at the beginning of each policy term. This will be necessary to possess when you:

  • Are asked by a police officer to procure it
  • Obtain or renew your driver’s license
  • Have an accident
  • Have a vehicle inspected during an annual required state safety inspection
  • Register the title to your car or renew its registration

Texas law further requires that you have the basic minimum coverage of $30,000 per injured person, up to $60,000 for everyone hurt in the accident, and $25,000 for property damage. This coverage is often referred to as “30/60/25,” but please acknowledge that this may not be enough if you are held wholly liable for the accident. With this is mind, it may prove more beneficial for you to increase your coverage limits; the higher your limits, the more your premium is.

It is very important to know that basic liability coverage pays for damages and injuries you cause to other people, and will not repair or replace your car. “Comprehensive” coverage will aide you to repair or replace your car if it’s stolen or damaged by hail, fire, road debris, vandalism, or other similar covered risks. You may also wish to add “Personal Injury Protection (PIP),” which will pay for your expenses from an accident caused by an uninsured motorist.

Obviously, automobile insurance is highly important to operate a vehicle in the State of Texas, so if you aren’t insured, you should go out and get some today!