Austin Bike Paths, Trails & Lanes Safety Tips
There are more than 125 miles of bike paths and trails that intersect the beautiful city of Austin, which is not even counting the many miles of bike paths that run alongside roads and freeways. Not many other cities in Texas have paid this much attention to the needs of its local bicyclist community. If you want to ditch your expensive, carbon-unfriendly car and substitute it for a bicycle, or if you are just looking for a great way to exercise, then Austin is certainly the right place for you.
To name only a few of the longer or more popular biking paths and trails in Austin:
- Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail – 14.5 miles
- Brushy Creek Regional Trail – 10.4 miles
- Southern Walnut Creek Trail – 8.9 miles
- 183A Shared Use Path – 7.1 miles
- Gilleland Creek Trail – 6.5 miles
- Randy Morrow Trail – 5.5 miles
But before you head out on a bike path, trail, or lane in Austin, you should review some basic safety tips that every bicyclist should know. With a little precaution, you can make a big difference in preventing bicycle accidents.
Safety Tips for Bicycle Lanes
When you are using a bicycle lane, you can be at an increased risk of a bicycle accident due to your close proximity to vehicular traffic using the same road. Please use extra caution when using bike lanes, and keep in mind how you can improve your own safety with helpful tips.
Bicycle lane safety tips that every bicyclist should know include:
- Use turn signals: When using a bike lane that runs parallel to the road, be aware that you might still need to use turn signals when turning or changing lanes. Many bicyclists forget to use their turn signals – i.e., hand signals – to notify motorists of their intentions because they mistakenly think that a bike lane is entirely separate from the street.
- Be visible: Finding ways to increase your visibility when around motor vehicles is essential to your safety. Wear brightly colored clothing and apply reflectors on your bicycle. Be aware that you are probably difficult to see if you are using a bike lane that is divided from the main road by a parking lane.
- Pay attention at intersections: Many bicycle accidents happen at intersections, where bike lanes end or become more difficult to notice due to a lack of lane markings. Whenever you approach an intersection, you should be completely free from any distractions like listening to loud music.
Safety Tips for Bicycle Trails & Paths
Bicycle trails and paths can feel much safer than bicycle lanes because motor vehicles are prohibited from using them. However, without the right level of care, bicycle and pedestrian accidents can and still happen on bike trails around Austin.
Bicycle trail and path safety tips you should remember are:
- Pass safely: When sharing a bike path with other bicyclists and pedestrians, you should always pass on the left side if possible. You can also make your approach and intent known to others as you get nearer to them. Use a bicycle bell to catch their attention and announce that you are passing on the left, so they know not to make any sudden movements in that direction.
- Watch for kids and pets: Children and dogs are a common sight along many of Austin’s bike paths and trails. As fun as it is to take the whole family out for a midday hike, it can create an increased risk for a bicycle-pedestrian accident. When you notice children, pets, or even just walkers who might not be paying full attention to their surroundings, slow down and give them space.
- Choose the right bike: Not all bicycle paths and trails are smooth or cemented for a comfortable riding experience. Some paths in Austin consist of dirt, crushed stone, and other rugged forms of terrain. If you are not riding a bicycle meant for such paths, then your ride could be pretty bumpy and you could risk an accident due to losing control of your bike.
Injured in a Bike Accident? We Can Help
Howry, Breen & Herman, LLP is proud to be a legal ally to Austin’s bicycling community. If you are ever hurt in a bike accident along a path, trail, or lane, then know that our bicycle accident attorneys can help you explore your legal options and see if you can demand compensation from the party that caused your injuries. Dial (512) 430-4844 or contact us online today to learn more during a free consultation.