City of Houston Bicycle Ordinance

Source: Houston, Texas Code of Ordinances

Houston, Texas, Code of Ordinances,

Chapter 45 – Traffic, Article XII. – Bicycles

Sec. 45-301.  Authority to prohibit riding on roadways.

The traffic engineer is authorized to erect signs on any roadway prohibiting the riding of bicycles thereon and, when such signs are in place, no person shall disobey the same.

Sec. 45-302.  Riding on sidewalks.

(a)   No person shall ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk within a business district.
(b)   The traffic engineer is authorized to erect signs on any sidewalk outside a business district prohibiting the riding of bicycles thereon by any person and, when such signs are in place, no person shall disobey the same.
(c)   Whenever any person is riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk, such person shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give audible signal before overtaking and passing any pedestrian.
(Code 1968, § 46-285)

Sec. 45-325.  Definitions.

In this division the following words and terms shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, unless the context of their usage clearly indicates another meaning:

Child means any person under 18 years of age.

Dealer means any commercial establishment that sells or leases new or used bicycles, whether as its principal business activity or in connection with the selling or leasing of other merchandise, from a place of business within the city.

Fund means the bicycle helmet fund created under section 45-329 of this Code.

Helmet means a properly fitted bicycle helmet that is not structurally damaged and that conformed to the standards of the American National Standards Institute, the American Society for Testing and Materials, the Snell Memorial Foundation or any federal agency having regulatory jurisdiction over bicycle helmets, as applicable, at the time of the manufacture of the helmet.

Parent means the natural or adoptive parent or court-appointed guardian or conservator of a child.
Public way means any property that is publicly owned or maintained, including, but not limited to, a “street or highway” as defined in section 45-2 of this Code, a publicly maintained trail, and any public parks facility.

Wearing a helmet means that the person has a helmet fastened securely to his head with the straps of the helmet securely tightened.(Ord. No. 95-813, § 1, 7-12-95)

Sec. 45-326.  Helmet required.

(a)   It is unlawful for any child to operate or ride upon a bicycle or any side car, trailer, child carrier, seat or other device attached to a bicycle unless the child is wearing a helmet.
(b)   It is unlawful for a parent to suffer or permit a child under 14 years of age to operate or ride upon a bicycle or any side car, trailer, carrier, seat or other device attached to a bicycle unless the child is wearing a helmet.
(c)   It is a defense to prosecution that the bicycle was not being operated upon a public way at the time of the alleged offense.
(d)   It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section, upon first offense only, that the person owns or has acquired a helmet prior to the court hearing and promises the court that the helmet will be used in the future.
(Ord. No. 95-813, § 1, 7-12-95)

Sec. 45-327.  Sale or lease of bicycles by dealers.

(a)   It shall be unlawful for any dealer to sell a bicycle, bicycle side car, trailer or child carrier without providing a written statement to the purchaser advising of the terms of this division. The statement shall be in a form promulgated by the chief of police. Upon request, the chief of police shall provide a sample of the required form to a dealer. However, printing of distribution copies shall be at the dealer’s expense.
(b)   It shall be unlawful for any dealer to lease a bicycle to any person without providing a helmet for the use of each child who will operate or ride upon the bicycle or determining that each child who will operate or ride upon the bicycle has a helmet available. The dealer may impose an additional fee for use of the helmet if the dealer sells or leases a helmet to the bicycle lessee.

(Ord. No. 95-813, § 1, 7-12-95)

Sec. 45-328.  Penalty.

(a)   Any person who violates any provision of this division shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined an amount not exceeding $50.00 upon first conviction and an amount not exceeding $100.00 upon the second and each subsequent conviction.
(b)   The purpose of this division is to encourage the use of helmets. In keeping with that purpose, the municipal courts are urged to consider deferred dispositions under article 45.54 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure whenever the circumstances warrant deferred dispositions. Conditions of the deferral may include that the defendant, if financially able, has obtained a helmet and has agreed to make a contribution in support of the fund.
(Ord. No. 95-813, § 1, 7-12-95)

Sec. 45-329.  Bicycle helmet fund.

(a)   The bicycle helmet fund is hereby created. The fund shall accept donations of helmets and money to be used for the purchase of helmets. All monetary gifts to the fund shall constitute a trust that shall be deposited in the city’s trust and agency account, which may be invested as provided in chapter 104 of the Texas Local Government Code.
(b)   The fund shall be used exclusively for the purpose of providing bicycle helmets for the use of members of “very low income families” as defined in 24 Code of Federal Regulations, section 813.102, as computed for the city for purposes of section 8 of the United States Housing Act of 1937. The directors of the parks and recreation department and the health and human services department shall jointly administer the fund and shall promulgate rules and procedures for the distribution of helmets. Helmets shall be provided on a first-come-first-served basis to the extent of available supply.
(Ord. No. 95-813, § 1, 7-12-95)