Most municipal ordinances in our region related to bicycle and pedestrian transportation reference the State Transportation Code. The following ordinances are a sample of local laws passed by municipalities within the North Central Texas region, organized by topic.
There is no state law requiring bicyclists to wear a helmet. However, various local governments may have specific requirements. Check with your local community to find out the rules where you ride.
Bicycle Parking Ordinances and Regulations
Local laws can encourage bicycling by making bike parking more widely available. New developments of a certain size constructed in the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth are required to provide parking for bicycles. In addition, cities such as Denton have guidelines encouraging the location and placement of bicycle parking accommodations.
Learn about how to draft an ordinance for bicycle parking.
Dallas: The applicability, general provisions, spaces required, location and design, and waivers for bicycle parking. (Chapter 51A, Article IV, Division 51A-4.330. Bicycle Parking Regulations)
Denton: Development applications do not require the provision of bicycle parking; however, guidelines are provided and encouraged by the City of Denton. (Subchapter 14, 35.14.7. Limitations, Location, Use of Facilities)
Fort Worth: Instructions on where, how many, and what design bicycle parking are required at developments. (Chapter 6, Article 2, Sec.6.204. Bicycle Parking)
Frisco: Regulations established for bicycle parking. (Ordinance No. 16-05-42, Subsection 4.04.12, Bicycle Parking, and Subsection 7.01, Terms and Words Defined)
Bicycling and Walking on Freeways
In addition to the Texas Transportation Commission, municipalities may prohibit the use of bicycling and walking on freeways within their jurisdiction.
Clinging to Motor Vehicles
Dockless Vehicles (Bicycles and Electric Scooters)
Dockless bicycles and electric scooters are operated by private companies in the public right of way. The bicycles are inexpensive to rent, they are not returned to docking stations, and they are tracked and used with GPS and Bluetooth technology. Because of this, municipalities around the region have crafted regulatory ordinances to ensure safe parking and fair operation within city boundaries and special districts, and include data sharing requirements.
Dallas: The City of Dallas’ Dockless Vehicle Ordinance and Permit Application identify the requirements for companies to obtain a permit to operate.
Denton: The City of Denton's ordinance includes a pilot program and permit requirement to operate within the city.
Plano: The City of Plano’s ordinance establishes a pilot program to award permits to bike share companies that meet the requirements.
Town of Highland Park: The Town of Highland Park’s ordinance has prohibited dockless bicycles from being parked within the city limits. (Chapter 12, Article 12.09, Sec. 12.09.007 Parking)
Guidance and Case Studies
The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) developed Guidelines for the Regulation and Management of Shares Active Transportation.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently published a new case study in its livability series highlighting how Seattle adopted dockless bike share and the manner in which the city successfully leveraged innovation in the private sector to improve mobility in the city.
Protecting Vulnerable Road Users
Bicyclists and pedestrians are inherently more vulnerable to injury than drivers of motor vehicles. Several local communities have ordinances to hold accountable reckless and negligent motorists who injure or kill a bicyclist or pedestrian.
Dallas: This law requires a motor vehicle shall pass a vulnerable road user at a safe distance (three feet if the operator’s vehicle is a passenger car, six feet if the operator’s vehicle is a truck or commercial motor vehicle). An operator or passenger of a motor vehicle may not throw any object at a vulnerable road user. An operator of a motor vehicle commits an offense if they overtake a vulnerable road user traveling in the same direction and subsequently makes a right-hand turn in front of the vulnerable road user unless the operator is safely clear of the vulnerable road user. (Chapter 28, Article VI, Sec. 28-58.2. Protection of Vulnerable Road Users)
Fort Worth: The same guidelines as Dallas, adding: An operator of a motor vehicle may not maneuver the vehicle in a manner that is intended to cause intimidation or harassment to a vulnerable road user. (Chapter 22, Article 3, Sec. 22-95. Safe Passing of Vulnerable Road Users )
The League of American Bicyclists provides information and model legislation on protecting vulnerable road users, including a model Safe Passing Law.
Riding on Sidewalks
There is no state law prohibiting riding a bicycle on sidewalks. However, various local governments prohibit bicycling on sidewalks in specific areas such as a central business district.