Pedestrians and cyclists are routinely the victims of traffic accidents in Texas, and while sometimes it is due to their own negligence, very often it is also due to the recklessness or negligence of drivers. Because non-drivers are at such a relative disadvantage on the road, many cities in Texas have enacted what are called vulnerable road user (VRU) ordinances, designed to safeguard those who might otherwise wind up with medical bills they can ill afford to pay.
Power Imbalances on the Road
Most jurisdictions define vulnerable road users as exactly that - people on the road that have less protection (usually physical, but also sometimes legal) such as pedestrians and bicyclists. The term can also be defined by age group or physical characteristics - young children and the elderly are often placed in the VRU category. Contrary to popular belief, there is no requirement that a VRU be classed as a pedestrian, as opposed to a vehicle - bicycles and motorcycles are considered vehicles under Texas law, and they are covered by many VRU ordinances.
Because drivers of cars and trucks are better protected and will often have more time to react in the event of a crash, VRU ordinances have begun to be passed in many major cities - in Texas, the first to appear were in Houston and Austin, although Midland, San Antonio, and Dallas have all either passed provisional bills or are in the process of doing so. As of this writing, five states have passed VRU ordinances, but Texas is not yet one of them, so the city ordinances provide important, if patchy, protection....