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As the weather warms up, more and more bicyclists are sharing the road with motorists. Because bicycles are vehicles, bicyclists must obey the same traffic laws as other drivers, this includes DWI laws.  Bicyclists usually ride on the right side of the lane, but are entitled to use the full lane.

North Carolina traffic laws require bicyclists to:

  • Ride on the right in the same direction as other traffic.
  • Obey all traffic signs and signals.
  • Use hand signals to communicate intended movements to vehicles, and clearly audible signals to any pedestrians who may be affected by the bicyclist's movements.
  • Yield the right-of-way to pedestrians; it is the bicyclist's responsibility to avoid a collision with a pedestrian.
  • Bicycling on the Interstate or fully controlled limited access highways, such as beltlines, is prohibited by policy, unless otherwise specified by action of the Board of Transportation.

More Rules of the Road on Sharing the Road:

Pass with Care. A bicyclist staying to the right in his/her lane is accommodating following drivers by making it easier to see when it is safe to pass, and easier to execute the pass. Drivers wishing to pass a bicyclist may do so only when there is abundant clearance and no oncoming traffic is in the opposing lane. When passing a bicyclist, always remember the bicyclist is entitled to use of the full lane.

Go with the Flow. It is especially important for bicyclists to go with the flow of traffic, NOT against the flow. Ride right, with the traffic, NOT facing traffic. Motorists often do not look in the direction of bicyclists riding the wrong way.

Be Visible. Visibility is important during both daylight hours and at night. During the daylight, avoid being obscured by other vehicles. At night, the law requires that a bicycle be equipped with a light on the front visible for a distance of at least 300 feet and a red light or reflector on the rear visible for a distance of at least 200 feet.

Bicyclists can be expected on all roads except where expressly prohibited. Bicycles are narrow and typically operate at the right of the lane, so they may be obscured and difficult to detect.

Stay Safe. The Child Bicycle Safety Act of 2001 requires all bicycle riders and passengers under age 16 to wear an approved protective bicycle helmet when riding on public roads, public paths, and public rights-of-way. Additionally, a passenger weighing less than 40 pounds or less than 40 inches in height must be seated in a bicycle child restraining seat or a bicycle trailer.

May is National Bike Month, but it's so much more than just 31 days. National Bike Month is a celebration of bikes. It's a reminder to get rolling again. It's a gateway to riding more often, health, and wellness. Whether you are the motorist sharing the road with the bicyclist - or the bicyclist sharing the road with the motorist - let's all get along and move along safely.

[Many thanks to and for the information incorporated in this blog.]

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John McCabe wrote "The Investigation and Analysis of Personal Injury Cases" in the best-selling book Personal Injury Practice in North Carolina. This is the book that other lawyers follow in handling personal injury cases.

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