Sharing the Road - Rights & Responsibilities

I recently reviewed Chatham County's proposed Bicycle Transportation Plan.  I'll share a small excerpt:

"In North Carolina, the bicycle has the legal status of a vehicle.  This means that bicyclists have full rights and responsibilities on the roadway and are subject to the regulations governing the operation of a motor vehicle.  NC traffic laws require bicyclist 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
  • Equip their bicycles with a front lamp visible from 300 feet and a rear reflector that is visible from a distance of 200 feet when riding at night.  
  • Wear a bicycle helmet on public roads, public paths and public rights of way if the bicyclist is under 16 years old.  

"Laws pertaining to the operation of a bicycle vary from state to state. Below are three issues of bicycling that North Carolina law currently does not clarify.
  • Bicycling on Interstate or fully controlled limited access highways, such as beltlines, is prohibited by policy, unless otherwise specified by action of the Board of Transportation. Currently, the only exception to the policy is the US 17 bridge over the Chowan River between Chowan and Bertie Counties.
  • There is no law that requires bicyclists to ride single file, nor is there a law that gives cyclists the right to ride two or more abreast. It is important to ride responsibly and courteously, so that cars may pass safely.
  • There is no law that prohibits wearing headphones when riding a bicycle; however, it is not recommended. It is important to use all your senses to ensure your safety when riding in traffic."
Source: NCDOT,

Luckily, Pittsboro hasn't had any reported car-bike crashes since 2001, when there were 2 incidents.  No accidents were reported to police in the 4 years prior to 2001.  Common courtesy and common sense go a long way towards making our roads safer for all. Even though the law doesn't require it for cyclists over 16, wearing a safety helmet is always a good idea.  


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