Bicycle Laws And Guidelines For Riding In Nc

Laws and guidelines for riding bicycles in North Carolina, Charlotte Traffic Accident and Personal Injury Attorneys, Baker Billick, P.A. Charlotte, NC call: 704-706-9308

Bicyclists are killed in North Carolina every year-sometimes, at least partially, because they were neglecting to follow the law or observe safe practices. In February, an Elizabeth City man was killed by a pickup truck. He was riding his bike towards the center of the road, dressed in dark clothing, and wearing no reflective materials. Last month, an individual from Brunswick County was hit by a car and passed away when the bicyclist drifted towards the center of the road. The cyclist was not wearing a helmet and had no reflective gear.

Did you know that in North Carolina, the bicycle has the same legal status as a vehicle? While the law grants certain rights to bicyclists, it also places a number of responsibilities on their shoulders. Bicyclists must obey all laws that apply to vehicles "except those which by their nature can have no application" to bikes. These include:

  • Riding on the right of the road, going the same direction as the other traffic
  • Obeying all traffic signs and light signals
  • Furnishing their bicycles with a working front light that is visible from 300 feet and a reflector on the back visible from 200 feet (when riding during the nighttime)
  • For cyclists under the age of 16-wearing an approved bicycle helmet on public roads, paths, and rights-of-way
  • For child passengers under 40 pounds or 40 inches-securing children passengers in an appropriate child seat or trailer
  • Not riding a bicycle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol

The law also has a few grey areas. For instance, there is no prohibition against wearing headphones while bicycling, but this is generally discouraged and considered an unsafe practice. The law also does not bar bicyclists from riding side-by-side, nor does it mandate single-file cycling. Instead, you should use your common sense when bicycling in a group and allow cars the space to pass safely. North Carolina state law defers to local jurisdictions on the issue of whether cyclists can ride on sidewalks.

If you would like to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney, please call our Concord, NC office today.

This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered or substituted as legal advice.