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Bicycle Laws in North Carolina

child learning to ride a bicycleNow that the weather is warming up, you may be thinking of pulling the bicycles out for you and your family. If you plan on riding through your neighborhood or down city streets, there are laws that you should be aware of. According to traffic laws in North Carolina, bicyclists must:

  • Ride in the same direction as vehicular traffic (on the right side of the road).
  • Obey the same traffic signals and signs as those who are driving vehicles.
  • Use hand signals to tell others of your intentions.
  • Use audible alerts to signal to pedestrians.
  • When riding at night, your bicycle must have a headlight that is visible from a minimum of 300 feet. Your bike must also have a rear reflector that people can see from a minimum distance of 200 feet.
  • Anyone 15 years old or younger who is operating a bicycle must wear a helmet while riding on public rights-of-way, public roads, and public paths.
  • Any child under 40 inches or 40 pounds who is riding as a passenger must be secured in a bicycle trailer or child seat.
  • You are prohibited from riding on public highways unless permission is otherwise granted from the Board of Transportation.

While these laws are in effect across the state, there are laws that are local. There are also actions for which there are no laws or legislation is pending. Such issues include:

  • Riding single file when in a group. Although there is no law dictating how your group spaces itself, it is always a good idea to air on the side of caution and ride in a single-file line. This allows cars to move around you safely.
  • Wearing headphones while riding. There is no law saying you can’t do this, but it is rarely a safe idea. If you do wear headphones, keep the volume low enough so you can hear traffic.
  • Riding on the sidewalk. There’s nothing that says you can’t ride on the sidewalk but it can be dangerous. If you choose to ride on any sidewalk, be aware of the pedestrians around you and ride safely.

Do be aware that, in North Carolina, a bicycle is considered a vehicle. If you are ever in doubt as to how to ride your bike in a legal manner, pretend like you are in your car and follow the same laws.

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, call our offices. Our personal injury attorneys are here to help you. Call now.

Posted In: Bicycle Accidents, Safety Tips
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