02

Blog

North Carolina Bike Laws

NORTH CAROLINA BICYCLE LAWS

It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in North Carolina. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here).

For any questions about the State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact attorney Ann Groninger directly.

For a more in-depth analysis of North Carolina bicycle laws, please refer to the North Carolina Ride Guide.

Right to the Road

  • North Carolina bicyclists generally have the same rights, and same duties, as drivers of motor vehicles

Prohibitions

  • Unsanctioned bicycle racing is prohibited

Helmets

  • Helmets are required for children under 16

Alcohol

  • North Carolina’s DWI statute DOES apply to bicyclists

Where to Ride. Bicycles (if going less than the legal speed limit) are to ride:

  • In the right hand through lane is there is more than one lane going in the same direction; or
  • If more than one lane, as far right as “practicable”

Sidewalks

  • Each municipality has its own rules about sidewalk riding
  • Many municipalities in North Carolina allow sidewalk riding except in center city areas
  • More information can be found on www.municode.com

Bike Lanes, Bike Paths and Multi-Use Paths

  • North Carolina bicyclists are not required to ride in or upon bike lanes or paths

Left turns

  • Rules pertaining to motor vehicles also pertain to bicyclists turning left
  • A left turning bicyclist has the right of way over a driver intending to proceed straight at an intersection

Stop Signs and Traffic Control Devices

  • Bicyclists are required to come to a full and complete stop at all stop signs and traffic lights displaying a red signal
  • A bicyclist who cannot trip a traffic signal should treat it like a broken signal and stop until the way is clear to proceed

Signaling

  • Bicyclists must use hand/arm signals when turning and stopping

Drivers Overtaking Bicyclists

  • Motor vehicle drivers must allow at least 2 feet of space when passing a bicyclist
  • Motor vehicle drivers may cross a double yellow line to pass a bicyclist as long as (1) there is enough sight distance to do so and (2) the motorist allows at least 4 feet of space between the motor vehicle and the bicyclist OR moves completely into the opposite lane to pass

Bicycles Passing on the Right

  • Bicyclists may pass motor vehicles on the right only if it a motor vehicle could legally make a similar maneuver

Group Riding

  • North Carolina places no restrictions on group riding
  • Smart group leaders who want to our law to stay the way it is will enforce safe and conscientious group riding practices and keep their groups to two abreast

Equipment

  • Front light: When operated at night, every bicycle must have a white front facing headlight visible from 300 feet
  • Rear lighting: also when operated at night, every bicycle must have a reflector and either a light or reflective clothing visible from 300 feet (tip: your blinkie light should operate as a reflector)

Electric Assist Bikes

  • In North Carolina, an “electric assist bicycle” is a bicycle with pedals used for pedaling, an electric motor of no more than 750 watts and a maximum speed on a level surface when powered solely by the motor is no more than 20 miles per hour
  • The same rules apply to bicycles and electric assist bicycles

Comments

Joe Piscitello Jun 20, 2019

Thanks to some outstanding advocacy efforts, both the state of Pennsylvania and the city of Philadelphia have recently scored two important wins for cycling safety. Pennsylvania:  “Dutch Reach” in State Driver’s Manual The “Dutch Reach” method of opening a car door has finally been added to the State Driver’s Manual after many years of conversation. […]

Read More
Pat Brown Jun 20, 2019

ONTARIO BICYCLE LAWS It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in Ontario. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here). For any questions about the Province’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact attorney Pat Brown directly. Right to […]

Read More
Ladies on Spokes
Bruce Hagen Jun 19, 2019

Some people are in Book Clubs.  Others may have a green thumb and gravitate towards Garden Clubs.   Finding like minded people to share a common interest is an important part of being an active member of your community.   In Newnan, there is a group of women who have made their shared passions a vital […]

Read More
OBRA Crit Championships
Bob Mionske Jun 19, 2019

After a long, difficult Road Race the day before, turnout was small for the criterium. And since the RCB/Bike Law boys missed out on a result, we showed up gunning for a win. The squad was Jeremy Russell, Pat Lemieux, Timmy Reinhart, and yours truly. The course was a very tight and technical kilometer (or […]

Read More
Lauri Boxer-Macomber Jun 19, 2019

This week, Governor Mills signed LD 1222, An Act Regarding Electric Bikes, into law.  The Act’s history, swift movement through the Legislature, and prompt approval by the Governor underscore that e-bikes have made their way to Maine, are here to stay, and require appropriate regulation.  Here’s what you need to know. The E-Bike Movement in […]

Read More
Peter Wilborn Jun 12, 2019

Eric Amis, Jr., was killed around Midnight on May 16 while he was riding on an E-scooter near the West Lake Marta station in Atlanta.   In typical fashion, the police and media focused on all the wrong parts of the story. The driver who hit Mr. Amis was praised for “remaining at the scene of […]

Read More
Charlie Thomas Jun 12, 2019

Should Texas pass a statewide law that bans drivers from buzzing bicyclists? Should Texas fully ban a person from holding a cell phone while driving? We’ve had a decade to consider this issue. Here are my thoughts. A few weeks ago, I sat in the Texas A&M Cycling Team’s last meeting of the school year. […]

Read More
Bob Mionske Jun 12, 2019

It’s the second weekend of June, which means it’s crit season. The Real Critters head to Tulsa Tough. The second-tier critters go to Ballard Crit. And River City Bikes? We just went 1-2 at the Hammer Velo Crit in Portland, Oregon. It’s a flat course on wide open roads with a sweeping right-hander leading to […]

Read More
Danny Feldman Jun 12, 2019

Robert Traphan, a native of Greenwich, Connecticut, settled in Montgomery, Alabama while serving on active duty in the Air Force from 1993 until 1996.  He owned and operated a number of Internet companies for more than a decade until 2006, when he took a job as a software engineer with the Alabama Retirement System of […]

Read More
Bruce Hagen Jun 10, 2019

When it comes to cycling Joe Seconder is equal parts participant, zealot and activist. For example, a portion of his LinkedIn profile reports: Bicycling Advocate / Evangelist. Proactively engaging to make my community, the Atlanta Region and the State of Georgia be a better and safer place to simply go for a bike ride – […]

Read More
Bob Mionske Jun 10, 2019

May 2017 Two years ago—almost to the day—Colin Gibson and I headed east of the Cascades to a little town called Maupin. The plan was to get two epic days of training in before Colin became a father two weeks later. We only had vague ideas of what was in store for us on that […]

Read More
Kathryn Doornbos
Danny Feldman May 20, 2019

Kathryn Doornbos is the executive director of Redemptive Cycles, a non-profit organization in Birmingham, Alabama operating since 2013.  Redemptive’s mission is to “redeem the streets” by getting more people on bicycles to make Birmingham a “more connected, comfortable and livable city.” Redemptive works to achieve its goal by selling many refurbished and some new bicycles, […]

Read More
Load More