Bicycle Safety In North Carolina

Close-up of a bicycling helmet fallen on the asphalt next to a bicycle after car accident on the street in the cityNow that the weather has warmed up, there’s no excuse to avoid getting out and getting some exercise. Cycling is a great way to get some exercise and get from place to place at the same time. Sharing the road with cars, trucks, and motorcycles, though, can be dangerous. Knowing the rules of the road will help avoid accidents. 

Despite what some motorists may believe, bicycles are allowed on all North Carolina public roads, except controlled-access roads like interstate highways. North Carolina law treats bicycles as vehicles and requires cyclists to obey the same traffic laws as other vehicles, whenever possible. This includes riding on the right side of the road. Cyclists may even be charged with reckless driving if they are found to be causing a danger to others, and may be charged with DUI. 

Safety Equipment

Cyclists riding at night must have a light on the front of the bike. The rider must wear bright or reflective clothing or a vest, or have a light on the back of the bike. The bike must also be equipped with a reflective mirror on the back. While not required by law, helmets can greatly reduce the chance of serious head injuries. 

 Traffic Signs

Cyclists must obey traffic signs and lights in the same manner as drivers of motorized vehicles. 


Although turn signals for bicycles are not required, a cyclist must use hand signals when turning or changing lanes. 

Consequences For Disobeying Traffic Laws 

Cyclists may be cited for disobeying traffic regulations, just like drivers of motor vehicles. In addition, failure to obey traffic laws may affect a cyclist’s ability to recover damages for injuries sustained in an accident with a motor vehicle. North Carolina follows the contributory negligence doctrine in accident cases – if an injured person is found to be even partially at fault for the accident, he will collect nothing. 

If you are injured as a cyclist in an accident on a North Carolina road, investigators from the driver’s insurance company will be looking for proof that you were negligent. They will examine your bike for safety equipment, evaluate the position of your bike and the motor vehicle, and interview witnesses to determine your actions prior to the accident. Making sure you follow all traffic regulations will keep you safer and will help preserve your rights in case of an accident. Never admit that you were drinking alcohol before you got on your bike; riding a bike while intoxicated is a crime in North Carolina, and evidence of impairment will undoubtedly damage your chances for successfully suing the driver of a motor vehicle that hit you. Call an experienced accident attorney right away, and do not talk to an insurance adjuster until you have consulted an experienced attorney. 

The accident attorneys at Campbell & Associates can advise you of your rights, and help you recover your damages if you are injured on a bicycle. Call us at (704) 769-2316 for a free consultation.