Anyone who wants to learn about bicycle laws and safety in North Carolina could easily come to the conclusion that there are far more questions than answers. If you are confused, you are not alone. The fact is that law enforcement, insurance adjusters and those involved in the legal system often misapply the laws affecting bicycles. Their confusion stems typically from preconceptions and cultural bias about bicyclists, different laws in other states and misinformation spread by others. Even the booklet our own North Carolina Department of Transportation
publishes contains a great deal of misleading information.
Those applying North Carolina law also often misunderstand the distinction our law makes between vehicles and motor vehicles. Because misconceptions abound, when problems – crashes, road rage, police interaction – arise, the bicyclist is often at a loss to explain behavior that seemed to the bicyclist to be the most reasonable course of action under the circumstances.
That’s why I am writing this booklet. The purpose of it is to pull together the available legal resources with our own knowledge, training and personal experiences to create a reference for all levels of bicycle riders in North Carolina. I also hope it will serve as a resource for anyone who needs to understand the rights and responsibilities of bicycles and the responsibilities of motorists in certain commonly occurring interactions with bicycles.
The booklet is meant to provide general information and answers to everyday questions about the rules of the road pertaining to bicyclists. I leave questions of liability, insurance and post-collision advice to another day. In any case, this book is not intended to provide legal advice. When such questions arise, you should contact a bicycle attorney before talking 05 with anyone else, like an insurance company representative. Consultations at Bike Law for bicyclists are free. The problem you have is likely one we have helped others with many times before. We understand what you are talking about because we ride too. We hope this book will make your ride safer and more enjoyable!