Passing laws: North Carolina has no specific laws regarding distance for a motor vehicle passing a bicycle, however there is a law that states all vehicles must be at least 2 feet away when passing other vehicle. Accordingly, it seems this would apply to a car v. bicycle as well.
Helmet law: North Carolina requires the operator or passenger of a bicycle under 16 years of age to wear a helmet.
Laws to Protect the Bicyclist: There are certain laws entitled “vulnerable user laws.” These laws, in essence, require the vehicle least at risk to yield to the vehicle most at risk. For example, a motor vehicle would have to yield to a bicycle and a bicycle would have to yield to a pedestrian. North Carolina does not have any specific vulnerable law.
Distracted Driving Laws: North Carolina has the following laws aimed at reducing distracted drivers:
- It is unlawful for any to operate a motor vehicle while using a mobile telephone to text another person, read any electronic mail or text message;
- No person under 18 years of age shall use a mobile telephone in any capacity while operating a motor vehicle;
- No person shall operate a school bus while using a mobile telephone in any capacity while the vehicle is moving.
Lane Position Laws for a Bicyclist: Generally speaking, North Carolina law requires the bicyclist to be as close to the right hand edge of the road as possible, except when passing another vehicle travelling in the same direction or when preparing to take a left turn.
Sidewalk Riding: North Carolina does not have a law that specifically authorizes or prohibits the operation of a bicycle upon a sidewalk. It is important to note that North Carolina does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane. So if there is a sidewalk, the choice of road or sidewalk is yours to make.
Riding a Bike under the Influence: In North Carolina, bicycles are defined as vehicles. North Carolina’s law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to vehicles and therefore does directly apply to bicyclists.
Stop Sign Laws: North Carolina bicycles have to follow the same rules as motor vehicles regarding the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.
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