NC Biking Rules of the Road

In North Carolina, bicyclists have the same rights and duties as motorists and are subject to traffic vehicle laws. Some laws changed in 2016. For a complete list of NC bike laws, visit ncdot.gov/bikeped/lawspolicies

Follow these Rules of the Road to help keep you and your loved ones safe. Información en Español

  • Ride predictably.
  • Ride defensively.
  • Follow ALL traffic laws – bicycles are vehicles in North Carolina.
  • Always ride in the same direction as traffic and as far to the right as practicable.
  • Indicate your turns by pointing left or right.
  • Scan behind you before changing lanes.
  • Do not filter up by stopped cars at intersections. 
  • Avoid swerving between parked cars.
  • Make eye contact with motorists, especially at intersections and driveways.
  • Give an audible warning to pedestrians when approaching from behind.
  • Be safe, be visible.
  • Don’t wear headphones while riding.
  • Wear a properly fitted helmet and replace after any impact or crash.
  • Find a well-fitted bike.
  • Wear brightly colored or reflective clothing.
  • Use hand signals for turning:

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Also, North Carolina law requires children under age 16 to wear a helmet and for bicyclists at night to have a white front headlight, a rear reflector and a red rear light or reflective clothing visible from 300 feet.

Changes were made to NC's bike laws in July 2016:

  • Drivers can pass bicycles in no-passing zones if the motorist gives a berth of at least 4 feet and if the cyclist is not making a left turn. 
  • Cyclists must have a front and rear light – or wear a reflective vest or clothing that is visible from at least 300 feet to the rear. 
  • Clarified hand signals.
  • Stiffer penalties for aggressive drivers.

Resources for safe riding