NC House Bill 959 became effective on Oct. 1. State law was changed so drivers can pass slower-moving bicycles or mopeds 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. But aggressive motorists whose actions cause a cyclist to change travel lanes, leave the road or crash will suffer stiffer penalties, pay higher fines and possibly lose their driver’s license for several months, under the amended law.
Another change requires cyclists riding at night, effective Dec. 1, to add a light on the back of the bike to the one already required on the front – or wear a reflective vest or clothing that is visible from at least 300 feet to the rear.
Hand signals have been clarified as well. Cyclists can legally use their right arm now or use their left arm for hand signals, pointing the hand straight up to indicate a right turn.
These new rules are part of a months long process that brought together cyclists, law enforcement officers, farmers, truckers and others who worked with the state Department of Transportation to study bike safety laws and develop recommendations for better ensuring the safety of cyclists and motorists along the roadway.
Click here to view HB959.