Like most states, North Carolina treats bicycles as vehicles and bicycle riders must comply with the same laws that apply to vehicle drivers. Bicyclists are only exempt from following the law applicable to motor vehicles when the law, by its very nature, could have no application. For example, when the vehicle code specifically references “motor vehicles,” bicyclists are not required to follow that code section.

Even though considered vehicles, bicycles are not allowed to be ridden on any fully controlled access roadway like an interstate. When riders push their bikes, they are considered pedestrians and must follow the rules for pedestrians. Otherwise, motorized vehicles and bicyclists need to learn to share the road. When bicyclists are so much more vulnerable to suffering injuries in an accident than are vehicle drivers, they must carefully follow all rules of the road, including signaling requirements.

Signaling Requirements for Bicyclists

In the olden days, about 60 years ago, before cars came with turn signals, all drivers knew the requirements for arm and hand signals. Those old-fashioned arm signals are suppo
sed to be used by drivers even now if their car signals do not work. They are supposed to be used at all times by bike riders. Even if your bicycle is equipped with tuWoman bicyclist riding down sidewalkrn signals, you are still expected to use the appropriate hand signals. Examples of how they work include:

  • When turning left: Fully extend your left arm, with your fingers all pointed outward or at least your index finger pointing. Your arm should be parallel to the ground. If you are riding in a difficult area and need to keep both hands on the handlebars as much as possible, give the signal off and on as frequently as you can safely do so.
  • When turning right: Extend your left arm, then bend it at your elbow at a 90-degree angle so you are pointing to the sky. Keep your palm open facing forward. If this is not possible, fully extend your right arm and either keep all of your fingers extended or point to the right with your index finger.
  • Stopping or slowing down: Extend your left arm out to the left, then bend your arm at your elbow at a 90-degree angle so you are pointing toward the ground. Keep all of your fingers extended, pointing to the ground, or point to the ground using only your index finger.

No matter how careful you are about following all the rules of the road applicable to bicycles, accidents happen. If you are bicyclist who was injured in an accident with another vehicle, contact our Charlotte personal injury attorneys at Campbell & Associates for a free consultation.