Bicycle safety in the state of North Carolina has been a hot topic this year. Since August (and work was being done before that to get to this point!), a committee – House Bill 232 Bike Safety Law Study working group aka Working Group - has feverishly been working together to propose recommendations on legislation to the NCDOT, to be presented to our NC Legislature. Note: this whole process is supposed to ultimately be about ensuring cyclists’ safety. Let’s ultimately reduce cycling fatalities to ZERO. Read on to see what’s happened over the course of a few days, quietly, and what you can do about it!
Before we begin, we would like to thank the NCDOT for allowing this process of the Working Group to happen and for rock-solid information to be learned and presented, as well as for keeping our roads, highways and interstates safe. However, we do not applaud your actions in how you carried out the shifting of the Group’s recommendations prudent to cycling safety in North Carolina, as noted below.
Over the course of four months and four Working Group meetings (plus lots of out-of-meeting research), they came to agreement on twelve topics and submitted to the NCDOT a report that detailed each topic’s pros and cons thoroughly. Unfortunately, the NCDOT didn’t take the Working Group’s recommendations too seriously and even went against their recommendations on a few, which we’ve noted below. The modifications by the NCDOT were fairly drastic to what was recommended by the very group who’d spent four+ months conducting research, analysis and interviews across the state and even beyond our state lines. The biggest disagreements from Working Group’s recommendations and the report just unleashed by NCDOT are on these three topics:
- Should it be required that cyclists/riders ride in single-file on the road, or two+ abreast?
- Must the cyclist remain to the right side of the lane, and if not, then where?
- Is it required that group rides of 30+ riders be “approved” by the local, presiding government of where the ride will be held?
See the report, including the NCDOT’s (anonymously) inserted recommendations by clicking HERE.
What We Need to Do About This by Tuesday, Dec. 29 at 5:00 p.m., before this report goes to NC Legislature for voting:
iDaph Events and iDream Athletes Foundation, as ride organizers and cycling enthusiasts, stand strong and firm that cyclists’ safety on the road is our top priority when we conduct cycling events and educational opportunities on our often-rural, mountain roads (i.e.: AVLWBL, Lung Buster Time Trials, Asheville & LPC Triathlons and more)
To ensure the NCDOT hears us loud and clear, and that they know that we want to continue to keep cycling safe in North Carolina, please:
- Contact your Representative and Senator (if you don’t know who they are, please click HERE). See email template to copy/paste to your representative.
- Contact the NCDOT’s Feedback representative (he’s not the guy that makes decisions, y’all), by emailing him at: firstname.lastname@example.org. When you email him (see our prompt below), please mark your subject line as “Comments on HB232” and address your email to NCDOT,
- Tell your cycling friends about this! Spread the word on social media and by an email to your friends that enjoy the freedom to ride on the road.
- Use the prompts provided by BikeWalk NC (at the bottom) or this template:
As a cycling enthusiast, I urge the NCDOT and the North Carolina Legislature ensure cyclists’ safety on the roads. I urge the NCDOT to consider allowing cyclists the full use of the lane and not just the right-side, as that allows for potential crashes and defensive driving by motorists; not limiting side-by-side riding within a single lane because group riding tends to offer safe group riding practices; and lastly, not enforcing that group rides of 30+ riders be registered and permitted, as most group rides cross between many municipalities and that will deter ride organizers to be able to safely plan for and execute these group rides. Thank you for your consideration of these amendments to your report to be reviewed by our Legislature.