Bicyclists have the right to share the road with cars and other motor vehicles. However, riding in traffic can be a risky endeavor. As a bicyclist, you stand to suffer serious injury—or even death—in the event of a crash.

While crashes aren’t unavoidable, there are certain steps you can take to ride defensively and enhance your safety on the road:

  • Get a headlight. If you’re riding your bicycle at night, attach a light to the front and rear or your bicycle. A reflective vest can also be a good way of attracting attention on the road at night. North Carolina law requires the use of either a light or a vest, but a light is more effective because it can be seen by drivers from a further distance away, even when they aren’t shining a light directly on you.
  • Signal your presence. Wave your arm to the right or left, as appropriate, to indicate to nearby drivers that you’re planning to turn. You can also get a bell installed on your bike to alert drivers to your presence if you suspect they don’t notice you.
  • Stop or yield as appropriate. A bicycle is considered a vehicle under North Carolina law and is therefore subject to the same traffic regulations as all other vehicles on the road. Coasting through a stop sign or failing to yield to another vehicle that has the right of way puts you at risk of—and potentially at fault for—a crash.

Finally, a good protective measure to prevent injury in the event of a collision is to wear a helmet. While the law in North Carolina requires only children under 16 years of age to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle, it is good practice for every rider to wear one.