The Blue Ridge Bicycle Club is concerned about the safety of its riders on club rides and individuals when riding alone. There have been several deaths and severe injuries which have occurred on our roadways in Western North Carolina. Cyclists don’t normally receive training before taking to the road and many ride in a dangerous manner. Often times the bicyclist is at fault during a crash, other times if they were more aware of their surroundings and what was happening they might have been able to avoid the crash. There are 12 certified Bicycle Safety Instructors in the Asheville area who offer classes on how to be predictable, defensive riding in traffic and how to enjoy your ride. Whether you are a new rider or a seasoned rider you can get a lot out of one of the Bicycle Classes. For information and how to sign up for a class email BuncombeBikeEd@gmail.com. Our classes are held the 2nd Saturday of each month from March to October.
Remember that in North Carolina a bicycle is considered to be a vehicle with all the rights and responsibilities of motor vehicles. However, there are a few restrictions. Bicycles are not allowed on interstate roads. Since the speed of most bicyclists is less than most motor vehicles they must stay as far to the right as possible. That means you should not obstruct traffic by riding in the middle of the road, but ride about 20 – 24” out from the edge of the roadway, where the right wheel of a motor vehicle rides. This way you have room to maneuver around debris on the road, and traffic can see you. You are allowed to take the lane when it is unsafe for vehicles to pass you if you are able to keep up with the traffic speed. You are also able to move left to make a left turn, however you should look first to be sure it is clear and signal your intention. Using your head to turn and look gives the motorist the cue that you are considering to make a move.
Being predictable and riding defensively are two very important means of staying safe. Predictability is a means of telling others what you are doing or about to do. Before moving into another spot in the road you MUST first look to be sure it is clear, then signal and look again then move.
- When stopping at a traffic light do not hug the curb if you intend on going straight.
- When riding in a multi-directional lane ride where you intend to go. If it is straight take the center of the lane. Do not ride in a right turn lane if you intend to go straight.
- Before turning signal your intention. The law requires 100 feet before the turn.
- Always look left, right, and left again before entering the roadway.
- Always assume a driver does not see you, or they will try to get in front of you before you reach them. Be ready to maneuver into another lane, or do an instant turn, or emergency stop.
- Be aware of your surroundings and know where other vehicles are on the road so you will be able to react appropriately.
When riding in a group you MUST communicate with the other riders.
- Let other bike riders know you intend to pass them by saying “passing” or “on your left”
- When stopping use you hand signal or call out “stopping” and get completely off the road to avoid obstructing other traffic.
- Point out hazards to riders behind you or call out the hazards.
- It is considerate to call out “car back”, “car up”, “car right”, or “car left”.
- Always look for yourself at intersections even if someone says it’s clear and avoid calling “clear” for others.
- Call out or signal turns before doing them.
If you are abused by a motorist, be sure to get his or her license plate number. Also record all details of the incident: location, date and time, road conditions, make and model of vehicle, and description of driver if possible. Send this information to the proper legal authorities. Also, the Bike/Pedestrian Task Force of Asheville is interested in riding incidences and tracking them looking for patterns. They would appreciate you filling out their incident report which can be found on their web site www.abptaskforce.org.