RALEIGH, N.C. (WFMY) – Last year several changes were enacted to North Carolina’s bike laws.  Here’s a breakdown of the rules – for vehicles and cyclists.Bikes are like vehicles and cyclists have to follow the same traffic laws that motorists do.

“You don’t run stoplights, you don’t run stop signs,” explains Steve Hudson of Trek Bicycle Store in Greensboro. “You obey all the traffic laws just like you would be in your own personal car.”Cyclists are not allowed on the sidewalk.  They have the right to be in the road and if there are bike lanes, they must use those.

“It’s illegal for motorists to drive in a bike lane or to pass in a bike lane or to park in a bike lane,” explains Adam Fischer, Director of Transportation for the City of Greensboro.  He adds the city has a plan to add 75 miles of bike lane to city streets over the next 5 years.Motorists are allowed to pass cyclists.

State law now allows cars to pass cyclists, even if there’s a double yellow line.  Drivers won’t be ticketed for crossing over the line to pass a cyclist; just be cognizant of oncoming traffic.  If a car is trying to pass a cyclist, they must give them at least 4 feet of space on the side.Cyclists use hand signals to let motorists know they are turning or stopping.

Cyclists will use their left hand to signal a left-hand turn and their right hand for a right-hand turn.  They can also put a hand behind their back to let drivers know they are stopping.Cyclists have to have lights on their bike at night.

Lights are required on the front and back of the bike, along with reflectors.  Lights can also be used during the day, but it’s not mandatory.  Hudson also advises cyclists to wear bright clothes so they can be more clearly seen.Drivers can be fined if they cause a cyclist to crash or force them to change lanes.

A driver who causes a cyclist to change travel lanes or leave that portion of a travel lanes will be fined $200. If the motorist causes a cyclist to crash causing property damage or personal injury there will be a fine of $500 and if there is more than $5,000 in property damage or serious injury, the driver will be fined $750.

Click here for more rules from NCDOT.