NC bike laws changing Oct. 1

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – New changes to North Carolina bike laws have some cyclists like Randall Bennett anxiously waiting for October.

On Oct. 1, it will be legal for a car to pass a solid line giving a cyclist four feet of space to pass. However, no change was made to the current law that drivers only needs to give two feet of room when passing a bike rider where there is a dotted line.

“I did have a car clip my arm once with a mirror,” said avid cyclist Randall Bennett.

Bennett said he was lucky he wasn’t seriously hurt that day on his bike ride but he knows too many people who have been.

Riders like Bennett said they hope Changes to House Bill 959 that go in effect this fall will give them more protection.

Lisa Riegel of the organization Bike Walk NC said although they would like to see more changes to keep bike riders safe, she considers House Bill 959 a big safety win that opens up a bigger conversation.

“Right now it’s only two feet and that’s not enough for bicyclist so this is the safest thing to do is change lanes” said Riegel

The new laws also enact stricter penalties for drivers who practice unsafe movement around a bike rider. It also legalizes bike riders to use their right arm to make turn signals.

For now, bike riders and drivers alike hope they can learn to share the roads safely.

“Sometimes they take up space on the road but I just feel like that’s part of being in West Cary,” said Amber Taylor of Cary.

“We are talking about a nanosecond that is the difference between life and death,” said Bennett.

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