Local News

Cyclists, motorists share the roadways

Posted July 15, 2009
Updated July 16, 2009

— The recent death of a well-known cycling safety advocate in Apex has drawn more attention to the issue of cyclists and motorists sharing the same road safely.

Some drivers say they've been tested by large groups of cyclists and fellow drivers who don't know how to get around them.

Driver Christa Bethune-Smith said she gets “very frustrated almost to the point of anger because lives are at risk.”

Bruce W. Rosar, 52, of Cary, died after a collision with a vehicle on South Salem Street, near the Apex Peakway, shortly after noon Saturday, police said.

A bicyclist navigates the a roadway in the Triangle. State has laws for cyclists, motorists

Friends said Rosar knew biking safety, but that’s not always the case with other cyclists.

The Town of Apex has its own ordinance that states that bicyclists can’t ride more than two-wide across a lane or side-by-side. State law, however, does not specify how many riders can side-by-side at a time, even though that could cause a traffic problem.

State law also states that when a motorist is passing a bicyclist, they must leave a 2-foot buffer.

“Bicycles are considered vehicles by law in North Carolina and have a right to use the road,” said Tom Norman, of the North Carolina Department of Transportation Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation.

Norman said for the most part bikers and drivers have a good relationship with one another.

Biking enthusiasts agree.

“I think people are normally tolerant in general and people want to be nice,” said Steve Levine, owner of local store Cycling Spoken Here.

But both sides also agree that relationship could use some improvement.

“I just pretend it’s me on that bike and show them that respect that I would like to have,” Bethune-Smith said.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • frosty Jul 16, 2009


    Bicycles do have a right (if not right of way all the time ) on 8 lanes of traffic unless they are interstate highways like I-40 and I-440 on which they are not allowed. But on US 64 and US 70 they are allowed as are farm tractors and combines. If you think a bicycle is a hoot on a 70 mph highway you should try a 15 mph combine with a 22 foot bean head. You probably would not see that in Wake County but don't rule it out in counties like Wilson and Edgecombe.

  • whatusay Jul 16, 2009

    Professor....dead is dead...it might be wrong, but it is still dead. Cyclists have no right of way on 8 lanes of traffic in a rush hour. Wake up and live.

  • frosty Jul 16, 2009

    (resumed )
    Then after you have crossed that road wait for the light to change again to cross the road you want to take so you can safely get to the right side of the road where the bike lane is.

    There are more issues but that is all I can remember right now.

    To me, instead of a bike lane per say just make the right lane wide enough so cars and trucks can pass the bike without having to leave the right lane. It is virtually the same thing as a bike lane but it does not restrict the bicycle to that area if it needs to use another part of the road.

    And there are things you need to avoid on the edge of the road that may not be obvious to drivers, like trash, wet leaves, pets (they are not deer but can still ruin your day and with road (or street)side parking the person opening a car door in front of you. (that is why in city riding you see a cyclist riding three or four feet into the right lane instead of close to the edge.

  • grayboomerang Jul 16, 2009

    So Professor...were you the one weaving in and out of traffic at 80 plus miles an hour between Crabtree Valley Mall and Lake Boone Trail yesterday AM???? Are you the one who goes whizzing by my house at a ridiculous speed at 3am? See my point? I didn't say ALL motorcyclists are obnoxious....I was referring to those who ARE obnoxious. Such sensitivity..good grief people. There are good motorists, cyclists and then there are bad ones....IN ALL CATAGORIES. If everyone would stop using our roads as their own personal NASCAR track, everyone could get along. I'm tired of people tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, cutting people off..etc...while driving a lethal weapon.

  • frosty Jul 16, 2009

    Bike lanes are not a total solution.

    First, they make it appear that bicyclists have surrendered their right to the road so that when there is no bike lane motorists think they have even less right to be on the highway.
    Second, debris tends to collect in the bike lanes next to highways making cyclists have to move into the highways to avoid it.
    Third, when there is a right turn lane for vehicles where does the bike lane go? Between the right lane and turn lane or to the right of the turn lane so cars and trucks have to turn in front of them. And it is much worse if it is trucks having to make the turn.
    Fourth, if you are cycling in a bike lane how do you turn left on a multi lane highway? You either have to get into the left turn lane where cars will not expect you because there is a bike lane or (if there is a light) get off the bike (or not)and act like a pedestrian and cross the lanes when they are stopped for the light.(continued )

  • Voice of Reason 23 Jul 16, 2009

    yes, but the problem with bike lanes is that a lot of studies have shown them to actually cause more accidents. People feel a little too safe, and forget that they are on a road, and tend to cross intersections without being careful enough, and that causes accidents.

  • Journey985 Jul 16, 2009

    I agree Voice of Reason, Please do spend my tax dollars on them, I would rather do that then read about another cyclists being killed riding on main roads in congested areas!!!

  • Professor Jul 16, 2009

    obnoxious motorcyclists.

    I love motorcycle riding. So leave us alone and give us MORE room. If you have never rode one, sweetie don't knock it until you have. :)

  • grayboomerang Jul 16, 2009

    SharetheRoad...don't even get me started on obnoxious motorcyclists.

  • Thought Criminal WS Jul 16, 2009

    I defer to the laws of physics before the laws of traffic - cyclists should as well or expect the consequences of thier own stupidity. Cyclists DO NOT share the road. They act and move as if they OWN the road. Watch at a stop sign or light if a cyclist stops in place, most of them go directly to the front of the line of cars IGNORING the traffic there; some even go to the front and pull in front of cars... that's NOT sharing the road.