Local News

New state law promotes cyclist safety

Posted November 10, 2016 2:29 p.m. EST
Updated November 10, 2016 5:32 p.m. EST

— Current state law requires cyclists have a white headlight when biking at night. But starting Dec. 1, at night cyclists will be required to use a red rear light or wear reflective clothing.

In 2013 alone, crashes killed 22 cyclists in North Carolina. One of the most important aspects of bicycle safety is visibility. With the sun setting earlier, cyclists are harder to see during the evening commute.

North Carolina State University student Brian Leonardo said he uses a front light and a rear red light when he's out after dark. It's safer, and soon, it will be the state law.

“If I'm ever on the road, I’m going to be easily seen. I don't have to worry about being hit from behind when I don't know it,” Leonardo said. “Overall I feel pretty safe. I enjoy biking around here,” Leonardo said.

“There have been a lot of people, including myself, almost hit riding our bikes,” said Katherine Molin, transportation demand management coordinator for the city of Raleigh.

Molin promotes transportation alternatives for Raleigh.

She and other city employees are spending time informing cyclists about the new law and including a coupon for a 15 percent discount on lights and reflective clothing at some local bike and running shops.

“It's just a good education opportunity for us to get those people lit up,” Molin said.

Leonardo said his lights make him feel safer and it's a good idea to make them mandatory.

“On the street, it's needed. It protects the safety of the drivers and the cyclists,” he said

Molin said local shops are offering those discounts voluntarily, and the city isn't subsidizing the offer.