Local News

Cyclists, motorists share the roadways

Posted July 15, 2009 6:08 p.m. EDT
Updated July 16, 2009 9:57 a.m. EDT

— 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.

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.