Bicycles have a right to be on the road. That’s true in North Carolina. Indeed, every state in the union has laws on the books that declare that motor vehicles and bicycles are supposed to have equal rights to street lanes. About the only routes bicycles are banned from are the freeways.
As we have observed in this blog on a number of occasions in the past, the amount of congestion on the streets appears to be on the rise. That not only goes for cars, trucks and motorcycles. Bicyclists are on the increase, as well. Unfortunately, with the increases in traffic come increases in accidents that can result in serious and sometimes fatal injuries.
But what is to be done? “Share the Road” signs are already common in many communities. In some cities, the push to encourage awareness and promote bicycling as an alternative form of transportation includes marking off lanes to give cyclists dedicated space.
Some activists have attempted to take awareness raising to a new level by placing “ghost bike” memorials at sites where catastrophic crashes have occurred. But as readers may be aware, the Raleigh News & Observer reports that the complaints of one man have prompted the removal of three such memorials around that city this year.
Perhaps the answer rests in clarity of message. That seems to be the conclusion reached by researchers at North Carolina State University. They conducted a Web-based survey of 1,800 people nationally to compare three traffic control methods to see which worked best. One was the “Share the Road” sign. Another was the dedicated lane model. The third was a sign that more directly states “Bicycles May Use Full Lane.”
What they found was that the third method did the best job of getting the message across. At the same time, most respondents said they don’t think it’s safe for riders to follow such a practice.
Still, the right to the roads exists and if bicyclists or pedestrians are injured because of the inattention or negligence of someone else, victims should contact an experienced attorney to discuss the situation and learn what options exist for obtaining the compensation that may be needed for their recovery.