The Town is working to make our roads safer for all people. The “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” signs are intended to raise awareness of existing North Carolina law that defines bicycles as vehicles with equal access to all roads (exception, bicycles are not allowed on fully controlled highways such as Interstate 77). The ambiguous, less effective “Share the Road” signs are being removed as part of this process.
Numerous road hazards often make it necessary for cyclists to utilize the full lane; such as, pot holes, broken glass, trash, storm drains, broken pavement, parked cars (door zone), etc. Cyclists need to overtake the lane when positioning to turn left and often use the full lane to increase their visibility at intersections. Additionally, cyclists will often take the full lane in curves or heavy traffic conditions to indicate to the motor vehicle that it is not safe to squeeze past. Instead, the motorist should wait until it is safe to change lanes to pass the cyclist(s). Typically, bicyclists will stay to the far right of the lane as safely practical or tuck back in once the hazard has passed.
Non-motorized vehicles (bicycles) are exempt from provisions on impeding traffic. However, bicyclists are required to follow all other traffic laws; such as, stopping for red lights and stop signs, signaling when making turns, having night equipment, giving the right of way to pedestrians, etc. Additionally, helmets are recommended for cyclists of any age, but are required for children under 16.
State law does not prohibit cyclists riding two abreast or in groups. Our road system is designed for people to socialize, whether side by side in a car or side by side on bikes. Also, riding in groups increases the cyclists’ efficiency at moving through intersections and requires less time for motor vehicles to pass because of compressed length.
There are over a dozen different types of bicycles that are each suited for a different environment and/or riding preference. For example, road bikes are designed to be on street pavement, mountain bikes perform best on dirt, and hybrids are great on greenways. Typically, bicycle commuters and experienced road cyclists prefer the faster speed and/or direct connections afforded by the street network. Novice cyclists and families with young children often chose a greenway for its slower speeds and separation from motorists.
Bike lanes often contain many hazards due to debris being washed to the side of the road. There are currently over 150 miles of roadway in the Town limits, but only 10 miles of bike lanes. So, bike lanes aren’t a feasible option to get around town. Moreover, cyclists are not required to use bike lanes or side paths if they exist.
The majority of major road projects being administered by the NCDOT; such as, the widening of Hwy 150, Brawley School Rd, and Williamson Rd include bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Currently, the Town is building sidewalk near Mooresville Middle School, adding a side path along West Wilson Ave, and gearing up to extend two miles of greenway from Bellingham Park to Johnson Dairy Road. Furthermore, the Town has been awarded a NCDOT grant to update our bicycle plans.
Roads were first improved because of bicyclists advocating for better roads, known as the Good Roads Movement of the late 1800s. The first mile of concrete road was laid in Michigan in 1909, by the state’s first highway commissioner and bicycle dealer, Horatio Earle.
Two North Carolina State University faculty members conducted a study with 2000 participants in 2015 that showed…
“Comprehension of the familiar “Share the Road” signage as a statement of bicyclists’ roadway rights has been challenged, based on arguments that it is ambiguous, imprecise, frequently misinterpreted, and not designed for that purpose.”