Cyclist accidents on the rise, the 'Do's and Don'ts' of sharing the road

- Bike lane or no bike lane, the number of cyclists on the roads is growing in Charlotte and so are the accidents.

"Drivers! Drivers are the worst," Cyclist Brian Sullivan said.

"I’ve seen the issue with bikers still being on the road and taking up the lane, especially when there is a sidewalk. Maybe it’s a safer place for them," Kristen Terry said.

What most people don't know is that bike riders have the same rights as vehicles and they don't necessarily need to be on a bike lane.

Cyclists by law are only required to have reflectors on their bikes. At night, bikers must wear a reflective vest and have a light visible over 300 feet. That’s about what is required but those aren't the only ways to stay safe.

Bells or horns can alert drivers you are on the road with them and wearing bright clothing can also help.

"I take a number of more precautions. I used head lights and taillights day and night," Queen City Bicycle Owner Bart Stetler said.

Sometimes cyclists have to bend some of the rules to protect themselves.

"I’m willing to ignore some to be safe. Like, if the road doesn't look safe enough, I’ll get on the sidewalk or yield when I do have the right of way just to make sure to protect myself," Sullivan explained.

"There are definitely techniques called ‘Controlling the Lane’ and like I said, a bicycle has as much right to the road and there are certain times you may see me closer to the middle of the lane because what I am trying to do is control the car behind me from making a decision that's a poor decision of trying to pass me when they shouldn't," Stetler said.

Some drivers see this as frustrating but cyclists want them to know it's temporary to keep everyone safe.

“We are a little bit slower. We are a little bit unpredictable, so I can understand it. At the same time we are taking up less space on the road so give us some space," Sullivan said. 

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