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Rules of the road when sharing the road

By now you’ve probably seen them on the road — groups of cyclists in brightly colored gear pedaling down our roads and highways. They’ve come from near and far to participate in the 2012 Cycle North Carolina’s Spring Ride.

It goes without saying that the weekend visitors, which number around 1,110 people from at least 25 states, should be treated with a good dose of our Down East hospitality. What should be said, though, to everyone taking a drive this weekend is this: share the road.

“Share the road” is a broad concept, so to put it into more practical terms, take care to do the following over the next few days:

Drive cautiously. Whenever you encounter cyclists, slow down.

Yield to cyclists. Bicycles are considered vehicles and should be given the appropriate right of way. State law defines bicycles as vehicles, thus granting bicyclists the same rights and duties as the drivers of other vehicles.

Be considerate. Don’t blast your horn trying to get around them. If you’ve parked on the street somewhere, make sure none are passing when you open your car door.

Pass with care. Wait until road traffic lets you pass cyclists safely and leave at least four feet of space between your car and the cyclist you’re passing. Do an over-the-shoulder visual check to make sure there’s plenty of room before you move back into the lane.

Let’s make sure to extend our hospitality where it truly counts this weekend — on the roads.