Bike Laws

Bicyclists in Winston-Salem have the same legal status as motor vehicles. Therefore, bicyclists have full rights to use the roadways and also have the responsibility to obey the laws and operate safely. The Winston-Salem Department of Transportation wants to encourage cyclists to become familiar with Winston-Salem biking laws and North Carolina biking laws designed to inform citizens on how to safely share the road.

To view the North Carolina statewide laws, please visit the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Bicycle Laws of North Carolina website.

City of Winston-Salem Code - Article V Bicycles

Section 42-281. Definition

The term bicycle, as used in this article, shall mean a device having two or three wheels in tandem, a steering handle, one or two saddle seats and pedals by which the vehicle is propelled.

Section 42-282. Applicability of Traffic Laws

Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by the laws of the state (G.S. 20-38(38)) declaring rules of the road applicable to vehicles or by the provisions of this chapter applicable to the driver of a vehicle, except as to special regulations in this chapter and except as to those provisions of law and ordinances which by their nature can have no application.

Section 42-283. Obedience to Traffic Control Devices

(a) Any person operating a bicycle shall obey the instructions of official traffic control devices and traffic control signals applicable to vehicles, unless otherwise directed by a police officer.

(b) Whenever authorized signs are erected indicating that no right turn, left turn or U-turn is permitted, it shall be unlawful for any person operating a bicycle to disobey the direction of any such sign, except where such person dismounts from the bicycle to make any such turn, in which event such person shall then obey the regulations applicable to pedestrians.

Section 42-284. Manner of Riding; Restriction on Number of Persons Riding

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person propelling a bicycle to ride other than astride a permanent and regular seat attached thereto.

b) It shall be unlawful for any person to use a bicycle to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed and equipped.

Section 42-285. Riding on Roadway

(a) Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right-hand side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.

(b) It shall be unlawful for persons riding bicycles upon a roadway to ride more than two abreast.

Section 42-286. Right-of-Way of Pedestrians; Riding on Sidewalk

(a) Whenever any person is riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk, such person shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian.

(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk in the following locations or on the following streets;

  1. Central business district.
  2. Sunset Drive from First Street to Glade Street.
  3. Liberty Street from 14th Street to 17th Street.

Section 42-287. Speed

It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a bicycle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions then existing.

Section 42-288. Carrying Packages or Other Article

It shall be unlawful for any person operating a bicycle to carry any package, bundle or article which prevents the rider from keeping at least one hand upon the handlebars.

Section 42-289. Parking

It shall be unlawful for any person to park a bicycle upon a street other than upon the roadway against the curb or upon the sidewalk in a rack to support the bicycle or against a building or at the curb, in such manner as to afford the least obstruction to pedestrian traffic.

Section 42-290. Lamps & Other Equipment

(a) Every bicycle, when in use at nighttime, shall be equipped with a lamp on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and with a red reflector on the rear of a type which shall be visible from a distance of at least 300 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful upper beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle. A lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear may be used in addition to the red reflector.

(b) Every bicycle shall be equipped with working, functional, adequate brakes.