Safe biking and walking on the Outer Banks
A few weeks ago we heard of a terrible accident that happened in Corolla. A couple from Pennsylvania was walking along NC Highway 12 when they were hit and killed by a driver in an SUV. Apparently the driver fell asleep at the wheel. This hit our community very hard. A family vacation ended in tragedy.
Everyone on the Outer Banks needs to be very, very careful when walking, riding a bike or driving a car...especially during the busy summer months.
Every morning on my way to work I come across many bike riders...and many are not in the bike path. Rather, they are riding side by side with a friend and talking. Some have headphones on, listening to music and some, you can tell, have not been on a bike in year.
I am so worried that I will bump someone that I slow to a crawl until I can drive safely past them.
Just last week a young boy on his bike, riding on the wrong side of the road, almost ran into my car. I had to slam on the brakes and I am not sure who was more stunned and shaken, him or me. I worry that those on bikes either don't know traffic laws, have forgotten them or think that they are on a sleepy little beach town and "what could happen"?
North Carolina requires the rider of a bike to (a) Ride on the right in the same direction as other moving traffic (b) Obey all traffic signs and signals including stop and yield signs and one way directional signs (c) Use hand signals to communicate when turning or stopping (d) yield to pedestrians and emergency vehicles and (e) equip the bike with a front lamp visible from 300 feet and a rear rear reflector or a lamp that is visible from a distance of 200 feet at night.
Some bike riders are in a big hurry...and dressed out like the pros. Maybe they are on a team and are practicing. Still have to obey the laws. Personally, I would NEVER ride a bike on the bypass in the busy summer months. Cars are going too fast and visitors may be looking around for their turn or at a landmark and not paying as much attention as they should. And more than half of the riders I notice each morning are not wearing helmets and they do not stop or signal. Between the wobbly riding and the lack of attention to what they are doing it is stressful to those driving a car.
Walkers need to be just as careful. Cross at intersections or crosswalks and please wait to make sure the cars have stopped before you start walking. Look left, right and all around for traffic and WAIT until cars have stopped or no traffic is coming and then cross. Walk, don't run. Wear bright colored clothes and carry a flashlight and/or wear some reflective clothing if it is dark or rainy, foggy. Please do NOT assume that because you are in a crosswalk that the driver will stop...they honestly may not see you or are worried that the car behind them will hit them if they stop. It will not matter if you had the right of way if you are laying on the road.
We want you safe. Please stay safe. Car drivers...pay attention and be patient. Other drivers may have no idea where they are going...they may be tired from driving all day and stressed out. Whatever. Drive defensively. And be courteous and kind and patient. Stop and let walkers cross the street. Don't yell at the bike riders...what if that was your son, daughter, brother or sister?