DOT calls for more separation between cars, cyclists

— The state Department of Transportation is recommending several changes to state law to keep vehicles and bicyclists farther apart and increase safety.

Nineteen cyclists are killed and more than 650 are hit by vehicles in North Carolina each year, on average, according to the DOT, and state lawmakers passed legislation in June asking the agency to study ways to improve bicycle safety and to report back by the end of the year.

The 10-page report calls for giving drivers more leeway to cross a center line when passing a cyclist so that there’s are least 4 feet between the vehicle and the bike. Currently, state law calls for a 2-foot passing distance.

A bill that would have allowed more passing of slower vehicles on state roads stalled in the General Assembly amid concerns of an increase in head-on collisions.

The DOT also wants to limit cyclists from riding more than two abreast, require them to stay as far to the right as possible in the furthest right lane and require that bikes be equipped with headlights and taillights or that cyclists wear reflective clothing. The agency also said that local governments should be allowed to have registration permits for groups of 30 or more cyclists.

,The state Department of Transportation is recommending several changes to state law to keep vehicles and bicyclists farther apart and increase safety.

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