by J. David Bartenfield on 02/03/12
Although a collision with an automobile is the greatest hazard cyclists face, there’s one reassuring bit of news: the fact is, it’s a relatively uncommon occurrence. Most accidents are in fact solo accidents involving a defect or some hazard on the road or trail. Additionally, in most accidents, whether involving a defect or an automobile, the rider is a child.
In North Carolina a bicycle used at night must be equipped with a headlamp visible from a distance of 300 feet.
The light at night requirement is to make the cyclist visible to automobile drivers at night, not to light the cyclist’s way. It does not insulate against collisions with automobiles but improves the visibility of the cyclist.
Automobile insurance companies like this law and here’s why: If a cyclist without a headlamp is involved in a collision with an automobile at night, the insurance company can and will deny an injury claim asserted by the cyclist by claiming the cyclist was contributorily negligent (more on that next time) regardless of the negligence of the automobile driver.
Lamps on Bicycles. – Every bicycle shall be equipped with a lighted lamp on the front thereof, visible under normal atmospheric conditions from a distance of at least 300 feet in front of such bicycle, and shall also be equipped with a reflex mirror or lamp on the rear, exhibiting a red light visible under like conditions from a distance of at least 200 feet to the rear of such bicycle, when used at night.