Summertime and warm weather bring the spandex out of the closet and beckon bicyclists to their seats.
But in a community that welcomes bikers and does its best to share the road, cyclists need to remember that this compromise works both ways.
Traffic-heavy areas in Carrboro and Chapel Hill see a large number of cyclists every day, especially when students return to campus in the fall.
North Carolina law states that bicycles are considered vehicles on the road and therefore must abide by laws pertaining to their use on the roads.
Laws include using hand gestures to signal to other vehicles and following road signs and traffic signals as if driving an automobile.
However, these and other laws are often ignored by bikers.
Bicyclists should remember that it is not just up to the vehicles surrounding them to be conscientious of their driving. Cyclists have to be mindful of their actions and take care of themselves.
When they fail to follow traffic laws, bikers are very susceptible to accidents which could cause serious harm.
Accidents will be avoided with defensive riding and a keen awareness of the surrounding traffic conditions.
In 2009, Chapel Hill and Carrboro saw a combined total of 19 citations given to bicyclists by police officers.
Charlotte Lewis, an administrative assistant for the Carrboro Police Department, said most officers will not cite bicyclists unless they see them blatantly breaking the law.
But it is not rare to see a biker continue through a red light or change course without signaling. Actions such as these are dangerous to other vehicles on the road as well as to the riders themselves.
Riding a bicycle is a privilege our community is fortunate enough to enjoy and welcome, but bikers need to understand the gravity of their actions.
Bicyclists and automobile drivers need to follow traffic laws and share the road to ensure the safety of our community.
(Editorial for the Daily Tar Heel http://www.dailytarheel.com/index.php/article/2010/06/the_rules_of_the_road)