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Originally published: 2013-05-30 10:02:53
Last modified: 2013-05-30 10:03:38

Our View: Enjoy the drive but remember: 'Share the Road'

It was in 1982 that the North Carolina Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation first undertook a statewide safety campaign with the theme, "bicycles are vehicles." 

Five years later, in 1987, DBPT worked with others within the North Carolina Department of Transportation to craft a "share the road" sign. The division began installing those signs along roadways that year.

On Monday, all of this again became important for drivers in the High Country.

Although bicycling is an almost year-round activity for some cyclists in Boone and surrounding areas, Monday was Memorial Day, the unofficial kickoff for summertime activities and a signal that our roadways will soon be a fully shared commodity between motorized and unmotorized vehicles.

Indeed, spring temperatures, sunny weather during much of the past week and the holiday have combined to bring to our roadways an influx of cyclists, bicycle riders eager to test or reclaim our mountain roads.

It's vital that motorists are aware that bicycles have an equal right to use the state's roadways, with the exception of limited access freeways and interstate highways.

It's also vital that bicyclists ride as responsibly as vehicle operators.

In other words, it's up to everyone operating a vehicle -- motorized or nonmotorized -- to share the road.

In the High Country, there is no shortage of signage reminding us of this. "Share the Road" signs are placed in certain heavy traffic areas to alert motorists to the presence of bicycles.

And in the High Country, given our blind curves and winding roads, those signs are not ones to be ignored. "Share the Road" signs can be especially helpful in those situations when motorists can't always see around the next corner.

Our roadways are narrow and not always conducive to even two vehicles passing abreast. Add in a cyclist on a barely existent shoulder, and the need for responsible vehicle operation is clear.

It's nearly summer in the High County. Enjoy the drive -- and drive so others can enjoy it, too.