Bicycling and walking are carbon-free means of transportation. Rural areas, like Charlotte, generally lack safety infrastructure that supports biking and walking, making it all the more important for all users of the roaddrivers, bikers, and walkersto understand their responsibilities for safely sharing the road.

Cars:

  • Pass bikes/pedestrians only when safe. Cyclists and pedestrians have a right to be on the road. Don’t pass until it is safe. When you do, plan ahead so you can pass with at least the recommended 4 feet of clearance in compliance with VT laws. This may mean waiting behind the bicyclist or pedestrian until oncoming traffic has cleared.

  • Don’t pass stopped school buses. Children are our most vulnerable road users. There is never a good reason to pass a stopped school bus.

Bikes:

  • Obey all traffic laws. Bicyclists have many of the same rights as drivers, but they also have many of the same responsibilities. For example, bike riders have to make a complete stop at stop signs and red lights.

  • Ride in the same direction as traffic. Riding against traffic is dangerous. Follow the law (and common sense) and ride in the same direction as cars. 

  • Ride to the right. Ride on the right side of the rightmost lane. Exceptions: if there are hazards in the road, if you are turning left, if you are in a right-turn lane and not planning on turning right, or to stay out of the “door zone” of parked cars. Stay as far right as is safe: generally at least two to three feet from the edge of the road. Ride two abreast (two bikes side by side) only where not prohibited by local ordinance.

Pedestrians:

  • Wear bright clothing. Reflective clothing will help you to be seen, especially at night. 

  • Use lights at night. Use a headlamp or carry a good flashlight when walking along rural and unlighted roads.

  • No crosswalk? Yield to cars. If there is no crosswalk nearby, you may cross the street anywhere you like, but only when there is a safe gap in traffic.

  • No sidewalk? Walk facing traffic. If there isn’t a sidewalk, walk on the left side of the road facing oncoming traffic.

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Local Motion provides additional resources to make sure that you stay informed and safe:

Vermont Safe Streets Network

Summary of State Biking Laws