Cindy Speaker: Good afternoon and welcome to our broadcast today. My name is Cindy Speaker. I have with me as my guest, attorney David Daggett of Daggett Shuler, Attorneys at Law. David, how are you?
David Daggett: Good, Cindy. Good to be with you.
Cindy Speaker: Good to be with you.
David Daggett: Yeah. The weather’s warmed up. It’s getting nice out. It’s super.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah. So, have you been bicycling yet? We’re going to talk about that.
David Daggett: Absolutely. I’m starting to …
Cindy Speaker: You have been.
David Daggett: I’m starting to ramp up my mileage and get in good shape.
Cindy Speaker: Oh, excellent. Well, about a year ago, we talked about the new bicycles laws and today, I’d like to revisit that, talk a little bit about just kind of a refresher course on that. Any updates or anything like that you can share with us?
David Daggett: Sure. Sure. So, we’re gonna attach the bicycles laws ebook that we published for free. We’ll attach that. I guess the best place is to put that below after we’re done recording, maybe?
Cindy Speaker: Sure. Sure.
David Daggett: Okay. So, we’ll attach that ebook. You can go back and you can refresh that. The updates are/is I think cyclists … Remember the two laws. There were two sides of it. It gave cyclists some additional rights, but it also gave cyclists some additional responsibilities.
Cindy Speaker: Right.
David Daggett: And I think that’s good. It goes both ways and I think cyclists, if taken that seriously … I don’t think motorists generally know about those new laws, but when cyclists … There’s a theory in life I call the theory of reciprocity is that when we change our behavior, others change their behavior commensurate with that. Does that make sense?
Cindy Speaker: It really does. Yeah.
David Daggett: So, with bicycle safety, I always impart to other cyclists the rule of reciprocity is very very important. So, basically I think there’s three parts of bicycle safety. One is following the rules of the road. We uncover each of these three, but one is following the rules of the road. Second is being visible and third is being a good ambassador. I think all three of those feed into the rule of reciprocity that I talked about and helps motor … If we help motorists, then they help us and it’s better for the cycling community.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah. David, have you found that you’ve made any changes in your cycling as you interact with cars since the new laws came out a year ago?
David Daggett: Well, it’s interesting. The thing that I have done is, we talked about this a year ago, the quality of LED lighting for bicycles has gone up and the price has come down. So, now you can get very effective very bright lights at a lower price. Something that I’m doing that I’m seeing other cyclists starting to do also is I have daytime running lights on my bike. In the old days, you used to have your lights only at dusk or at dark. I put my lights on every single time I got out for a ride. I have an extremely bright flashing front light. That’s a white left. Then I have three flashing lights on the back of my bike. I have one that is on my seat post going back and then I have two more that I fit on my seat stays. Now, cyclists will know what the seat stays are on their bike, but I line them up one above each other. They’re all three flashing LEDs. I turn them on so that they’re not in sync with each other. So, one flashes, then this one flashes, then this one flashes and that one flashes and so it’s kind of going like that with the three different lights.
David Daggett: I think it has been remarkable, the change that I’ve seen in motorists dealing with me since I’ve gone to those three flashing lights on back and the one flashing light on front is obvious … And it’s the theory of reciprocity we talked about is I’m watching out for my own safety. I’m helping them because I’m extremely visible and they then have a positive attitude towards cyclists.
David Daggett: I think I told this story once before. I was riding way out in the country on a country road and a great big jacked up loud pickup truck comes up next to me and he revs it as he comes up and he rolls down the window and I thought uh-oh, what’s he going to do? And he leans over and he says, “Hey, I appreciate you having that bright light on the back of your bike. I could see you from a mile away.” But the lesson is that I helped him. My light helped him and because it helped him, he had a better toward me. That is the biggest thing I’ve changed.
David Daggett: If you take a poll among just non-cycling motorists as to the changes in the bicycle laws, I don’t think that motorists … I’d bet you not one or 2% of them even know that that happened.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah.
David Daggett: Okay. So, they’re not aware of that, but we know it’s changed. We have upped our game a little bit. The theory of reciprocity kicks in and it’s better for cyclists and motorists.
Cindy Speaker: That’s a good point.
David Daggett: Yeah. Yeah. I think I’m seeing that. So, to review the laws real real quickly, they changed the laws. Now, at night, rather than just having reflectors on your bike, you have to have either lights on your bike or a reflective vest that’s visible from 500 feet away. So, that’s one big one. Second big one is that … under the old laws, you had to use your left hand to signal where you were going. That’s kind of an ancient law from back in the days when cars didn’t have turn signals and the only way for the driver of the car to signal where he was going is stick his arm out the window for a turn this way, this way, or to stop. Well, that’s kind of an arcane law. So, now you can signal with either arm and what I’ve noticed is cyclists are giving better signals when they’re getting ready to turn. You know, turning right, turning left. Believe it or not, just that is extremely helpful to motorists.
David Daggett: Then the third one, and I think this is really a big one is, and motorists don’t know this, is we now have what’s called the four foot rule, meaning when a motorist pass a bicyclist, it has to be four feet. The law’s more complicated than that. It’s gotta be in a road with a no passing zone and that sort of thing but that’s most of our city roads and most of our single-lane country roads. So, you have to pass by four feet instead of by two feet. Everybody knows that when you’re riding a bike, getting buzzed by a car at two feet as opposed to four feet, that is a big deal. So, that was a big change. I don’t know that I’m seeing a significant difference in that, although when I’m talking to people in a very positive manner about cycling, particularly to non-cyclists, I remind them of the four foot rule. So, I think that word is probably spreading a little bit.
Cindy Speaker: That’s good, yeah.
David Daggett: Yeah. And those are the basic changes under the new laws. There’s also increases in fines and penalties if a motorist runs a cyclist off the road or if a cyclist gets hurt or something like that. Those roads are now the same laws that motorcyclists have enjoyed for years. So, I think that’s a positive thing, but I’ve seen cyclists up their game. Very very important. So, on the three things we talked about, I think we’ve talked about lighting quite a bit. Cyclists still need to follow the laws. I was biking the other days and of course, I was catching them but there was some guys in front of me that I was catching. The stop light turns red and those two games, they buzzed right through the stop light and I stop, but you could almost see and feel the motorist going, “Come on.” They ran the red light. That doesn’t reflect good on any of us.
David Daggett: The other thing … Pardon me. There’s pollen in the air. I’m going to sneeze, maybe. I think it’s coming. I’ll try to hold it in if I can. I guess that’s proof that this is really live and not staged.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah. Right?
David Daggett: So, cyclists following the laws, I think it’s very important. That gets back to our rule of reciprocity and I know I’ve said a lot of times but that holds true. Then, number three that we talked about right at the beginning is being good ambassadors and that’s a combination of everything that we’ve talked about. The one thing … I don’t have it in my repertoire to give an obscene hand gesture. Some do. That doesn’t help. That doesn’t help me. It doesn’t help the other cyclists on the road and I think one of things that we have to remember when we’re cycling is the conduct that we do on the road might not just affect us, but it affects the next cyclist coming down the road tomorrow or next week because what you’ve embedded is a negative perception in the mind of that motorist. As a cycling community, we simply have to come together, do the best we possibly can to spread positive messages, be good ambassadors.
David Daggett: My experience is most motorists don’t hate us. They get annoyed with us if we don’t follow the laws or they can’t see us or we’re not behaving nicely, but they want to work with us and that’s why going back, I find having the very good bright lights just makes motorists respond more favorably to you. The other thing that I do, and this is just a habit I’m in, when I’m on my handlebars and assuming it’s safe, I’m not dodging a pothole or something, every motorist that goes by me, I just give a little wave of my hand. Just give a little … You’d be surprised. They go by and they wave right back. All of a sudden, you don’t realize it, you might not even know what the person looks like. You’ve established a relationship and that is a positive relationship. That positive relationship will reflect on the next cyclist coming down the road. So, it’s one of those things you just keep passing it along and it improves.
David Daggett: Another thing … Sorry I keep throwing things in.
Cindy Speaker: No, this is great.
David Daggett: Well, one of the things that I do is I have regular routes that I ride and the reason is if you ride regular routes at approximately the same time of day, you tend to see the same motorists. Even though you don’t know them, you might not even know what they look like, again, you’re building that relationship with them and then they’re helping you on the road and that’s a very positive thing. Now-
Cindy Speaker: One of the things I love about you is that when you … It seems like no matter what the subject is, you have a way of inspiring people and I love what you’re saying about the reciprocity.
David Daggett: Yeah. I don’t-
Cindy Speaker: And being good ambassadors. What a wonderful way to inspire.
David Daggett: Yeah. I told someone the other day the good Lord didn’t give me a whole lot of brains but he gave me a positive attitude. So, you gotta use what you can, right? Yeah. No, this is interesting. My daughter … She’ll be graduating soon, but she’s in school in Durham. So, I biked to Durham last Saturday afternoon and I was on completely foreign roads. I’ve never been on them before. I just kind of mapped a little winding route through the country and I practiced these same behaviors that we talked about and I was in a strange area, people I’d never seen before, roads I’d never been on before. Every single motorist was respectful and courteous to me. That’s just an ongoing reinforcement for us that if we up our behavior, the rule of reciprocity comes in and they’re going to treat us just the same.
Cindy Speaker: I love it. I think it’s great.
David Daggett: Yeah. Yeah.
Cindy Speaker: I think it’s great and I love what your perspective … One of the things I think about is exactly what you said. The motorists, like myself, don’t have quite the level of awareness of these laws as maybe we should. So, if you guys, as cyclists, up your game and become the good ambassadors, that definitely is very helpful to the whole situation in keeping both parties safe.
David Daggett: Both parties. Absolutely. Absolutely.
Cindy Speaker: Right.
David Daggett: The other thing I’ll say … Cyclists, we all have a fear of people texting and driving. Those very bright LED lights, they tend to catch attention. So, even if somebody’s texting, when they peak up, they’re going to see that and maybe you’ve helped them because you reorient them back to the road.
Cindy Speaker: Yes. Yes. Great stuff.
David Daggett: Yeah. So, if anybody needs any other information, we have information on our website. We are going to link the ebook here, which is a very … It’s very short, easy to read. We’re happy to help in any way we can.
Cindy Speaker: David, give us your contact information.
David Daggett: So, 336-724-1234. The website is DaggettShulerLaw.com or Google me, David Daggett, and all sorts of bicycling stuff will come up.
Cindy Speaker: Outstanding. Outstanding. Great. Well, listen David. Thanks for your time today.
David Daggett: Thanks, Cindy.
Cindy Speaker: Okay. We’ll talk to you again soon.
David Daggett: Okay. Thanks. Bye-bye.
Cindy Speaker: And those of you watching either live or by replay, if it’s not linked right … We’ll get it linked as fast as we can. If you don’t see it right now, come back in about a half hour. We’ll have the ebook link, so you can get all that good information that David has for you.
David Daggett: Oh, great. Thank you.
Cindy Speaker: Thanks, everybody. Bye now.