The Outer Banks is a paradise for the vacationer who enjoys exploring. Around here, you truly never know what you will find along our beaches. One of the best ways to explore our area is on bicycle. The Outer Banks’ beautiful neighborhoods, trails, and bike paths are very convenient for those who enjoy traveling via bicycle. The most popular bikes to ride in town are beach cruisers, which offer an extremely relaxed and comfortable ride. If you plan on riding your bike around the Outer Banks, be sure to do so in a safe manner. Remember, use a bike light (frog light) with night riding and please bike safely. For laws, policies and bike maps of the Outer Banks, we recommend checking out the Outer Banks Bicycle & Pedestrian Safety Coalition and NC Bicycle Laws & Policies. Read below for a few extremely important bicycle safety tips.
Use the Bike Path
Many Outer Banks beach towns have a path for the use of cyclists, walkers, and runners that sits next to the beach road (HWY 12/South Va. Dare Trail). Make an effort to use these paths as much as possible as they are much safer than riding on the beach road itself. You will be able to enjoy your ride knowing that you are out of harm’s way. We understand that bikers will not always be able to use the bike path, and that there are certain situations when using the road is necessary. When riding a bike you need to know the rules: Ride with traffic, not against it. For further information regarding bike laws and policies, visit the NCDOT Bicycle Laws Page.
Avoid the Bypass when Possible
The only time you should ride your bike on the bypass is when you have to cross over it to reach your destination. Other than that, be safe and steer clear of the bypass. Between the side streets and designated bike paths, there are plenty of options for bike travel that are much safer than the bypass.
Use Stop Lights when Crossing Bypass
One of the most dangerous actions cyclists can take is to cross the bypass in a random area. Motorists are often not alert enough to spot someone on a bicycle if they are not looking for them. Cross the bypass at an intersection in which there is a stop light. That way, when you cross the bypass motorists will be alert.
It is just as much the cyclists’ responsibility to remain alert when traveling along the Outer Banks as it is the motorists.’ When riding on the bike paths, always keep an eye out for cars backing out of driveways and passing pedestrians.
Don’t Ride at Night
It is very difficult to be seen on your bicycle at night time. While reflectors help, they are not very effective in alerting drivers of your presence. It is for these reasons that it is best to avoid riding your bike at night.
Riding a bike is a great way to check out everything the Outer Banks has to offer and have a good time while doing so. Use these safety tips to ensure you get from point A to point B in a safe fashion.
Here are some great local routes to explore:
Wright Brothers Bikeway
Connecting the most heavily populated areas of the northern Outer Banks, this 16-mile route begins in Kitty Hawk and technically finishes up in south Nags Head. From the beginning, cyclists will ride through lightly-traveled roads, around the Kitty Hawk Bay, and behind the Wright Brothers National Memorial, merging onto a side path that leads to the ocean.
This route gives riders the option of joining up with the two routes mentioned below for additional riding options, and also the ability to visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial, Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve, and Jockey’s Ridge State Park, all of which will require crossing a major highway, so be sure to exercise extreme caution.
Mountains to Sea
The state’s Mountains to Sea cross-state route begins in Murphy in the west and ends in Manteo. Entering the Outer Banks from the south, the route comes in from Stumpy Point, Manns Harbor and across the Virginia Dare Bridge onto Roanoke Island. The bridge features a six-foot shoulder and bicycle-safe railings to provide riders extra safety while crossing the 65-feet-high bridge. The views of the Croatan Sound are beautiful as you pass over, and once you’re in Manteo, the shopping, dining and site-seeing abounds around the quaint, historic OBX town.
The Ten Mile Loop
Geared towards the more casual cyclist, this route runs through Kill Devil Hills and Kitty Hawk and connects residential areas to both the ocean and the sound. This route also provides access to the Wright Brothers National Memorial and multiple beach accesses as well. A nice, easy ride with plenty of opportunity to stop and enjoy the water on both sides of the island, this loop is the perfect ride for the entire family!
*Bonus Route: Corolla
A path covering about 10 miles throughout the town of Corolla allows cyclists and beach cruisers to circle some of the area’s most beloved attractions, including the Currituck Beach Lighthouse, Whalehead in Historic Corolla and many of the amazing local shops and restaurants to boot!
For detailed maps and more information on these three bike routes, click: here. Remember to always follow the NC bicycling Laws and be sure to exercise caution, especially at intersections and driveways!