It all started in 1974 when the North Carolina General Assembly enacted the Bicycle and Bikeway Act that established what was then known as the North Carolina Bicycle and Bikeway Program. The name was eventually shortened to North Carolina Bicycle Program. In 1977, additional legislation was enacted that established the North Carolina Bicycle Committee.
The Bicycle Program's early years were devoted to forming a program structure, developing policy, mapping, cross-state bicycle routes, and organizing many of the safety promotions that continue today. In 1980 the Bicycle Program was given its own operating budget, staff was increased, and the mode became more autonomous. Starting in the 1980s, the NCDOT began building bicycle facilities, both as incidental parts of highway construction projects and as independent projects (View list of DBPT projects).
In April, 1992 in response to Congress' passage of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA), the Secretary of the NCDOT expanded the Bicycle Program to become the Office of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation. During the 1990s, the Office has continued its growth, both in staff and in the range of services it provides. In 1997, the office was made a full-fledged division within NCDOT and named the Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation. In 2011, in an effort to reduce NC Government spending G.S. 136-71.13, was repealed. Legislation eliminated the North Carolina Bicycle Committee and transferred the duties and responsibilities to the Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation.
In 1929 the North Carolina General Assembly approved legislation giving bicycles the legal status of vehicles on North Carolina highways, creating a positive environment for bicycling in our state. With the growth in bicycling in the 1970s came the establishment of the North Carolina Bicycle Program, now the Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation. The 2005 Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) put more emphasis on creating safe transportation alternatives for bicyclists and pedestrians. This section highlights the achievements and past programs and activities for bicycling and walking in North Carolina.
Archived Projects and Programs
The following list of projects, programs, and activities serves as an historical archive of prominent past work undertaken by the Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation. The work that the (DBPT) has accomplished in implementing bicycle and pedestrian projects and promoting safety was recognized by the NC Transportation Hall of Fame through the presentation of the organization’s Founders’ Award.
- History of Developing Bicycle Maps
- In mid-1975, the Bicycle Program, as it was then known, initiated a project to design and map a cross-state bicycle route in response to the Bicycle and Bikeway Act of 1974 that charged the NCDOT with the responsibility of developing a statewide "bikeway" system. The goal of this initial effort was to select and map a route that provided access to the major population centers of the state, linking them to state parks, historic sites and other points of interest via the more lightly-traveled roads of the extensive secondary road system. From there, the mapping program grew into what it is today.
- Walkable Communities
- In 1997, the (DBPT) sponsored a series of regional Walkable Communities Conferences to explore the concept that walking is part of every trip and is the most accessible form of transportation for people of all ages. Well-known national speakers shared their experiences and ideas with more than 1,000 people across the state, who explored how these concepts could be applied in their communities.
- Pedestrian Safety Roadshow
- In 1998, the (DBPT) began a program to train facilitators to lead Pedestrian Safety Roadshows across the state. The Roadshow was been presented in a number of communities across North Carolina with the positive results evolving from concept to reality.
- NC Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Summit
- In 2000, the (DBPT) called a statewide summit under the direction of the NC Secretary of Transportation. Government and community leaders that participated identified seven major initiatives to guide NCDOT’s efforts moving forward in the bicycle and pedestrian transportation field.
- Helmet Promotions in Local Areas
- In 2001, the NCDOT awarded more than $300,000 in federal safety funds through the Governor's Highway Safety Program to 240 local police and sheriff's departments and the Highway Patrol. The funds were used to purchase bicycle helmets for safety awareness programs in communities throughout the state.
- Over the years, the projects, programs and activities of the (DBPT) have been acknowledged through various awards, certifications, or honorable mentions. See the list below to learn about highlights from these accolades.