May is Bicycle Safety Month

9910525_mMay is bicycle safety month, and a great time for bicyclists and drivers to brush up on the basics of bicycling. In 2012, 726 people were killed in bicycle vs. automobile collisions and an estimated 49,000 bicyclists were injured in bicycle accidents. We often hear about bicycle safety for children, but adults are at risk too. In 2012, the average age of those killed in bicycle crashes with motor vehicles was 42 years old.

Safety Tips for Bicyclists

  • Always wear a helmet and make sure the helmet you choose fits properly.
  • Stay alert and focused. Besides cars, you also need to look out for stationary obstacles, pedestrians, and animals.
  • Always follow the rules of the road. Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists.
  • Communicate – use hand signals and make eye contact with drivers and pedestrians. Communicate verbally when appropriate, such as when approaching a pedestrian or another bicyclist from behind.
  • Be courteous.
  • Check your local laws before riding on the sidewalk. Some jurisdictions allow it, but in many places it is against the law.
  • Ride on bike paths and in bicycle lanes whenever possible.

Safety Tips for Drivers

With more and more bicyclists on the road, one of the biggest dangers is simply lack of awareness of drivers. Many drivers simply aren’t looking for bicycles. As a driver, there are several things you can do to reduce the risk of a collision with a bicycle:

  • Pay attention. Distracted driving is dangerous for everyone on the road.
  • Check in your mirrors and blind spots before pulling out into traffic from the curb.
  • Look for bicyclists before opening your car door.
  • Remember to yield to bicyclists when turning.
  • Be careful when passing a bicycle. Slow down and give them at least three feet of clearance.
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