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Bicycle Safety Month Safety First Tips

Bicycling is a great way to get about and keep fit, and has a low environmental impact as well. But it’s important that both bicyclists and motorists stay aware of the need to properly share the road with each other, a fact that’s highlighted this month during Bicycle Safety Month.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging both bicyclists and motorists to have a “safety first” focus. Motorists need to keep an eye out for those on bicycles, while bicyclists need to stay safe by doing things like wearing helmets and following the rules of the road.

The message behind this year’s “Safety First” campaign is an important one. Bicycle injuries and fatalities from motor vehicle accidents have increased six percent from 2011 to 2012, with 726 bicyclist fatalists occurring in 2012 and another 49,000 injured as a result of motor vehicle crashes.

“Safety first” tips for bicyclists include:

  • Wearing properly-fitted and certified helmets.
  • Traveling in the same direction as vehicular traffic.
  • Obeying traffic signs and other rules of the road.
  • Riding in a straight line.
  • Signalling all turns
  • Staying visible through the use of bright or reflective clothing and other gear
  • Not riding while distracted or impaired.

Tips for drivers for sharing the road with bicyclists include:

  • Respecting designated bicycle lanes.
  • Allowing for at least three feet between you and a bicyclist when passing bicycles on the road.
  • Watching out for bicyclists before opening the car door, pulling out of a parking spot or making turns.
  • Yielding to bicyclists at intersections and wherever indicated.
  • Not driving while distracted or impaired.

By following these “safety first” tips, both bicyclists and motorists can share responsibility for making the roads safe for all users.