California ____ May is National Bike Safety Month, and the California Highway
Patrol (CHP) is reminding motorists and bicyclists to share responsibility for
roadway safety. California’s weather allows bicyclists to enjoy riding many
months throughout the year. Although bicycle safety should be practiced every
day, the month of May has been set aside to draw awareness to how we can all
help minimize bicycle injuries and deaths.
important as it is for drivers to be mindful of bicyclists, those who ride
their bicycles, must exercise safe practices and ride smart," said CHP
Commissioner Joe Farrow. "With all roadway users doing their part, we can
help reduce the number of tragedies."
2014 statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, each year
about 2 percent of collision victims are bicyclists. In a majority of the
bicycle deaths, the most serious injuries are to the head, highlighting the
importance of wearing a bicycle helmet. Helmet use has been estimated to reduce
the odds of head injury by 50 percent. Bicyclists and motorists should be
especially aware that a large portion of collisions that result in death occur
in the late afternoon or evening. The National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration reported that 48 percent of bicyclist deaths occurred between 4
p.m. and midnight.
the roadway have all the rights and responsibilities of a vehicle driver and
are responsible for complying with the law. Riders must also obey the laws of
the road, such as stopping at stop signs and stop lights, and yielding to
pedestrians. Riders can increase their safety by wearing reflective clothing,
wearing a helmet, watching for parked cars, staying alert at all times, looking
before turning, and riding with the flow of traffic.
In recent years,
California has implemented traffic safety laws to help improve conditions on
the road for both bicyclists and motorists. The “Three Feet for Safety Act”
became operative on September 16, 2014, and requires motorists to allow at
least three feet of clearance when passing a bicyclist. Also, effective January
1, 2016, the slow-moving vehicle statute was clarified to require any vehicle,
including bicyclists, proceeding upon a highway at a speed less than the normal
speed of traffic, to pull off the roadway if it has five or more vehicles lined
up behind it.
to be aware of bicyclists on the roadways and take certain precautions when
sharing the road. Drivers should follow a few safety tips to help reduce
bicycle-involved collisions, such as: slow down, be patient, share the road,
look twice for bicyclists, and expect bicyclists on the roadway. Data from the
Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System shows that in 2013 there were 164 bicyclists
killed in collisions statewide, which represents an 11.5 percent increase from
the previous year. Since 2013, the number of bicyclists killed in collisions
has dropped each year. In 2015, there were 133 bicyclists killed in collisions
statewide. This represents a 23 percent decrease from 2013.
number of bicyclists killed has declined recently, there are still too many
fatal collisions occurring throughout the state. There is work to be done on
the part of both bicyclists and motorists. “With the month-long promotion of
bicycle safety awareness throughout the state, we hope to see the number of
incidents involving bicyclists continue to decline,” added Commissioner Farrow.
“Through education, mutual respect, and observance of traffic laws we can help
make the roadways a safer place for all.”
The mission of
the CHP is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service and Security to the
people of California.