Be a “Roll Model” for Bicycle Safety Awareness Month

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has jus issued a press release announcing their partnership with the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for Bicycle Safety Awareness Month. They’re hoping to educate motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians about improving cyclist safety and the rules of the road. They’re calling on responsible cyclists to be “Roll Models” for all roadway users in California. They’re not just focusing on the cyclists either. They also want to promote the importance of following traffic rules for all roadway users.

Bicycle Crash Facts

• In 2011, 142 bicyclists were killed in California.
• Cyclist deaths accounted for five percent of the total collision fatalities in California in 2011.
• In 2010, nearly 800 bicyclists were killed in traffic crashes across the U.S.
• An estimated 515,000 emergency room visits were due to bicycle-related injuries in 2010.
• Fatal and non-fatal bicycle crashes cost an estimated $5 billion a year for lifetime medical costs and productivity losses.

Improving Cyclist Visibility and Safety

Being a “Roll Model” means always following the rules of the road, wearing protective gear and being visible. Cyclists can improve their visibility by wearing bright colors, and using reflectors and flashing lights on their bikes. Improving cyclist safety can only go so far though. Drivers need to share the road with other users. Bicycle riders are encouraged to exercise additional caution when approaching driveways and making turns at intersections. Don’t think just because you’re wearing high-visibility clothing that drivers are paying attention.

Sharing the Road

Caltrans has just released survey results that show that the percentage of California residents walking, biking or using public transportation has more than doubled since the year 2000. Even when cyclists wear helmets and high-visibility clothing, they can still become seriously or fatally injured by drivers who are distracted or impaired. Motorists need to look out for cyclists and pedestrians to make sure the roadway is safe for all users. Officials with the OTS are calling on California motorists to put down the distractions when they’re behind the wheel. You can’t safely share the road with vulnerable pedestrians and cyclists, if you’re texting or checking Facebook.

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