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May is Bicycle Safety Month

Before the summer heat sets in and the crack of baseball bats can be heard around the neighborhood, the month of May has been dedicated to bicycle safety.  Many of us participate in the leisurely activity of biking with our family or wake up in the early morning hours to pedal-out for exercise. Whatever the case, the exercise and enjoyment of cycling is one we should not overlook when it comes to safety.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Safety Administration (NTHSA), two percent (2%) of all traffic fatalities in 2012 were due to bicyclists being hit by a vehicle. This accounted for over 726 cyclists’ (those on bicycles) deaths and an additional 49,000 riders were injured.  However, there is more than one type of cyclist: non-motorized vehicles, tricycles and unicycles. For those operating a two-wheel bicycle, there was a 6 percent (6%) jump in fatalities from 2011 to 2012.

The subject needs to be discussed not only to those operating motor vehicles, but also those riding a bicycle. Both parties need to be responsible for their actions and keep in mind one another when sharing the road. For bicyclists, the most important step they can take is always wearing a helmet. It is the single most effective way to prevent a head injury. Bike riders also need to obey the rules of the road---stop signs, using proper signals and yielding. And last but not least, when cycling on the street, the bicyclist must be going in the same direction as traffic.

As for drivers of motor vehicles, it is important to always share the road with cyclists. When passing a bicyclist there must be three (3) feet between the car and the bicycle. Motorists should always look in their rearview mirrors before opening doors or pulling out of a parking space. Lastly, just as motorists yield, signal and watch for other motorists, they must do the same to cyclists.

Whether you are making your way home after a long day at work or hopping on a bike to get exercise, the importance of safety should always be on your mind. Be respectful of all commuters and remember to share the road!

For more information about this article, contact Kaine Law.

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