May is National Bicycle Safety Month. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) and California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) want to remind motorists and bicyclists alike to be courteous and share the road safely. Although bicycle safety is something that should be observed every day of the year, the month of May is dedicated to encouraging drivers and bicyclists to do their part to help reduce deaths and injuries on California’s roads.
“Safety should always be the priority, whether you are operating a motor vehicle, walking, or riding a bicycle,” said CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley. “Caution on the roadway will help ensure you reach your destination safely.”
A person riding a bicycle has the same rights and is required to follow the same rules of the road as motorists. Bicyclists are required to stop at stop signs, obey traffic signs and signals, indicate turns, pull off the roadway if five or more vehicles are lined up behind them, and yield to pedestrians. Just like motorists, bicyclists are also subject to laws of not being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Bicyclists should also eliminate distractions while riding. California also requires motorists to allow at least three feet of clearance when passing a bicycle.
According to the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, preliminary data indicates that during the past five years, 772 bicyclists were killed and more than 59,000 were injured in collisions. The data also shows that riding on the wrong side of the roadway and right of way violations are the major causes of bicycle-involved collisions.
“Hopping on a bike is not only a hobby for many Californians, but also the main way they get around,” OTS Director Rhonda Craft said. “Bicycle Safety Month is a reminder for all of us to share the road responsibly.”
During the month of May, CHP officers throughout the state will be conducting bicycle safety rodeos and educational presentations to help promote safe behavior to protect both bicyclists and drivers.
The mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security. ■