The month of May is National Bike Month, sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists. National Bike Month first started in 1956, and has been celebrated by communities nationwide for decades. It’s also our chance to showcase the health and environmental benefits of bicycling, and to put special emphasis on bicycle safety. Many of our own Jones & Swanson employees enjoy biking, so this is a topic that hits close to home.
According to the League of American Bicyclists, 40% of all cycling trips taken in the United States are under two miles. So, if you are fortunate enough to live near work, bicycling as an alternative mode of transportation is a healthy, fun, environmentally-friendly, and affordable way to get there.
In the 2017 report, “Where We Ride Analysis of bicycle commuting in American cities,” it highlights how between 2000 and 2017, bicycle commuting grew by 47% nationwide – that’s great news considering both the environmental and health benefits involved!
Bicycle Safety Remains a Concern
According to the latest data available, in 2017, 783 people were killed in bicycle accidents, reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Since bicycling has grown in popularity for commuting, health, and fun, it’s important that bicyclists and drivers alike pay particular attention to bicycle safety. To prevent bicycle accidents, follow these safety tips:
- Always wear a properly-fitted helmet.
- Ride a bike that fits your body. If it’s too big or too small, it’s hard to control.
- Ride a bike that is in good mechanical condition. Don’t ride a bike with bad brakes.
- If you have loose items, carry them in a backpack or strap them to the back of the bike. Do not carry them in your hands.
- Plan your route before starting your trip. Choose routes that have lower speeds and less traffic.
- Wear bright clothing and reflective gear at all times of the day.
- When riding at night, used a white front light and a red rear light and make sure your bike has reflectors.
- Tie your shoe laces and tuck them into your pant legs so they don’t catch on the bike chain while you’re riding.
- Never ride a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Follow the traffic laws.
- Ride defensively and watch for drivers who may not see you.
- Do not text or listen to music while you are riding, as these actions are distracting and can create safety hazards.
- Drive in the same direction of traffic, not against it.
- Remember, bicycle riders have the same rights as drivers, so be cautious around bike riders and give them plenty of space.
- If you approach a bicyclist, yield so they stay safe.
- On the road and in parking lots, always be on the lookout for bicyclists.
- When turning right on red, look behind you on the right for oncoming bicyclists.
- Give bicyclists plenty of room. When passing, don’t do so too closely.
- When you park on the street, look to the left behind you before opening your car door so you don’t hit a cyclist.