CHP reminds cyclists and motorists to share the road safely

 During May, National Bicycle Safety Month, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) reminds motorists and bicyclists to share the road safely and courteously.  Bicycle safety is important every day, but activities planned during May will focus on safely sharing the road.

 “Whether you are driving a car or motorcycle, walking or bicycling, it is important to remember that the road belongs to everyone,” said CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley.  “Regardless of a person’s mode of transportation, we all have a responsibility to know and follow the law.”

 Bicycle riders and vehicle drivers must follow many of the same laws, including stopping at stop signs, signaling turns, not being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, pulling off the roadway if five or more vehicles are lined up behind them, yielding to pedestrians, and not driving distracted. California also requires motorists to allow at least three feet of clearance when passing a bicycle. 

 Data from the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System indicates that during the past five years, 738 bicyclists were killed in collisions and another 61,000 were injured.  The data shows that improper turning and bicycling under the influence of drugs or alcohol are the major causes of injury or death.

 “Bicycle Safety Month is a great occasion for Californians, whether out with friends, family, or on their own, to strap on a helmet, hop on a bike, and see just how fun and welcoming our streets and bike paths have become,” said Rhonda Craft, Director of the Office of Traffic Safety.  "Californians now see biking as a real transportation option.  The key is to ensure that biking is safe for everyone."

 The University of California, Davis, Trauma Prevention Program has reported that 50 percent of bicycle deaths are from head injuries.  California law requires that all riders under age 18 wear a helmet, but helmets are important for riders of all ages.  Eighty-seven percent of bicyclist deaths tracked nationally are persons ages 20 and older.

 Many CHP offices throughout California have activities planned for Bicycle Safety Month.  Safety rodeos and educational presentations will help the CHP promote safe behavior to protect both bicyclists and drivers.