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May 15, 2018 > May is bicycle safety month

May is bicycle safety month

Submitted By Fremont PD and Milpitas PD

With the weather warming in the Bay Area the Fremont and Milpitas Police Departments and the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) are reminding people about how bicycling is a great way to stay in shape, save money on gas and reduce pollution.

And, just in time for National Bike Safety month in May, many cities, including Fremont, have recently created bike-friendly routes with bike paths, special bicycle parking areas and special amenities.

However, motorists and bicyclists must take extra precautions when they travel together. Riders often share the road with vehicles, which creates a host of hazards, and injuries can happen even on a designated path. In 2016, California passed legislation requiring motorists to proceed past riders with at least a 3 foot of clearance.

According to National Safety Council Injury Facts 2017, 488,123 people were treated in emergency rooms in 2015 after being injured riding a bicycle. The only sport resulting in more injuries overall was basketball, at 493,011. Football was third, at 399,873.

Injury Facts also reports that about 1,100 deaths resulted from cyclists colliding with motor vehicles in 2015. With about 80 million bike riders sharing the road with millions of motorized vehicles, the importance of safety precautions in traffic cannot be overstated.

Cyclists that wear a helmet reduce their risk of head injury by an estimated 60 percent, and brain injury by 58 percent. Those statistics make sense when you consider the first body part to fly forward in a collision is usually the head, and with nothing but skin and bone to protect the brain, the results can be fatal.

The following safety tips can save lives.

Drivers:
¥ ÒShare the roadÓ with bicyclists
¥ Be courteous; California law now mandates at least three feet of clearance when passing a bike rider
¥ Look for cyclists before opening a car door or pulling out from a parking space
¥ Yield to cyclists at intersections and as directed by signs and signals
¥ Be especially watchful for riders when making turns, either left or right
¥It is unlawful to drive in a bike lane except for 200 feet prior to make a right or left turn

Bicyclists:
¥ Wear properly fitted bicycle helmets every time they ride. If under 18 years of age, itÕs the law
¥ A helmet is the single most effective way to prevent head injury resulting from a bicycle crash
¥ Riders are considered vehicle operators; they are required to obey the same rules of the road as other vehicle operators, including obeying traffic signs, signals, and lane markings.
¥ When cycling in the street, cyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic
¥ Bicyclists should increase their visibility to drivers by wearing fluorescent or brightly colored clothing during the day, and at dawn and dusk
¥ To be noticed when riding at night, the law requires a front light and a red reflector to the rear

For additional safety, use a flashing rear light, and use retro-reflective tape or markings on equipment or clothing.

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