National Bicycle Safety Month: CHP reminds public to share road safely

Bikers take to the trails after the ribbon cutting for the River Village Trailhead in Santa Clarita on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017. The trailhead connects to the 11-mile Santa Clara River Trail that stretches from Interstate 5 to Sand Canyon Road. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

In light of National Bicycle Safety Month, the California Highway Patrol reminded the public to share the road safely and courteously more than ever as many people take the streets for exercise due to stay-at-home orders. 

“In this uncertain time, more people are out on the streets biking for exercise, recreation, mental health, and affordable transportation,” CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said in a statement. “Bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists must stay alert to keep everyone safe.” 

The events traditionally held throughout California by the CHP for Bicycle Safety Month may be somewhat curtailed in 2020. However, many CHP Area offices will continue to give helmets to children who do not have them. Their parents or guardians are urged to call their closest CHP office for information on how to obtain one, according to a CHP news release Friday. 

Cyclists who wear a helmet reduce their risk of head injury by an estimated 60%, according to the National Safety Council. California law requires cyclists under 18 to wear a helmet, but it is a good idea for all who ride, read the release. 

Statistics from the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System show that, during the past five years, 792 bicyclists were killed and more than 56,000 were injured in traffic crashes. 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 crashes. 

Motor vehicle drivers are reminded to give bicyclists extra room when passing — at least three feet is required by law. When turning right, drivers should look over their right shoulder to scan for bicyclists, especially when crossing into a designated bike lane. Before opening a car door, drivers should always look for passing bicyclists, especially when next to a bike lane, according to the news release. 

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