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May is National Bicycle Safety Month


Wed, May 29th 2024 11:10 am

AAA offers bike safety tips as cycling fatalities increase

By AAA of Western and Central New York

May is National Bicycle Safety Month and, before the month wraps up, AAA is sharing advice for both cyclists and drivers. Every day, countless individuals of all ages bicycle along sidewalks and streets across the country – and, unfortunately, cycling fatalities are on the rise. With summer set to arrive in just weeks, cyclists should be aware that cycling deaths are highest from June to September.

According to the latest figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1,105 bicyclists were killed in traffic crashes in the U.S. in 2022 – that’s up almost 18% from 2020. Bicyclist deaths most often occur between 6 and 9 p.m., and usually in urban areas. Failing to yield the right of way is the highest factor in fatal bike crashes, followed by bicyclists not being visible.

While cycling is good for the environment, good for physical health, and is cheaper than owning and operating a vehicle, it comes with unnecessary risks. AAA and NHTSA want to protect bicyclists by educating responsible and conscientious motorists while also encouraging bicyclists to practice smart riding habits by riding safely and always wearing a helmet.

Bicycles are a legitimate form of transportation, and bicyclists are legal drivers of vehicles. Yet, many bicyclists feel they are not respected by motorists and must fight for their place on the road. Bicyclists and motorists can both benefit from reviewing the following safety tips and sharing the road.

Tips for bicyclists

√ Follow the same rules of the road as other roadway users, including riding in the same direction as traffic and following all the same traffic signs and signals. Signal all turns.

√ Wear a bicycle helmet every time and on every ride.

√ Be visible by wearing bright colors during the day, reflective gear in low light conditions, and use lights at night.

√ Remember that respect is a two-way street. Show motorists the same courtesy that you expect from them.

Tips for drivers

√ Stay alert – avoid all distractions while driving.

√ Yield to bicyclists when turning.

√ Make a visual check for bicyclists by scanning mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic.

√ Slow down and give at least 3 feet of clearance when passing.

√ Never honk your horn at a bicyclist – it could cause them to swerve into traffic or go off the roadway and crash.

Did you know AAA Western and Central New York offers bicycle service with every membership? A bicycle will be transported by AAA when it has become disabled or inoperable and can be reached from a normally traveled road by a AAA service vehicle. For those stranded on a bike path, the AAA service vehicle will meet the rider at the closest point of entry for motor vehicles. Towing is provided to the location of the member’s choosing, according to the terms of the individual’s AAA membership. Learn more at www.AAA.com/Bike.

As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 860,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.

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