May is Bicycle Safety Month, a good time for motorists and cyclists to remember that roadway safety is everyone’s responsibility. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) promotes bicycle safety to encourage everyone to share the roads safely, responsibly, and respectfully.
“Bicycling is an excellent way to enjoy California in a safe and environmentally friendly way,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. “Bicyclists are reminded to stay vigilant when riding and always follow the rules of the road. During the month of May, the CHP is actively encouraging cycling and is providing opportunities to learn bicycle safety.”
The CHP will hold bicycle rodeos and other events at its offices throughout California for Bicycle Safety Month. Helmets will be provided at no charge to children who do not have them. The National Safety Council reports that cyclists who wear a helmet reduce their risk of head injury by an estimated 60 percent. California law requires cyclists under age 18 to wear a helmet, but it is a good idea for all who ride.
Total bicycle collisions have declined in each of the past four years in California, from 13,378 in 2013, to 11,617 in 2016, according to preliminary data from the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System. From 2007 to 2014, the cyclist was found to be at fault 56.7 percent of the time in bicycle-involved collisions. The most common collision factors are riding on the wrong side of the road not yielding the right-of-way to a vehicle, and improper turning. The number of cyclists killed in collisions has varied: 164 in 2013, 142 in 2014, 153 in 2015, and 143 in 2016.
Recent California legislation addresses roadway safety for both cyclists and motorists. Starting in 2016, cyclists, like other roadway users, must pull over to let other vehicles pass if five or more vehicles are lined up behind them. Since 2014, California drivers have been required to give bicycles three feet of clearance when passing. If three feet is not possible, the driver must slow down and pass safely.
Motorists are encouraged to expect bicyclists on the roadway, be patient on narrow roads, and share the road. Cyclists are reminded to go with the traffic flow, ride in the same direction as other vehicles, and obey all traffic laws.
The mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security.