As warmer weather begins to arrive across the country, communities can expect to see more bicyclists on the road. National Bicycle Safety Month in May reminds us to examine our habits as drivers and riders so we can learn ways to share the road more effectively.
Every year, hundreds of bicyclists are dying and tens of thousands more are injured in preventable crashes. In fact, the number of people killed on bicycles is on the rise, with 840 bicyclists killed in crashes in 2016, the highest number on record since 1991, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
“Traveling on the road requires care and courtesy,” said Amy Stracke, managing director of traffic safety advocacy for AAA – The Auto Club Group and executive director of the Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation. “It’s imperative for motorists and bicyclists to be aware of each other and remember that we are all trying to get to our destination safely.”
In a recent AAA Consumer Pulse™ survey, the majority of bicyclists who ride on the road indicated that being hit by a vehicle was their number one concern (69%), followed by distracted drivers (64%). For this reason, AAA – The Auto Club Group and its Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation work to promote bicycle safety by encouraging all road users to put away distractions and share the road.
To provide an additional level of safety for bicyclists, AAA – The Auto Club Group offers bicycle roadside service with all membership levels, allowing riders who encounter a mechanical problem on the road to call AAA for assistance.
For a safer, more enjoyable riding environment for everyone, AAA recommends the following tips:
- Ride on the roadway or shared pathways, rather than on sidewalks.
- 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 properly fitted 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 head and tail lights at night.
- Remember that respect is a two-way street. Show motorists the same courtesy that you expect from them.
- Stay alert — avoid all distractions while driving.
- Yield to bicyclists while turning.
- In bad weather, give bicyclists extra passing room, just as you would other motorists.
- Look for bicyclists by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic.
- Slow down and give at least three feet of clearance when passing.
- Reduce your speed when passing bicyclists, especially when the road is narrow.
- NEVER honk your horn at a bicyclist — it could cause them to swerve into traffic or off the roadway and crash.
- Always check for bicyclists before opening your car door.
- Children on bicycles are often unpredictable — expect the unexpected and look out for them.
About Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation
Established by AAA – The Auto Club Group in 2010, Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation, Inc. (ACGTSF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and public charity dedicated to producing a significant and continuous reduction in traffic crashes, injuries and deaths in the communities targeted by its efforts. ACGTSF provides programs, education and outreach to increase public awareness about the importance of traffic safety and improve driving behavior. ACGTSF is funded by voluntary, tax-deductible contributions from organizations and individuals who support ACGTSF’s purpose. Visit www.AAA.com/foundation for more information.
About The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, insurance, financial services and travel offerings to over 9.5 million members across eleven states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 58 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.
About AAA Consumer Pulse
The AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey was conducted online among residents living in The Auto Club Group territory from February 7, 2018 – February 28, 2018. A total of 4,715 residents completed the survey, with 2,601 owning a bicycle. Total results have a maximum margin of error of ± 1.9 percentage points. Responses are weighted by state to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the adult population (18+).