Tuesday, July 17 , 2018, 11:08 am | Overcast 67º

 
 
 
 

Police Peddle Caution Message During Bicycle Safety Month

May is Bicycle Safety Month and with the weather warming up, the Santa Barbara Police Department and California Office of Traffic Safety are highlighting how cycling is a great way to stay in shape, save money on gas, reduce pollution, and take in the sights in recreational areas.

Many cities have created cycle friendly routes complete with bike paths, bicycle parking areas and 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 3 feet 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.

According to Injury Facts, some 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 who wear a helmet reduce their risk of head injury by an estimated 60 percent, and brain injury by 58 percent. That statistic makes sense when you consider the first body part to fly forward in a collision is usually the head, and with only skin and bone to protect the brain, the results can be fatal.

California witnessed 147 bicyclist deaths in 2016, accounting for more than 4 percent of all traffic fatalities, much higher than the national average of more than 2 percent.  Nationally, 70 percent of all bicyclists who died in motor vehicle crashes in 2015 died in urban area crashes.

Over a 10-year period (2006-15), the average age of ­cyclists killed in motor vehicle crashes has steadily increased from 41 to 45.
 
— Anthony Wagner for Santa Barbara Police Department.

 

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