Officers from Santa Barbara Area California Highway Patrol (CHP) office respond to Isla Vista several times a year to investigate injury traffic crashes involving bicyclists.

While most minor incidents, go unreported, accidents involving bikes often result in the cyclist being taken to the hospital. Bike and pedestrian accidents are reported as the No. 3 cause of trauma seen at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

In an effort to reduce the number of crashes involving cyclists, especially when it is dark out, local agencies will give away about 1,000 bike lights, reflectors, and bicycle helmets, and provide bike safety information, 6-7 p.m. Feb. 15 at 6550 Pardall Road, in front of Pardall Center.

Participating in the event will be local law enforcement, Isla Vista Community Services District, UCSB student leaders, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, and community volunteers.

To address ongoing bicycle safety concerns on and around the UCSB campus, the CHP has been meeting with UCSB faculty, student leaders, Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office, and the University of California Police Department.

One of the safety concerns identified in the meetings was that bicyclists ride at night without the required lighting.

Hoping to take a proactive approach to bicycle safety, rather than writing hundreds of traffic tickets to force compliance, the Santa Barbara California Highway Patrol acquired 1,000 removable bike lights, which can easily be mounted to and removed from bike handlebars.

At the Feb. 15 event, officers, students and volunteers will provide bicycle safety information and encourage students to take and use the lights on their bicycles. The hope is to make bike riders visible during darkness, make the cycling environment safer, reduce injuries, and reduce property damage.

Funding for the program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.