NHTSA 20-14
Friday, May 16, 2014
Contact: José Alberto Uclés, 202-366-9550, Public.Affairs@dot.gov


NHTSA urges bicyclists and motorists to coexist on roadways with a ‘Safety First' Focus


WASHINGTON – With good weather heralding the start of the summer bicycling season, the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is reminding bicyclists and motorists alike to share responsibility for roadway safety. This includes respecting each other's rights and obeying traffic laws when on streets or roads.

"We encourage bicycling as a great way to get to work, get in shape or just have fun, and encourage a ‘safety first' mentality for all who share America's roads," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "Whether it's drivers who keep an eye out for cyclists, or cyclists who wear a helmet and follow the rules of the road, putting safety first will save lives and reduce injuries for everyone."

NHTSA statistics show that in 2012, 726 bicyclists were killed and an additional 49,000 were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes, an increase of 6 percent from 2011 (682). The average age of bicyclists killed in traffic crashes was 43. The vast majority of these deaths occurred in urban areas (69 percent) and at non-intersections (60 percent) and involved mostly male riders (88 percent). About half of these fatalities (48 percent) occurred from 4:00 p.m. to 11:59 p.m.

"Our agency is committed to increasing safe riding behaviors among bicyclists, and heightening awareness and personal responsibility among motorists and others about safely sharing the road with bicyclists," said NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman. "All cyclists should always wear their helmets, as it is the most effective way to prevent head injury in a crash."

This safety message is being kicked off as the agency joins the League of American Bicyclists and other bicycle advocacy groups and highway safety organizations across the country in celebrating May as National Bike Month.

NHTSA offers bicyclists the following "safety first" tips:

  • Wear a properly-fitted helmet that meets Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards.
  • Check your bike before heading out: check all equipment and parts for proper fit and function, including tires, brakes, handlebars and seats.
  • Ride as a vehicle on the road; always travel in the same direction as traffic.
  • Obey traffic signs, signals and lane markings; signal all turns; and follow local laws.
  • Be predictable by riding in a straight line and use hand signals at every lane change or turn. Look ahead for traffic and obstacles.
  • Be visible: wear bright colors, reflective materials and lights on your bicycle at night.
  • Ride focused and alert: don't use electronic devices, and never ride impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Drivers of motor vehicles must share the road with bicyclists:

  • Respect designated bicycle lanes.
  • Allow at least three feet clearance when passing a bicyclist on the road.
  • Look for cyclists before opening a car door or pulling out from a parking space.
  • Yield to cyclists at intersections and as directed by signs and signals.
  • Look for cyclists when making turns, either left or right.
  • Never drive distracted or impaired. Always buckle up.

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