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NHTSA 22-15
Friday, May 15, 2015
Contact: José Alberto Uclés, 202-366-9550, Public.Affairs@dot.gov


Bicyclists and motorists urged to share the road with a ‘Safety First’ focus


WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is marking Bicycle Safety Month by reminding motorists and cyclists of the steps they should take to reverse the trend of rising numbers of cycling fatalities on the nation’s roads. Last fall, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx launched DOT’s “Safer People, Safer Streets” Initiative to make biking and walking safe for all.

“We are committed to making sure that every American can travel safely, and that includes the growing number of Americans who are choosing to commute, run errands, or stay fit on their bicycle,” said Secretary Foxx. “We’re working with state and local governments to promote safety for cyclists, but everyone who uses our roadways has a role to play in promoting safety.”

The “Safer People, Safer Streets” initiative includes an assessment of pedestrian and bicycle safety in every state and the Mayors’ Challenge, which encourages cities to take steps that will promote the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians.

NHTSA’s newly released 2013 Bicycle Traffic Safety Fact Sheet makes clear the scope of the problem. Bicyclist fatalities have increased by 19 percent since 2010. In 2013, 743 bicyclists were killed and an additional 48,000 were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes.

Key statistical findings include:

  • Bicyclists’ deaths accounted for two percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities and made up two percent of the people injured in traffic crashes during the year.
  • Of the bicyclists who died in 2013, 20 percent had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or greater.
  • 68 percent of all motor vehicle crashes in 2013 that resulted in a bicyclist fatality occurred in urban areas.
  • Over the past ten years (2004 – 2013), the average age of bicyclists killed in motor vehicle crashes has steadily increased from 39 to 44.
  • The cycling fatality rate was almost seven times greater for males than females.
  • In more than one-third of all fatal bicyclists’ crashes, alcohol was involved.

“Sharing the road means sharing responsibility for safe driving and safe biking,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. “As cycling becomes an increasingly popular transportation option, we need to increase cycling safety awareness among motorists and cyclists alike.”

NHTSA is kicking off National Bike Safety Month by joining with the League of American Bicyclists and bicycle advocacy groups and highway safety organizations across the country.

Drivers of motor vehicles must share the road with bicyclists:

  • Respect designated bicycle lanes; don’t use them for parking, passing or turning.
  • Pass bicyclists on the road with care; allow at least three feet clearance Look for cyclists before opening a car door or pulling out from a parking space.
  • Yield to bicyclists at intersections and as directed by signs and signals.
  • Look for bicyclists before making turns, either left or right.
  • Never drive distracted or impaired. Always buckle up.

Bicyclists should ride defensively:

  • Always wear a properly-fitted helmet that meets the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards.
  • Check your bike equipment before heading out: check for proper fit and function, including tires, brakes, handlebars and seats.
  • Ride in the same direction as traffic, as a vehicle on the road.
  • Obey traffic signs, signals, and lane markings; signal all turns; and follow local laws.
  • Be predictable; ride in a straight line and use hand signals when changing lanes or turning.
  • Stay focused; look ahead for traffic and obstacles in your path.
  • Be visible: wear bright colors, reflective materials and lights on your bicycle at night and in low light conditions.
  • Stay alert: don’t use electronic devices.
  • Ride safe; riding impaired by alcohol or drugs affects your judgment and skill; it affects your safety and others on the road.

For more information on bicycle safety visit  www.nhtsa.gov/Bicycles

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U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
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