Making a More Bicycle-Friendly America
As communities from coast to coast celebrate National Bike Month this May, a growing number of Americans are picking up their bikes for recreation, fitness and transportation. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of bicycle commuters nationwide increased 40 percent from 2000 to 2010.
With more bicyclists on American roadways, AAA has partnered with the League to produce a series of bicycle safety videos, designed to educate both motorists and bicyclists on the importance of sharing the road. AAA’s newly redesigned ShareTheRoad.AAA.com offers bicycle and helmet fit guides, safety tips and riding skills advice.
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“This spring, warmer weather is enticing more bicyclists to the roadways,” said AAA’s traffic safety project manager Rhonda Shah. “And sadly, in 2010, 628 bicyclists were killed in traffic crashes and an additional 52,000 were injured.”
As an advocate for the safety of travelers on both two wheels and four, AAA offers the following advice to motorists:
- Share the road. Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists, including the right to ride in the traffic lane
- Slow down and allow at least three feet of clearance when passing a bicyclist.
- Check mirrors and blind spots before turning, changing lanes or opening car doors.
- Never honk your horn at a bicyclist. They may startle and swerve off the road or into traffic.
- Be especially cautious around children on bikes. They are often unsteady and unpredictable.
- Stay alert and avoid all distractions while driving.
“This year’s theme for Bike Month — One Ride, Many Reasons — recognizes that cycling enhances our lives in countless ways, from keeping us fit to giving us a fun way to get to work,” said Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists. “We’re excited about AAA’s strong support of Bike Month and commitment to educate motorists, so every ride is safe and comfortable for drivers and bicyclists alike.”
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As more bicyclists take to the roads, lawmakers have taken notice, too. With the help of the Bicycle Friendly America (BFA) program, a growing number of cities and states are taking steps to improve biking in their communities.
The League of American Bicyclists promotes bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation, and works through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America. For more information or to support the League, visit bikeleague.org
As North America’s leading motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides its members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit AAA works for the safety and security of travelers.
Photo courtesy: League of American Bicyclists