Both here in California and nationwide, residents and lawmakers are boosting bicycle safety awareness during May, National Bike Month. Many of these initiatives take aim at helping children learn safe bicycle behavior, but others also focus on getting adults back on their bicycles, and re-learning practices that can reduce serious bicycle injuries. On Monday, Sacramento officials and bike advocates teamed up with the Mercy San Juan Medical Center to promote May is Bike Month and reduce California bicycle accidents.
West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon kicked off the event with an explanation on why California’s capital is such a perfect setting for bicycle users. Over 43% of commutes and 72% of other trips in the region are under 6 miles, he said, and the city’s flat terrain makes these trips even safer. Cabaldon also noted that due to the fantastic National Bike Month participation over the past three years – the city surpassed 1 million bicycle miles during the month each time – he’s upping the ante, asking Sacramento residents to bike 2 million miles this month. “Using a bicycle is a real option here, more than almost any other place in the country,” he said.
Of course, when bicycle use increases, so does the potential for bicycle accidents, since many drivers aren’t used to additional bicycles on the roads, or cities have not properly prepared city streets. While there are a few great bicycle safety states, like California and Oregon, many have not developed adequate bicycle safety laws to require helmet use and prohibit cycling under the influence. Mercy San Juan Medical Center Safe Kids Coordinator Sonja Atkins said such measures are essential to reducing serious bicycle injuries, since “wearing a helmet reduces head injury by 85%.” She added, “At our trauma room we see kids come in, whether they’re on bikes, scooters, skateboards, if they don’t have a helmet on, adults as well, that’s when we see the major injuries.”
So during National Bike Month, be sure to follow Sacramento’s lead and do your part to reduce California bicycle accidents. And if you have 2 spare minutes, take our (quick!) bicycle safety behavior survey, and share your bicycle stories on our Facebook page.
Photo credit: bradleygee