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AAA: Drivers Should Exercise Caution As They Share The Road With More Bicyclists During Summer Months

May Is Bicycle Safety Month – Be Watchful

Bike safety month 2021
Credit: AAA

Editors: B-roll and interview of an e-bike user is available here

During National Bicycle Safety Month in May, the Automobile Club of Southern California is reminding drivers to exercise caution as more cyclists crowd the roads over the summer months, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Nationally, the number of bicyclists killed in crashes with vehicles increased by about one-third from 2012 to 2021, and about 86% of fatality victims nationwide from 2007-2021 were male, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  In California between 2014 and 2023, the two years with the highest number of fatalities and serious injuries among bicyclists were 2022 and 2023. Statewide between 2021 and 2023, more than 25,000 vehicle-bicycle crashes were reported with 453 bicyclists killed and 24,600 injured.

E-bikes (battery- and pedal-powered bikes) have exploded in popularity during recent years among both adults and younger/less experienced cyclists, posing additional risks because they may be less visible to drivers when they are being operated at higher speeds.

“During National Bicycle Month, the Auto Club is urging motorists to watch for bicycles, and for riders to be extra cautious around traffic and to increase their visibility to drivers,” said Auto Club Traffic Safety and Community Programs Manager Anita Lorz-Villagrana.  “Over the busy summer months, more cars and more bicycles on the road means potentially more collisions.”

The Auto Club recommends the following tips to help drivers and cyclists share the road:

Motorists:

  • Stay alert—avoid all distractions while driving.
  • Yield to bicyclists when turning.
  • In bad weather, give bicyclists extra passing room, just as you would other motorists.
  • Make a visual check for bicyclists by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic.
  • Slow down and give at least 3 feet of clearance when passing.
  • Reduce your speed when passing bicyclists, especially when the road is narrow.
  • NEVER honk your horn at a bicyclist—it could cause them to swerve into traffic or off the roadway and crash.
  • Always check for bicyclists before opening your car door.
  • Children on bicycles are often unpredictable—expect the unexpected.

Bicyclists:

  • Ride on the roadway or shared pathways, rather than on sidewalks.
  • Follow the same rules of the road as other roadway users, including riding in the same direction as traffic and following all the same traffic signs and signals.
  • Signal all turns.
  • Wear a bicycle helmet every time and on every ride. Nearly all bicyclists who died from a collision were not wearing helmets.
  • Be visible by wearing bright colors during the day, reflective gear in low light conditions, and use head and taillights at night.
  • Remember that respect is a two-way street. Show motorists the same courtesy that you expect from them.

Media Contacts

Gianella Ghiglino
Public Affairs Specialist English/Spanish Language Media Spokesperson
(818) 939-9851
Ghiglino.Gianella@ace.aaa.com
Anlleyn Venegas
Public Affairs Specialist. Spanish-Language Media Spokesperson , Auto Club Enterprises
(619) 565-4556
Venegas.Anlleyn@ace.aaa.com
CST 1016202-80 Copyright © Automobile Club of Southern California. All Rights Reserved.
The Automobile Club of Southern California is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in the following California counties: Inyo, Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare, and Ventura.