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National Bike Month highlights benefits of biking, safety tips




national bike month

CHICAGO (May 16, 2016) – May is National Bike Month, which promotes biking and its benefits, including saving money on gas, adding exercise, or helping preserve the environment.

Since 1956, National Bike Month has been a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling and encourage more people to giving biking a try.

National Bike Month, which is sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists, is observed throughout the month of May with a number of celebrations and educational events, including National Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 20, 2016.

Read More | National Bike Month Events

Chicago has a national reputation as one of the best large cities in the country for bicycling, with more than 200 miles of on-street protected, buffered and shared bike lanes, and many miles of off-street paths.

While biking is a wonderful form of transportation, leisure and exercise, it needs to be done with care and attention. Today, adults and children bike in Chicago not only for fun, but as a means of transportation. Unfortunately, as the number of bikes sharing the roads with cars, trucks and other motor vehicles rises, so does the number of bicycle accidents. These crashes can result in serious injuries and deaths.

Fellow bikers, pedestrians, and cars occupy the streets you pedal through, causing some unforeseen scenarios and unfortunate events. Good sense and safety equipment are imperative to a fun and safe ride. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has several tips for bikers to prevent a dangerous episode:

  • Watch for uneven pavement, potholes, wet leaves, storm grates, or other roadway changes that could cause imbalance
  • Use turn signals to alert motorists and pedestrians
  • Yield to pedestrians
  • Keep right when traveling slower than other traffic
  • Make sure your bike and self are visible, and use reflective clothing or reflectors on the front and rear of your bike
  • Wear a helmet no matter your biking skill

Unfortunately sometimes cyclists can only do so much with how many drivers are on Chicago’s roads. Motorists can cause significant damage through negligence by doing the following:

  1. Turning in front bikers on roads and sidewalks
  2. Ignoring others around them, including in parking lots, while backing up, at stop signs, or parking on the street.
  3. Driving too fast for conditions and not able to react in time to a biker
  4. Passing a biker too closely

The Illinois Department of Transportation hopes to educate local cyclists in an effort to make the roads a safer place.

Read More | ISP safe biking brochure