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As California cycling increases, so must safety precautions

As cycling becomes a more popular activity, and more people choose to bike places rather than drive, road safety becomes an increasing concern. In one California city alone, an annual cycling event that spans the month of May will see upwards of 5,200 participants. With events like this come the need for increased caution for biker safety on the roads -- because when a bike is matched with an automobile, serious injuries can occur.

Last year, the state legislature attempted to make the roads a safer place for cyclists with a bill that would have required drivers to provide a three-foot clearance between their cars and the cyclist, as well as slow to a speed of 15 miles per hour when the three-foot cushion does not exist. This year, an adjusted form of that bill would require the same three-foot clearance and that drivers slow to a "reasonable speed" rather than to the 15 mph set forth in the previous bill.

Along with these initiatives, some California cities are seeking to increase cyclist safety by adding bike lanes and rethinking dangerous intersections. These regulations, where they don't already exist, are often important for cyclists who are typically only protected by a safety helmet. When other drivers sharing the roadways disregard safety measures, though, cyclists can be in danger of serious injuries.

As bikers throughout the state celebrate bike month this May, hopefully drivers and others who use the roads will become increasingly aware of the bike presence on our roads and how to handle it. It could be very helpful in keeping everyone safe.

Source: The Sacramento Bee, "Back-seat Driver: Bicyclists pump up mileage goal," Tony Bizjak, May 4, 2012

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