Some local governments have additional laws and regulations for bicycles.
Please make sure you check with your local goverment office to see if there are additional laws and regulations you have to
*Wear a bike helmet at all times. The most serious bike injuries are
to the head.
*Try to keep your bike in good shape.
*Always let cars and people go first.
*Slow down and check traffic at all corners.
*Keep both hands on the handle bars except when doing turn signals.
*Walk across busy streets.
*Stay off busy streets.
*Laws are the same for cars and bikes. You must sit on or be astride
the bike seat One Person on a bike unless there is a child seat
*Never grab and ride with a moving car
*When with a group ride in a row
*Keep hands on handlebars at all times
*If riding in the dark the bike must have a headlight
*You Can't use a siren if riding a bike
*The bike must have brakes that work
Note: A Police Officer can stop an unsafe bike and biker
Bicycle helmets are an essential element to bicycle safety.
*Always strap on an approved safety helmet before you ride.
are an important safety device to protect your head and brain from injury.
Bicycle Related Injuries
Each year, more than 500,000 people in the US are treated in emergency
departments, and more than 700 people die as a result of bicycle-related injuries.
Children are at particularly high risk for bicycle-related injuries.
In 2001, children 15 years and younger accounted for 59% of all bicycle-related injuries seen in US emergency departments.
In 2001, there were 728 bicycling fatalities and 45,000 bicycling
injuries resulting from traffic crashes in the United States. While these numbers continue to decrease from year to year,
bicyclist fatalities still account for 2 percent of all traffic fatalities as well as 2 percent of all traffic injuries.
Bicycling Crashes In Perspective
The loss of 728 lives in bicycle/motor vehicle crashes in 2001, almost
two people every day of the year, is an awful toll. The good news is that the number of bicyclist fatalities each year is
falling - down from 859 back in 1990, a drop of 20 percent in ten years.
The number of reported injuries involving bicyclists is also falling,
from 68,000 in 1993 to 45,000 in 2001. However, we know from research into hospital records that only a fraction of bicycle
crashes causing injury are ever recorded by the police, possibly as low as ten percent.
The raw numbers hide all kinds of trends, truths, and lessons, and
they beg a wide range of questions. Is bicycling dangerous?
Is it more dangerous than other modes of travel? Is bicycling getting
Who is getting killed in bicycle crashes, where, when, and why?
Is Bicycling Dangerous?
Obviously with 728 deaths last year, there are risks associated with
riding a bicycle. Bicycle fatalities represent just under two percent of all traffic fatalities, and yet bicycle trips account
for less than one percent of all trips in the United States. However, bicycling remains a healthful, inherently safe activity
for tens of millions of people every year - recent numbers from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics reveal that more than
40 million adults rode a bicycle within the past 30 days.
The public health community is now recognizing that lack of physical
activity, and a decline in bicycling and walking in particular, is a major contributor to the more than 300,000 premature
deaths caused by heart attacks and strokes - this number dwarfs the 40,000 annual deaths due to motor vehicle crashes and
the relatively small 728 bicyclist deaths.
Is bicycling more dangerous than other modes of travel?
above, bicyclists are over-represented in the crash data as they account for almost two percent of fatalities but less than
one percent of trips. However, there is no reliable source of exposure data to really answer this question: we don't know
how many miles bicyclists travel each year, and we don't know how long it takes them to cover these miles (and thus how long
they are exposed to motor vehicle traffic, for example).
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration uses a fatality
rate per million population to state that 2.51 cyclists were killed per one million population in 2000 - the same figure for
pedestrians would be 17.3 people per million and for motor vehicle fatalities the figure is closer to 127 people per million.
By that measure, bicycling looks considerably safer than other modes!
Is Bicycling Getting Safer?
A drop of 20 percent in fatalities since 1990 certainly sounds good
- but without knowing how many people are riding, and how far they are riding, there's no way of knowing whether the drop
in crashes is because fewer people are bicycling, or people are only riding on trails and not the roads, because they perceive
conditions to be much less safe than ten years ago.
In 1994, the US Department of Transportation adopted a policy of doubling
the percentage of trips made by bicycling and walking while simultaneously reducing by ten percent the number of bicyclists
and pedestrians injured in traffic crashes. The goals are to be pursued together - one cannot or should not be achieved at
the expense of the other goal. Experience from many European countries suggests that increasing levels of bicycling can be
done without increasing crash rates, and that strength in numbers can yield safety benefits.
Who is Getting Killed in Bicycle Crashes?
A detailed breakdown of the age, gender, and location of bicycle crash
victims is available from the NHTSA and IIHS fact sheets listed under Crash Facts.
Some of the more noteworthy trends or numbers are:
*In 1990, the average age of bicyclists killed in traffic crashes
was 28 years.
*By 2001, this had risen dramatically to 36 years of age.
*Looking even further back, in 1975, 32 percent of bicycle deaths
involved people aged 16 or older.
*In 2000, that figure is 71 percent.
So, the percentage of victims that are adults is climbing steadily
– perhaps signifying that more adults are riding, or that fewer children are riding.
Approximately forty percent of bicycle fatalities occur in just
While these are among the most populous states, the figure is still
remarkably high – the same states account for 28 percent of all traffic fatalities.