MENDOCINO Co. 5/17/22 — May is officially National Bicycle Safety Month! There are many people out and about on two wheels in our region, and we encourage all our readers to take caution and share the roads throughout the year. While many roads in Mendocino County don’t have dedicated bike lanes, California requires that drivers maintain three feet of distance when passing a cyclist, along with a number of additional road regulations designed to get us all where we’re going, as safely as possible.
For those interested in local bicycling, there are a number of community organizations dedicated to helping community members fix their bikes or get out on trails, including Walk & Bike Mendocino, the Willits Area Cyclists, the Mendocino Coast Cyclists, and the Ukiah Bike Kitchen.
Here’s more information from the California Highway Patrol:
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Grab your bicycle, fasten your helmet, and get outdoors for a bike ride. With more daylight hours before sunset and warming temperatures, May is the perfect month to enjoy outdoor activities. May also happens to be National Bicycle Safety Month, and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) want to remind outdoor enthusiasts that whether you are a cyclist, pedestrian, or driver, traffic safety laws are in place to save lives.
“As more Californians choose walking and bicycling as primary modes of transportation, creating a safer environment for all roadway users is a shared responsibility,” said Commissioner Amanda Ray.
Drivers can help create a safer environment for cyclists by checking their blind spots when changing lanes, proceeding with caution through intersections, remembering to look carefully for bicyclists and pedestrians before making a turn, and always looking for cyclists before opening the car door near streets or bike paths. California law also requires drivers to maintain a minimum of three feet of distance when passing or overtaking a cyclist. If there is not enough room to safely pass, be patient and wait until it is safe.
“If you’re driving, be the best version of yourself,” OTS Director Barbara Rooney said. “We are all pedestrians at one point and many of us ride bikes. Slow down and share the road so we may all get places safely.”
According to the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, in 2020, California had almost 8,800 bicycle crashes with 90 percent of them involving an injury. In that same year, 151 people died in bicycle crashes. Although helmets are not required for people ages 18 and older, wearing a properly secured helmet drastically reduces a rider’s chance of a head injury. As part of National Bicycle Safety Month, the CHP has partnered with the OTS to educate the public on bicycle safety and the laws that apply to all modes of transportation.
Throughout May, many local CHP offices will offer educational presentations and bicycle trainings to promote bicycle safety. For more information, please use this link https://www.chp.ca.gov/find-an-officeto contact your local CHP office.
The mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security.