May is National Bicycle Month, and there is no shortage of reasons not to bike every single day! Sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and established in 1956, National Bike Month is celebrated in communities across the country as a way to showcase the many benefits of bicycling and to encourage nonriders to consider making bicycling a part of their daily lives.
Not only is the whole month dedicated to two-wheeled transportation, it also includes other popular cycling awareness days as well.
- May 4 is Bike to School Day;
- May 16-20 is Bike to Work Week and;
- May 20 is Bike to Work Day.
In anticipation for this pedal-powered month, get your bicycle ready using our Spring Maintenance Checklist, and talk to your friends and family about the many Benefits of Biking to Work and school. But no matter where, or how safe we ride, accidents can still sometimes occur. Here are some tips to help ensure you and your family’s safety during National Bike Month.
Bicycle Safety Tips and Laws to Follow
- Use hand signals for turning, stopping and decreasing speed. Most signals should be executed using your left arm, but right turns may be executed using the right arm.
- Ride the same direction as traffic – it is illegal not to.
- Watch for car doors. Always try to leave room in case a door opens unexpectedly. The general rule is to maintain a three-foot gap between yourself and any parked car.
- Yield to pedestrians at all crosswalks. Pedestrians have the right of way.
- Obey lanes specially marked “right turn only.” If you are not turning, do not ride straight through the lane.
- Do not weave in and out of traffic or between and around cars.
- Remain visible. During the day, keep your clothing brightly colored and clearly visible to drivers. When dark, use reflective clothing and bright lights.
- Wear a helmet even though it is not required by law in either Wisconsin or Illinois. It will not only increase safety, but may also help your case if involved in an accident.
Drivers, please remember to keep an eye out for cyclists by always checking your blind spots and sharing the road appropriately. If no bike lane is available, bicycles are legally allowed to occupy an entire lane of traffic.Cycling is great for your health, the environment, and can even save you money. So ultimately, the best way to celebrate National Bike Month is simply to get on a bike and ride to work, ride to the grocery store or simply for the sheer joy of being outside. Show your support for bicycle safety and awareness by displaying a FREE Watch For Cycles sticker on your bike or car. For even more safety information, you can also request a free bicycle safety brochure available HERE.