Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Think Safety First!
By Samuel Spooner, 17th training wing safety
/ Published July 17, 2009
GOODFELLOW AFB, Texas --
We are currently in week 8 of the 101 Critical Days of Summer Campaign and the focus is bicycle and pedestrian safety. Each year pedestrian fatalities comprise about 11 percent of all traffic fatalities and there are approximately 4,600 pedestrian deaths. Another 70,000 pedestrians are injured in roadway crashes annually. Here are some tips to avoid becoming a statistic:
· Stop at the curb before crossing the street. Don't walk directly into traffic.
· Walk, don't run across the street. · Cross at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
· Look left, right, and left again before crossing.
· Walk facing traffic. · Make sure drivers see you before crossing in front of them. Make eye contact with drivers.
· Wear white clothing or reflectors when walking at night.
Bicycling is a common means of transportation as well as an increasingly popular source of recreation, exercise, and sport. Nearly 45 million Americans rode a bicycle six times or more in 2008, according to the National Sporting Goods Association. Along with increased use of bicycles comes the risk of significant injuries. Bicycle outings result in more than 500,000 visits each year to Emergency Departments, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Injuries attributable to bicycling range from common abrasions, cuts, bruises to broken bones, internal injuries, head trauma, and even death.
Almost 700 bicyclists died in 2007, and 43,000 were injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. From a statistical standpoint, bicycle riding has a higher death rate per trip or per mile of travel than being a passenger in an automobile. The most common cause of bicycle crashes is due to falls or collisions with stationary objects. Collisions involving motor vehicles account for 90 percent of all bicycle-related deaths and 10 percent of nonfatal injuries. The majority of these bicycle deaths are caused by head injuries. Here are some tips to avoid mishaps and injury:
· Wear a bicycle or motorcycle helmet on every ride. Check to see if your helmet should have a safety certification.
· Ride so drivers and cyclists can see you.
· Look both ways for oncoming vehicles before turning or crossing a street. Go only when it is clear.
· Watch out for potholes, cracks, rocks, wet leaves, storm grates, railroad tracks or anything that could make you lose control of your bike.
· Make sure your bike fits your height, weight and age.
· Inflate tires properly.
· Check brakes before riding.
· Bikers should ride behind one another and with the flow of traffic.
· Dress in bright colors or wear retro-reflective materials so drivers can easily see you
· Obey traffic rules:
· Cyclists must follow the same rules as motorists. Use correct hand signals before turning.
· Because we all share the same road, obeying the rules of the road allow for an enjoyable and safe ride for both bicyclists and motorists.