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May is National Bike Month

The month of May is officially National Bike Month and May 11 -15 marks the annual Bike to Work Week. Across the country and in cities like San Diego, biking is growing in popularity as people of all ages continue to discover the many benefits that biking affords.

While the health and environmental benefits of biking are often highlighted, there are also many dangers; particularly in cases where bicyclists share the road with other motor vehicles.

While legally, bicyclists are afforded the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as all motorists; in practice, they are often at the mercy of motorists who may cut them off, crowd and otherwise disregard their rights. In 2014, California passed the "Three-Feet-for-Safety Act," which requires that motorists provide "bicyclists at least three feet of space when passing them on the road."

While the "Three-Feet-for Safety Act" has helped raise awareness to the rights of bicyclists, those who choose to ride on city streets are largely at the mercy of motorists who may be distracted or in violation of other traffic laws.

Because bicyclists cannot control the actions of other motorists, they are advised to be vigilant and to follow safety recommendations including:

• Wear a helmet
• Wear brightly colored clothing
• Avoid riding during diminished daylight hours or at night
• Don't get on a bicycle after drinking alcohol or taking drugs
• Equip a bicycle with reflectors and a light

San Diego residents who have been involved in a motor vehicle accident while riding a bicycle are likely to suffer serious injuries. In cases where a motorist is at fault in causing or contributing to an accident, it's wise to discuss one's case with an attorney.

Source: California Bicycle Coalition, "California Bicycle Laws," May 8, 2015

The League of American Bicyclists, "Bike Month Dates and Events," May 8, 2015


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