Today, I am happy to let everyone know that May is National Bike Safety Month. As summer approaches, millions of Americans will climb onto their bikes to enjoy one of the most enjoyable ways to get some exercise, have some fun, and get where they need to go.
Whatever your reason for saddling up, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and AAA want you to ride safely. To help spread this important message, they've joined together to launch "Roll Model," a campaign reminding parents and caregivers to set positive examples that encourage children and teens to ride safely, this month and every month.
And what's the first lesson in bike safety? Always wear a properly-fitting bicycle helmet. As AAA Vice President Kathleen Marvaso said, “Children look to parents for guidance, so we want kids to see mom and dad wearing a helmet, and to follow their lead.”
I couldn't agree more. Take it from a father of four and grandfather of nine, kids are always watching. Because parents and caregivers are role models for children, we need to teach by example. That means wearing helmets and observing all the rules of the road every time you ride.
Almost all adult bicyclists are also drivers. So being a good "Roll Model" also means sharing the road and treating bicyclists respectfully when you're behind the wheel. Be patient and pass bicyclists only when safe to do so, leaving at least three feet between your vehicle and the bicyclist. And remember to put away cell phones and texting devices when driving.
NHTSA and AAA are not just worried about protecting kids. It may surprise you to learn that in the U.S. the average age for a bicyclist killed is 41. So, by being better examples for America's kids, adults are also increasing their own safety.
As I've said many times, at the Department of Transportation safety is our number one priority. And we've put together a strong collection of resources to help kids and adults learn about bike safety. NHTSA's Bike Safety website offers a great place to start. We also have a Pedestrian and Bicyclist Information site and our Safe Routes to School website. AAA offers another terrific page, Share The Road.
Now, when adults practice safe riding and driving, kids learn. But educating adult riders and drivers is more difficult. If you have suggestions for innovative ways to help DOT promote safer biking and driving behavior, please let us know by leaving a comment here on this blog or contacting NHTSA.
I'm looking forward to some great bicycling this month, and I hope you are, too. Like NHTSA and AAA, let's partner together to make it the safest bike season ever. Let's be good "Roll Models."