Promoting Bicycle Safety - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Promoting Bicycle Safety

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The recent weather is not exactly the kind that puts most of us in the mood to go for a bike ride. But, as the weather warms up, we will be seeing more and more bicyclists hitting the road.

May is National Bike Month. Next week is National Ride Your Bike to Work Week.

Not surprisingly, we are seeing a renewed push for more bicycle safety.

It's especially important this time of year, but it's also important this year in particular.

Between 2010 and 2012 in Iowa, the number of bicycle crashes resulting in injuries has been on the rise - up to 467 last year from 400 two years before.

Now during that same time, the state did see a slight decrease in the number of fatal bike crashes - down from 8 to 3.

Illinois compiles its data differently - The latest stats we have show 24 biking fatalities in 2010.

That said, the rising number of total bicycle accidents reported has been cause for concern everywhere.

It's a trend that's related, at least in part, to the growing number of bicyclists on the roads.

"Recent retirees looking for a hobby, people looking to bike to work to avoid gas prices - it just seems to be a little busier every season," Chad Jensen, owner of the Bicycle Station in Clinton, said.

Whatever the reason, bike sales are strong these days at the Bicycle Station. Jensen says so are sales for helmets and other safety equipment.

"One thing I like to promote in my bike shop is bright clothes, lights at night, reflectors, even flags in some instances," he said. "It definitely helps to be more visible."

That is good advice for staying safe - and for following the letter of the law.

Clinton city ordinance requires cyclists to have a white light on the front and a red light or reflector on the back of their bikes when they're on the roads after dusk.

Now, the Clinton Police Department is stepping up its enforcement of all the bicycle safety laws on the books - for cyclists and motorists alike.

"The best thing that they can do is drive cautiously and reduce their speed, because bicycles are considered vehicles, then you have to give them all the same right of ways that you would any other vehicle," Sgt. Joseph Raaymakers, A-Shift Commander for the Clinton Police Department, explained.

But remember, bicycle safety is a two-way street.

"I just wish that everybody would follow the rules of the road," said Cordova resident Eric Stratton, "bicycles included."

"Cyclists always need to remember that they need to obey the same rules of the road that motorists do," Sgt. Raaymakers pointed out.

Bottom line: be smart and share the road. Bicycle safety is everyone's responsibility.

Morrison, Illinois just announced its own bicycle safety campaign. A helmet incentive program for children will run all summer long.

Anytime a Morrison Police Officer observes children ages 3 to 16 wearing a helmet while riding their bicycles, the officer will reward them with a coupon for free ice cream from the Dairy Queen.