Bicycle Safety

Importance of Bicycle Safety

Every year, about 300,000 kids go to the emergency department because of bike injuries. But bicycle safety is not just important for kids. Proper equipment is the first step any cyclist should take.

Correct Helmet FitHelmets

North Carolina law requires anyone under 16 years of age to wear a helmet when riding. Parents should make sure that the helmets are properly fitted to the child's head. If unsure how to properly fit a bicycle helmet, check with your local bicycle shop or click on the link below. When riding at night a light must be affixed to the front of the bicycle that can be seen from a distance of at least 300 feet. It must also have a reflex mirror or lamp on the rear exhibiting a red light which is visible for at least a distance of 200 feet.

Bike Route SignSharing the Road

Everyone who rides faces a risk from motorists and obstacles. It is best not to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk due to possible view obstructions and motorists not being able to see cyclists entering the roadway to cross.

When a motorist passes a cyclist, this is the time that is most dangerous if enough clearance is not given. A bicyclist staying to the right in their lane is accommodating the following drivers by making it easier to see when it is safe to pass, and easier to execute the pass.

Drivers wishing to pass a bicyclist may do so only when there is abundant clearance and no oncoming traffic is in the opposing lane. When passing a bicyclist, always remember the bicyclist is entitled to the use of the full lane.

Bicycle Statistics

  • There are as many as 85 million bicycle riders in the United States.
  • Their are about 45 million bicycle riders over the age of 6 who rode more than 6 times in 2008.
  • 698 bicyclists died on U.S. roadways in 2007. More than 90% died in crashes involving motor vehicles.
  • Around 540,000 bicyclist visited U.S. emergency rooms with injuries each year. Of the 540,000, about 67,000 have head injuries and about 27,000 have injuries that require hospitalization.
  • 1 in 8 bicyclist with reported injuries, sustained a brain injury.
  • The direct cost to bicyclist injuries from not wearing a helmet is about $81 million every year.
  • Average age of bicyclist killed on highways: 40
  • Average age of bicyclist injured on highways: 30
Bicyclist AgeNumber KilledNumber Injured
15 and under10712,000
16 to 3416316,000
35 to 5426210,000
55 and older4,000n/a

Hand Signals While Riding a BicycleBicycle Safety Videos

Additional Resources