May is National Bicycle Safety Month

May 02, 2024

Bicycle Safety Month in May 2024 351x310

National Bicycle Safety Month is celebrated every May and reminds bicyclists and motorists to put safety first when sharing the road. Bicycling is an amazing way to exercise, spend time outside and reduce your carbon footprint. For many Americans, bicycling is a form of transportation to work or school that is cost effective and convenient. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), more than one-third of all Americans rode a bicycle in the past year for reasons such as fun, exercise and transportation. However, this has led to a rise in bicycle fatalities.

This monthlong safety initiative is led by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nonprofits and community organizations. Read on to learn more about bicycle safety in Colorado and ways you can promote it as a cyclist or a driver.

Cyclist deaths increased by 33% in Colorado in 2023, rising from 15 deaths in 2022 to 20 last year, according to CDOT. There were only three bicycling-related fatalities reported in 2003. This increase is partly attributed to the dramatic increase in the state’s population over the past two decades. However, the upward trend in cycling-related death is not unique to Colorado. NHTSA has reported a steady rise in the number of bicyclists killed in traffic crashes since 2010 nationwide, and in 2021, NHTSA reported a 7% increase in traffic-related injuries to cyclists compared with the year prior.

Cyclists and drivers must be conscious of how they are engaging on the road to help reduce cycling injuries and deaths. Drivers should always pass cyclists on the road with care and provide at least 3 feet of clearance. It is also important to understand that cyclists are less protected on bikes than passengers in vehicles and are often harder to spot. Drivers should check for cyclists before opening car doors, pulling out of driveways or parking spaces, and before making turns. The most severe injuries to cyclists occur when drivers strike them with the front of their vehicles at high speeds. When you see a cyclist, slow down and watch their movements.

Bicyclists must also take steps to be safe, whether biking on the road, trails or paths. The way seat belts save lives for car passengers, helmets save lives for bikers. When biking, always wear a helmet. A “Safety in Numbers” concept has also been found to protect bikers when cycling on the road. Studies have found that drivers are more cautious and cyclists are safer on the roads when riding in groups. When possible, bike with other people for improved safety and enjoy the opportunity to socialize. Lastly, remember that as a biker you are difficult for drivers to spot, particularly early in the morning or closer to the evening. Consider adding reflectors and lights to your bike and wearing bright colors.

As the temperature gets warmer and the weather gets nicer, cycling offers amazing mental, physical, and social benefits to your life. Use this month as an opportunity to start building healthy habits, both as a driver and cyclist, to prevent cycling injuries and promote bicycle safety. If you would like more information about bicycle safety and injury prevention, contact the Trauma and Injury Prevention Program at