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Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Think Safety First!

  • Published
  • By Samuel Spooner
  • 17th training wing safety
The Air Force is currently in the midst of the 101 Critical Days of Summer Campaign; two of the focuses are bicycle and pedestrian safety.
In 2007, pedestrian fatalities made up about 11 percent of all traffic fatalities in the United States. There were approximately 4,600 pedestrian deaths with about another 70,000 pedestrians injured in roadway crashes, according to the latest data available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The National Safe Kids Campaign provides some tips to avoid becoming a traffic statistic:
· Stop at the curb before crossing the street. Don't walk directly into traffic.
· Cross at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
· Walk, don't run across the street.
· Look left, right and left again before crossing.
· Make eye contact with drivers to ensure sure they see you before crossing in front of them.
· Walk facing traffic.
· Wear brightly colored clothing or reflectors when walking at night.

Bicycling is a common means of transportation as well as an increasingly popular source of recreation and exercise. Nearly 45 million Americans rode a bicycle six times or more in 2008, according to the National Sporting Goods Association.
Along with increased use of bicycles comes the increased risk of significant injuries. Bicycle-related injuries account for more than 500,000 visits to doctors and emergency rooms each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Almost 700 bicyclists died in 2007 and about 43,000 more suffered injuries from scrapes to broken bones, according to the NHTSA. The most common type of bicycle crashes are falls or collisions with stationary objects. Collisions involving motor vehicles account for about 90 percent of all bicycle-related deaths and about 10 percent of nonfatal injuries. Many bicycle-related deaths are result from head injuries.
The National Safe Kids Campaign suggests some tips to avoid bicycle mishaps and injury:
· Wear a bicycle helmet on every ride. Check to see if your helmet has a safety certification.
· Ride so drivers and cyclists can see you.
· Look both ways for oncoming vehicles before turning or crossing a street. Go only when it is clear.
· Watch out for potholes, cracks, rocks, wet leaves, storm grates, railroad tracks or anything that could make you lose control of your bike.
· Make sure your bike has been adjusted to your height before riding.
· Inflate tires properly.
· Check brakes before riding.
· Cyclists should ride behind one another and with the flow of traffic.
· Dress in bright colors or wear retro-reflective materials so drivers can easily see you.
· Cyclists must follow the same rules as motorists. Use correct hand signals before turning.