GREENSBORO, N.C. — If you plan on hitting the road on Wednesday, be sure to watch out for thousands of children on bicycles.
Schools across the nation will be participating in the 8th Annual National Bike to School Day.
The campaign is all about raising awareness about road safety, bringing attention to school zones, and addressing speeding traffic.
This year, about 3,000 schools have registered for Bike to School Day events in the U.S., including more than 100 schools in North Carolina.
"It's so exciting to see people come together with the common goals of starting children on the right path to active and healthy lifestyles as well as ensuring a safe trip to and from school," said Nancy Pullen-Seufert, Director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School, the coordinating agency for Bike to School Day. "By starting with children on their way to school, communities become safe places for everyone to walk and bike. Bike to School Day events are a great way for communities to rally around making safety improvements that benefit children,which ultimately benefit the community as a whole."
It's no secret - bicyclists face a higher risk of crash related injury and deaths than occupants in motor vehicles.
The latest National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report shows 840 bicyclists were killed in traffic crashes in the U.S. in 2016.
Similar to motorists, bicyclists are encouraged to obey all street signs, signals, and road markings to help decrease the risk of deadly crashes.
The NHTSA offers the following bike safety tips:
- Ride a bike that fits you—if it's too big, it's harder to control the bike.
- Ride a bike that works—it really doesn't matter how well you ride if the brakes don't work.
- Wear equipment to protect you and make you're more visible to others, like a bike helmet, bright clothing (during the day), reflective gear, and a white front light and red rear light and reflectors on your bike (at night).
- Ride one per seat, with both hands on the handlebars, unless signaling a turn.
- Carry all items in a backpack or strapped to the back of the bike.
- Tuck and tie your shoe laces and pant legs so they don't get caught in your bike chain.
- Plan your route—if driving as a vehicle on the road, choose routes with less traffic and slower speeds. Your safest route may be away from traffic altogether, in a bike lane or on a bike path.
- Drive with the flow, in the same direction as traffic.
- Obey street signs, signals, and road markings, just like a car.
- Assume the other person doesn't see you; look ahead for hazards or situations to avoid that may cause you to fall, like toys, pebbles, potholes, grates, train tracks.
- No texting, listening to music or using anything that distracts you by taking your eyes and ears or your mind off the road and traffic.