Drivers across the country may soon start seeing more “ghost bikes” – bicycles painted all white and placed at the scene of fatal accidents to commemorate fallen cyclists. The memorials have taken on global significance since their grassroots beginnings more than 15 years ago. They help humanize cyclists while serving as a somber reminder to share the road.

Despite advances in cycling infrastructure – and far-reaching educational campaigns aimed at improving awareness among drivers – cycling deaths are all too prevalent. In 2016 alone, 840 cyclists were killed across the United States. That averages out to more than two per day.

Reducing road violence

We all play a role in making roads safer. For drivers, it’s critical understand your responsibilities when it comes to sharing the road. This means:

  • Watching for cyclists, especially when approaching intersections, making turns or traveling near bike lanes
  • Paying attention to continually changing traffic conditions
  • Maintaining at least four feet of space between your vehicle and cyclists
  • Passing cyclists only when it’s safe to do so (and when you can maintain the required four-foot clearance)

Cyclists, too, must take their safety into their own hands by following the rules of the road, wearing protective gear, using lights and reflectors after dark, and keeping their bikes in good working order.

Take the next step

Think you have a good handle on Pennsylvania traffic law as it pertains to cyclists? You can test your knowledge here and fill in any gaps. You can also help by spreading the word about this important safety issue.