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May is National Bicycle Safety Month, and Gilroy Police are encouraging everyone to participate safely and reminding drivers to be extra alert for more people pedaling and walking on the roads. 

“Everyone deserves to reach their destination safely,” Gilroy Police Sgt. Michael McMahon said. “Unfortunately, there has been an increase in bicycle fatalities and injuries over the last few years. Bicyclists do not have the same protections as people in a vehicle so if you see a bicyclist, slow down.” 

A total of 1,105 people were killed while riding a bicycle in 2022, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. An estimated 46,195 bicyclists were injured the same year. 

In 2021, 976 bicyclists were killed and about 41,615 were injured, authorities said. Both these numbers represent increases from 2020. 

Gilroy Police suggested a number of safety tips for both drivers and bicyclists.

For drivers:

– Slow down and follow the speed limit; be careful traveling through intersections.

– Look carefully for bicyclists and pedestrians before making a turn or opening a car door near streets or bike paths. 

– Be patient when traveling behind a bicyclist, and give them space when passing. 

– Do not drive distracted or impaired. 

For bike riders:

– Use lights at night.

– Always wear a properly secured helmet. Helmets significantly reduce the risk of head injury in the event of a crash. 

– Yield to pedestrians. Pedestrians have the right-of-way within marked or unmarked crosswalks at intersections. 

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.

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