The Butte County Public Health Department’s (BCPHD) Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS) celebrates May as National Bike Month. The SRTS program works to improve children’s safety by coordinating resources to build sidewalks, bicycle paths and pedestrian friendly infrastructure near schools and beyond. BCPHD encourages all residents to bicycle to school and work during the month of May.

Increased physical activity has many benefits, including reducing the risk of chronic disease, such as cardiovascular disease and obesity. Bicycling provides the same cardiovascular benefits as running, walking or dancing, but is much easier for people who suffer from muscle strain, weight issues, knee troubles, and back or foot pain. Bicycling has also shown to decrease stress, reduce anxiety, improve posture, strengthen bones, decrease arthritis and reduce body fat.

“With the recent increase in gas prices, bicycling is not only great for the environment, it will save you money too! Beat the traffic and bike your kids to school during the month of May. Studies have shown that children who ride to school have increased concentration and longer attention spans,” commented Ann Dickman, Public Health Nursing Supervisor.

Bike Riding Safety tips:

·Wear a Helmet –In early 2016, 65 bike accidents requiring emergency medical responders occurred in Butte County. Of these accidents, 29% of adults and 22% of children were NOT wearing helmets. California law states that anyone who is under the age of 18 must wear a helmet when riding a bike, scooter or skateboard.

·Follow the “Rules of the Road” – The rules of the road are the same for both cyclists and drivers. Bicycles and cars must travel in same direction on the roadway. Cyclists cannot ride on sidewalks (no matter what age) and must stop at all stop signs. Bike riders have the right to “take the lane” by moving into the center of the lane to avoid road hazards, to get through busy intersections, or to make proper turns.

·Use Your Signals – Just as a car must signal a turn, a bike rider must signal too. Hand signals are simple and using them can make bike riding in congested areas a less stressful and safer.

·Be Seen – Cyclists must have a bike or head lamp for night riding that is visible from 300 feet. They must also have a red rear reflector, white or yellow reflectors on front/back of each pedal and white or yellow reflectors on each forward side of the bike. Wear reflective or bright colored clothing.

For more information about bicycling laws or “Rules of the Road”, please contact the Butte County Public Health Safe Routes to School Program at 530-895-4035.