Written by Jason Scheafer, Motor Training Officer 

Irvine Police Department Traffic Bureau 

The City of Irvine has over 100 miles of off-street bikeway trails and nearly 300 lane miles of on-street bikeways to encourage the use of bicycles as a safe and convenient means of travel. The Irvine Police Department is committed to enforcing a variety of traffic safety laws to ensure the safe travel of bicyclists in the city and reducing the number of traffic collisions involving bicycles. 

One of the best safety measures for bicyclists is to wear a helmet. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) noted that helmet use has been estimated to reduce the odds of head injury by 50 percent and the odds of head, face, or neck injury by 33 percent. The IIHS further noted that ninety percent of fatally injured bicyclists in 2019 were age 20 or older. The use of a bicycle helmet is required for all riders under the age of 18 (California Vehicle Code section 21212), but helmet use is important for riders of all ages. All riders of every age or skill level are encouraged to use a properly fitted and secured bicycle helmet. 

Another way to ensure safe bicycle riding is by knowing and respecting the rules of the road. Bicyclists are required by law to follow the same rules as motorists. This means stopping at stop signs and red lights, riding on the right side of the roadway (i.e. the same direction as motor vehicles) and traveling at a speed that is safe for whatever conditions are present. While riding on the sidewalks is permitted within the City of Irvine when not prohibited by signs, bicycle riders on the sidewalk must always yield the right of way to pedestrians and give audible signals before overtaking and passing pedestrians. The safest practice while riding on the sidewalk is to always ride in the same direction vehicles are traveling, and riders must never enter the street or a crosswalk from a sidewalk without yielding to vehicles on the roadway. 

Distracted driving is a significant problem on our roadways and riding a bicycle while distracted presents a danger to riders. While cellphone use is an obvious distraction, anything that takes a driver’s or rider’s attention from the roadway can be a dangerous distraction. Awareness of one’s surroundings and vigilance to hazards on the roadway are ways to further ensure rider safety. When riding a bicycle, it should be done free of any distractions that would prevent attention from potential dangers. This includes keeping cellphones turned off and put away, always watching for potential hazards, and avoiding auditory distractions such as earphones or earbuds (be aware the covering of both ears by such devices is prohibited by law even on a bicycle). 

It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure safety on the roadway. If you notice any dangerous driving or riding behaviors on the roadway or trails, reach out to the Irvine Police Department’s Traffic Bureau. The Traffic Bureau will always do it’s very best to ensure 

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