May is National Bike Month, a safety awareness celebration founded by the League of American Bicyclists. It began in May 1956 as a way to promote the benefits of cycling.
Charlotte is a bike-friendly city, with miles of greenways and bike trails for leisure riding and plenty of bicycle commuters. If you’re curious about getting into cycling as a hobby or just looking for fun outdoor activities for the family this summer, National Bike Month is a great way to get started!
History of National Bicycle Safety Month
The invention of the bicycle is owed to several different inventors who created various models throughout the 19th century. Many credit a Scottish blacksmith, Kirkpatrick Macmillan, for inventing the pedal bicycle in 1839, which grew in popularity for transportation in the 1890s.
But as automobile use boomed in the 1920s-1950s, bikes soon fell out of favor for getting people from one place to another. This decline and the new safety concerns of cycling on busy roads prompted the League of American Bicyclists to establish National Bike Month.
Over time, National Bicycle Safety Month also aimed to promote the many benefits of bike riding, from low-impact cardiovascular exercise benefits to “green” transportation.
Importance of bicycle safety
The vulnerability of bicycle riders and bike safety is something that everyone sharing the roads should understand, both drivers and cyclists.
In North Carolina, bicycles are considered vehicles per NC bicycle traffic laws and therefore are permitted to travel on all roadways except highways and interstates. As vehicles, bikes are also allowed to use the full lane of traffic, although riders are to stay in the far right lane unless they’re turning left.
Because bikes are on the road with cars, it’s important for riders to understand how to keep themselves safe.
Charlotte National Bicycle Safety Month activities
To find activities related to National Bike Month, look for the #BikeThere tag on social media. In 2023, the League of American Cyclists promoted several nationwide events to encourage people to ride bicycles more.
The City of Charlotte and WeeklyRides.com have partnered to promote several community events in celebration of National Bike Month.
Here are some of the ways you can get involved in National Bicycle Safety Month:
- Charlotte commuters can participate in National Bike To Work Week, May 15-21, or just the National Bike To Work Day on Friday, May 19. Only about 0.2% of Charlotte commuters regularly ride their bikes to work, although the Bike To Work Week may encourage more commuters to try at least a partial commute on a bike.
- Give your bike a tune-up or have small repairs completed.
- Looking for a creative way to celebrate Mom? Come to the free event, Bike p(ART): Upcycled Bike Part Art, turning bike tubes into flowers in honor of Mother’s Day! Saturday, May 13, 2023, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Innovation Barn, 932 Seigle Avenue, Charlotte, NC
- Do you want Bike Month activities to do with a group or to meet other Charlotte bike enthusiasts? Try the Westside Ride to the Uptown Farmers Market on Saturday, May 20, 2023, from 9 to 11 a.m., starting at Blue Blaze Brewing, 528 S Turner Avenue, Charlotte, NC. The event is free (except for food and drink) and open to riders of all abilities and ages.
Ride safely, Charlotte!
Even with the most careful attention to bike riding safety, accidents can still happen, and when a car and bicycle collide, it’s the bike rider that often suffers the worst injuries. If you’ve been hit by a vehicle or a cyclist while riding your bike and were injured, contact the experienced Charlotte bicycle accident lawyers at Johnson & Groninger PLLC today at (704) 200-2009 for a free consultation about your legal options.