AAA and NHTSA Pedal “Roll Model” Campaign To Help Parents Put the Brakes on Child Bike Fatalities

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 2, 2011

Every day, an average of 140 bicyclists are injured or killed in traffic crashes.

Erin SteppMay is National Bike Safety Month and as summer approaches, millions of Americans will climb onto their bikes to enjoy one of the ultimate warm-weather experiences. To help curb bike injuries and fatalities, AAA and NHTSA have partnered to remind parents and caregivers to set positive examples that encourage children and teens to ride safely.

“When worn properly, helmets are up to 85 percent effective in protecting the head and brain in the event of a crash. With helmet use among bicyclists between 20-25 percent, we have an opportunity to reduce injuries and deaths by encouraging more riders to do the same,” said AAA’s Vice President of Public Affairs Kathleen Marvaso. “Children look to parents for guidance, so we want kids to see mom and dad wearing a helmet, and to follow their lead,” Marvaso said.

Parents and caregivers must also remember that bicycle safety extends beyond early childhood. “Even the most experienced riders can crash or fall while riding a bike,” stressed Marvaso. According to NHTSA, among children, 10-to-14-year-old males have the highest rate of injuries and fatalities.


“When it comes to bicycling, safety is always the top priority. Because parents and caregivers are role models for children, it is especially critical they teach by example. That means wearing proper helmets and observing all the rules of the road,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.


AAA and NHTSA recommend these four easy steps to help keep bicyclists of all ages safe:

Wear a Properly-Fitted Bicycle Helmet.

  • Wear your helmet properly, level on your head and low on your forehead, no more than two finger widths above your eyebrow.
  • Develop a family rule for helmet use and enforce it for every ride.
  • It’s never too late to start wearing a helmet.


Always Follow the Rules of the Road.

  • Bicycles are considered vehicles and must abide by the same traffic laws as motorists.
  • Obey all traffic signs and signal your intentions when turning or passing.
  • Always ride in the same direction as traffic, keeping to the right.


Make Yourself Visible.

  • Wear bright colors during daylight hours.
  • Wear reflective materials on clothing and/or equipment in low-light conditions.
  • Use white front lights, red rear reflectors and reflective material on clothing and/or equipment when riding at night. Parents should discourage children from riding at night.


Drive Respectfully and Share the Road

  • Focus exclusively on the road while driving. Distracted drivers can be deadly for bicyclists.
  • Be patient and pass bicyclists only when safe to do so, leaving a 3 to 5 foot clearance between your vehicle and the bicyclist.

For information on bicycle safety, please visit and

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at

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