WHEREAS, In recent years, Rhode Island and the nation has witnessed a remarkable surge in both bicycle ownership and usage. While much of the increased interest in riding bicycles is due to a rising awareness of the cardiovascular benefits of this aerobic activity, many people are also becoming cognizant that the bicycle is a convenient, cost-effective alternative to the automobile for short trips; and
WHEREAS, Bicycle usage results in reduced fuel consumption and air pollutant emissions when used as an alternative to the automobile. As fuel prices continue to rise in the future, bicycle travel will become increasingly popular; and
WHEREAS, As bicycle ownership and usage increases, the need for greater safety awareness becomes ever more important. Each year, there are approximately 1,000 bicycle-related deaths in the United States and another half a million bicycle-related injuries treated in the nation's hospital emergency rooms. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission encourages bike riders of all ages to use helmets, citing studies which show that helmets can reduce head injuries by up to 85%; and
WHEREAS, Not all bicycle-related injuries and deaths can be addressed by the use of safety equipment alone. Rider actions and reactions--especially obeying traffic laws--play a major role in contributing to injury-free bicycle enjoyment; and
WHEREAS, Cycle safety results from intelligent riders using their heads and following such simple safety measures and procedures as: wearing a helmet, wearing bright colors or reflective stripes; avoiding bike riding at night; keeping alert to the possibility of obstacles in your path; riding with traffic; being aware of the traffic conditions around you (intersections, driveways, etc.); obeying traffic laws; properly maintaining your bicycle, especially the brakes; and, checking to see that your wheels are securely fastened; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That this General Assembly of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations is hereby pleased to join the Rhode Island Safe Kids Campaign in helping to promote safer bicycling in the Ocean State by proclaiming July 1, 1996 to be BICYCLE SAFETY AWARENESS DAY IN RHODE ISLAND. The General Assembly also wishes to remind Rhode Islanders that July 1, 1996 marks the date state law requires that helmets be worn by bicycle operators and passengers eight years of age and younger.