St. Petersburg, FL -- Mayor Rick Kriseman recognized National Bike Safety Month as he led a group of bicyclists riding off to work on Friday morning.
While bike riding offers great exercise and fun, rider Chris Shepard agrees that practicing bike safety should be number one.
"Safety's pretty important. I have two teenage kids in the house, so trying to keep them safe too. It's about paying attention to what's around you," said Shepard.
According the National Highway Traffic Administration, when it comes to bicycling deaths per million, Florida leads the nation.
Just last year on Labor Day, Hillary Michalak and her boyfriend were killed while tandem biking in Clearwater. It's a sad reminder of the deadly statistic.
The latest numbers show that in 2012, 726 bicyclists were killed nationwide. That number is up 6.5% from the year before. Avid cyclist Adam Wilzinski from St. Petersburg Bicycle and Fitness admitted that he's not surprised.
A few tips for bicyclists when on the road:
- Always wear a helmet to protect your head.
- Bicycles are considered vehicles, so when riding on the road, you must obey the same traffic rules as drivers.
- Always ride with traffic instead of against it.
- When there's a bike lane, ride in it. It's designated for bike riders only.
- When riding during the day, try to wear bright colors so drivers can see you better. At night, use reflectors and lights.
For more rules of the road and bike safety tips visit http://floridabicycle.org/for-motorists/.