Report: Riding a bicycle getting safer in Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Riding a bicycle on Ohio roads seems to be getting safer, according to state statistics.

The Ohio Department of Public Safety statistics show that fewer bicyclists were injured or killed while riding in the state last year compared with the previous year.

The agency says more than 1,500 bicyclists were injured statewide last year, down from about 1,900 in 2012. Last year, 19 riders were killed in crashes in Ohio, compared with 18 in 2012.

Bike advocates told The Columbus Dispatch ( ) for a story Monday that they’re gaining strength in numbers. With more bicycles on the road, motorists may become more comfortable riding alongside them.

But bicyclists still want more protections – including a state rule requiring cars to give bicyclists a 3-foot cushion when they pass, and stiffer penalties for hit-skip drivers.

The League of American Bicyclists is asking the federal government to require states to set goals for reducing bicycle crashes. And groups say they are doing more to promote safety among their ranks.

Yay Bikes, a central Ohio bike advocacy organization, offers road courses through its How We Roll program, which trains bicyclists of all skill levels in how to ride in traffic, executive director Catherine Girves said.

“Cyclists who are not comfortable being on roads behave in ways that make it dangerous for them to be on roads,” she said.

When crashes do occur, they’re getting more attention, said Steve Magas, a Cincinnati lawyer who represents bicyclists injured in traffic accidents.

Columbus police Sgt. Duane Mabry said cyclists need to consider what drivers see. They should wear bright, reflective clothing, ride in a predictable manner and wear helmets in case they’re struck or fall.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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