Today's weather is not exactly the kind that puts most of us in the mood to go for a bike ride but as the weather warms up, we will be seeing more and more bicyclists hitting the road. May is national bike month.
It's especially important this time of year but it's also important this year in particular. Between 2010 and 2012 in Iowa, the number of bicycle crashes resulting in injuries has been on the rise, up to 467 last year.
Now during that same time, the state did see a slight decrease in the number of fatal bike crashes, down from 8 to 3.
Illinois complies its data differently. The latest stats we have show 24 biking fatalities in 2010. That said, the rising number of total bicycle accidents has been cause for concern everywhere.
It's a trend that's related at least in part to the growing number of bicyclists on the roads.
"Recent retirees looking for a hobby, people looking to bike to work to avoid gas prices," The Bicycle Station owner Chad Jensen said. "It just seems to be a little busier every season."
Whatever the reason, bike sales are strong these days at the bicycle station in Clinton. Jensen says so are sales for helmets and other safety equipment.
"One thing I like to promote in my bike shop is bright clothes, lights at night, reflectors, even flags in some instances," Jensen said. "It definitely helps to be more visible."
Good advice for staying safe and for following the letter of the law. Clinton city ordinance requires cyclists to have a white light on the front and a red light or reflector on the back of their bikes when they're on the roads after dusk.
Now, the Clinton police department is stepping up it's enforcement of all the bicycle safety laws on the books - for cyclists and motorists alike.
The best thing that they can do is drive cautiously,," Clinton Sgt. Joseph Raaymakers said. "And reduce their speed, because bicycles are considered vehicles. Then you have to give them all the same right of ways that you would any other vehicle. I just wish that everybody would follow the rules of the road."
Bottom line, be smart and share the road. Bicycle safety is everyone's responsibility.