The April showers have brought May flowers, but don’t let their beauty distract you from your driving.

With everyone making the most of the warmer weather, it’s a must that we remain aware of the increased motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic on and around our roadways.

The U.S. Department of Transportation reported 37,461 lives lost on U.S. roads in 2016, a 5.6-percent increase from the previous year, with 5,987 pedestrian, 5,286 motorcyclist, 840 bicyclist, and 3,450 distraction-related deaths.

Be sure to practice these safety tips and share the roads during the warm weather:

  • Be alert and aware of your environment when driving. Don’t allow yourself to become distracted by your phone, radio, passengers, or anything else.
  • Before riding a motorcycle in traffic, practice riding in a controlled environment, such as an empty parking lot, until you feel comfortable controlling your bike.
  • When riding any motorized or non-motorized bike/vehicle, be sure to wear the proper safety gear. Helmets, eye protection, protective footwear, pads and clothing to protect your skin, and gloves for grip, will best protect you when riding.
  • Wear brightly colored clothing so you’re easily spotted by motorists.
  • Ride responsibly; follow all traffic laws; proceed cautiously at intersections; and ride with your headlight on, day and night.
  • Bicyclists are to ride with traffic, while pedestrians are to walk against traffic so they can see any oncoming hazards.
  • If you must walk at night, wear bright clothing, and carry a lit flashlight to make yourself more visible.

At the end of the day, we all want to go home safe and sound. Stay alert; be aware; and share the roadways. It’s the best route to summer fun!

Randy Richman is a part-time Brookfield firefighter and paramedic, firefighting instructor and regional director for hyperbaric medicine for Shared Health Service Inc.