Bicycle safety is a major concern of both existing and potential bicyclists. For those who ride, safety is typically an on-going concern or even a distraction. For those who do not ride, it is one of the most compelling reasons not to ride. Nationwide, the total number of reported cyclist fatalities has dropped dramatically since 1994, with 802 fatalities reported in 1994 and 725 fatalities reported in 2004. In comparison, total traffic fatalities have increased by 5% over this ten year period.
The City of Riverside Police Department enforces all bicycle and motorist traffic violations. Youth under 18 who receive a ticket for a bicycle, skateboard, jaywalking, or helmet violation must attend a violator course with their parents. Attendees pay $10 and receive a helmet at the end of the course given by the Police Department.
In addition to the violator course, the Police Department provides proactive incentives to encourage youth to ride safely. One example of this is the Safety Cite program, in which Police Officers stop and thank young riders by writing a "Safety Citation" for following traffic laws and wearing appropriate protective equipment. A Safety Citation results in a letter to the youth's parents that acknowledges their good behavior and the youth is then eligible for a bicycle raffle in the Police Department's annual Traffic Safety Fair.