Joey's Bicycle Safety Tips
Joey loves to ride his bicycle! But he knows it is important to be safe at all times. Below are important safety tips which parents, guardians and kids should know.
- Wear a helmet – helmets are proven to be 85-88 percent effective in preventing traumatic brain injury, the primary cause of death and disabling injuries resulting from cycling crashes. Everyone takes a spill now and then, but having a properly fitted helmet could save a life.
- Adjust the bicycle seat for each rider's height – There should be one-to-two inches between the rider and the top bar of the bicycle on a road bike and three-to-five inches if using a mountain bike. The seat should be level front-to-back, and the height should be adjusted to allow a slight bend at the knee when the leg is fully extended on the pedal. The handlebar height should be even with the seat.
- Check equipment before pedaling – don't forget to check that tires are inflated properly and brakes are working correctly before you take off. Ensure handlebars are firmly attached and turn easily.
- Be seen – no matter what time of day you are riding, it's wise to wear neon, fluorescent or other bright colors so you can be seen by motorists. You can also have reflective tape or flashing lights on your clothing, helmet or bicycle to be more visible.
Rules of the Road
- Go with the traffic flow – ride on the right side of the street, in the same direction as other vehicles.
- Obey traffic laws – if you see a stop sign, stop. Cyclists need to obey the same traffic signs, signals and lane markings that an automobile would.
- Yield to traffic – slow down to see if the way is clear before proceeding. Yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk and yield to drivers on major roads.
- Signal – use hand signals to let others know when you are going to make a turn or cross a lane of traffic. Check behind you for a break in traffic before making a turn. Otherwise, ride in a straight line and do not zigzag.
- Be alert – watch out for potholes, cracks, wet areas, storm grates, railroad tracks or anything that might cause you to lose control of your bike. Listen for oncoming traffic and avoid dangerous situations. Do not use phones, headsets, or other electronic devices when you ride.
- Avoid parked cars – keep plenty of distance between you and a parked vehicle. You never know when a driver may be opening his door or pulling out into traffic.
Why it matters!
Many people grew up riding bicycles at a time when there may have been fewer vehicles on the road and less opportunity for injury. Today, more children go to hospital emergency rooms for bicycle-related injuries than for any other sport injury.
- More than one-fifth of all bicyclist deaths occur among school age youth ages 5 to 15.
- Head injuries are the most serious type of injury and the most common cause of death for bicyclists.
- Young people are less adept at using their peripheral vision than older children and adults. This can result in delayed responses to oncoming traffic.