Outside in Open! Bicycle Helmet Safety Tips

Outside is Open! With so many of us practicing #Socialdistancing to #FlattenTheCurve, many of us are looking for ways to stay active. If bike riding is one of them, we share with you two quick videos on how to fit your #bikehelmet. Be safe and have fun!

Whether you’re riding a bicycle, scooter, skateboard, if there are wheels under your feet, NJ requires a helmet on your head up to the age of 17. Biking to school and around town can be a safe activity, though if you happen to fall, it’s smart to protect your head. Here are a few tips on how to wear a bicycle helmet safely:

For Adults:

For Children:

Chalk Your Walk – Safety Tips

If walks around your neighborhood have increased in the past week, perhaps you have seen inspirational messages drawn across the sidewalk and pavement.  This art is called #ChalkYourWalk and it’s springing up everywhere.

Given we are all practicing #socialdistancing to #flattenthecurve,  walking or biking in the neighborhood is one of the few things we can continue to participate in safely – while remembering to keep 6-feet between you and other pedestrians.   Here are a few safety tips for both the #ChalkYourWork artists and those walking and biking in the neighborhood.

For Parents and Artists:

  1. For neighborhoods without sidewalks, have an adult present that can watch for oncoming traffic while drawing in the driveway.
  2. If possible, wear brightly colored clothes as you create your art so that motorists and those walking or biking can see you.

For Pedestrians and Cyclists:

  1. Walk or bike focused.  If you are listening to music, make sure you can still hear the activity around you.
  2. If you are biking in the neighborhood, be especially attentive to neighborhoods without sidewalks.  Children may be drawing in their driveways.
  3. Heads up and Phones Down: Whether on bike or foot or even driving, there will be more children playing outside and many of them will be in groups of five or less and may not be as visible.

As we navigate these very unprecedented times and learn to adapt to the restrictions that are in place, we remind everyone that we are all in this together.  Stay safe and stay strong.

If your children have created #ChalkYourWalk art, please email us at programs@kmm.org so that we may share their happy messages with our followers.

National Crossing Guard Day

School crossing guards play an important role in the lives of children who walk or bicycle to school. They help children safely cross the street at key locations and they also remind drivers of the presence of pedestrians.  Regardless of the weather, our crossing guards provide safety and smiles each and every school day.  Join us in recognizing the crossing guards across Middlesex County on Wednesday, February 12, 2020, by showing your thanks.

Our friends at New Jersey Safe Routes to School put together some ideas to recognize your crossing guards:

  • Students, parents, and other community members can sign Thank You cards and present them to crossing guards. Thank-you-card-template can be customized or design your own!
  • Work with your local government to recognize these municipal employees with a certificate at a town council meeting, school board meeting and/or school event.  Here is a Template-Recognition-Certificate-for-CGthat you can use and customize.
  • Coordinate with your municipal police department to present a pedestrian safety program in the schools and invite your crossing guards.
  • Work with your school’s PTO or PTA to organize a thank you breakfast for your crossing guards.
  • Recognize your crossing guards in the school newsletter, school email and on the website. Send the notice to the local media.
  • Post a thank you on outdoor school notice boards and lighted signs.
  • Create a thank you banner and hang it at the crossing guard post.
  • Post flyers around school and town to remind people to thank a crossing guard.
  • Simply say “Thank you” to your crossing guard.
  • During your school’s daily PA announcements, inform students about the recognition initiatives and encourage students to give their crossing guards a big smile and thank you.
  •  Ask parents to donate a small token of appreciation for each guard (pocket hand warmers, a cookie, a thank you card, etc.).
  • Solicit local businesses to donate gift cards or a small gift that could be given to your crossing guard.

 There are many inexpensive ways to show your appreciation to your crossing guards!
Thank your crossing guard today and every day!

Original post – click here

Shared Safety Tips for the School Year

With back-to-school mode in full swing, you may have noticed more traffic congestion.  And along with traffic congestion, we are sharing the roads with school buses, bicyclists, and parents rushing to drop their kids off at school. Sharing the road and following these simple safety precautions will ensure a safe school year:

  1. Look before you go. More kids are hit by cars/buses near schools than at any other location, according to the National Safe Routes to School Program. Both the parent and student should look for cars, making sure that the area near the school is clear before getting out of the car.
  2. Give the right away. For drivers passing by, make sure you give the pedestrians the right away when crossing the street, whether they are walking or biking. Always come to a complete stop and watch for kids when you are approaching a school zone with flashing pedestrian signs. This means kids are in the area and it’s your job as a driver to be aware.
  3. Be smart. Kids that walk, ride their bikes or take the school bus need to ensure their safety. Those crossing the street, always use a crosswalk and look both ways to see if cars/buses are approaching. Those taking the bus, make sure you are standing away from the curb when a bus is pulling up or driving away, that way you don’t get hit.

Together, we are all responsible – as pedestrians and drivers, to make this year’s back to school a safe return for everyone!

August is National Family Fun Month

August is National Family Fun Month, which means it’s a great opportunity to seize the remainder of summer by spending time with family. Here are some cool activities to help you and your family finish out the summer!

Take a family bike ride. Make sure everyone is wearing properly fitted helmets and all bikes are in good riding condition. Following our A B C Bicycle Safety Checklist is a great way to make sure your bikes are ready to ride.

Going on a last minute family beach trip is not only exciting, but it is the perfect way to spend a hot summer day. Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated and make sure you apply sunscreen to keep your skin protected from the suns UV rays.

Lace up your sneakers and take a walk with the family. Walking in the park, on the beach, or around your neighborhood is a great way to stay active together. Remember that cars do not always see pedestrians walking, so make sure you look both ways before crossing the street and always be aware of your surroundings.

After a long day at work, the thought of going out can be exhausting. To avoid this, consider having a family movie night.  Pick out your favorite family movie, get the popcorn ready, and enjoy the night together.

The month of August doesn’t have to mean back to school shopping and the thought of summer ending. Instead, spending time with your family is a great way to make the most of summer’s last days.  It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you are safe and are having fun with your family!

A B C – Bicycle Safety Check List

Bicycle riding is fun, healthy, and a great way to get some fresh air. Before riding, you should always inspect your bike to make sure all parts are secure and working properly.

A great way to do this is by following our A B C – Bicycle Safety Checklist:

  • Air- Always check the air pressure in your bicycle tires before you start riding. Pushing down with your hands on each tire lets you not only see, but also feel how much air there is and if any air needs to be added.
  • Brakes- Making sure your bicycles brakes work is essential for riding. You can simply check them by pulling the brake handles in and looking to see that your bike does not move when the handles are locked in.
  • Chains- The chains on your bicycle do more than you may think. The chain and cranks need to properly sit on your bike, move smoothly and have no rust. This will ensure that the chain works correctly and that all functions of the bike are possible.

The last thing you need to check before riding isn’t on your bicycle; it’s actually on your head! Wearing a properly fitted helmet not only protects your brain but can save your life. A properly fitted helmet should have no gaps between your temples and brow pads; the chinstrap should be snug and it should only allow one finger to be able to fit under the strap.

Before each bike ride, be sure to follow the A B C – Bicycle Safety Checklist and ride safe and ride worry free!

Sharing the Road ~Together

Drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians – We all use the roads and we’d each prefer to do so without the other in the way.

Sometimes our own actions or the actions of others around us can put us in danger, especially when it comes to sharing the road. Although it is often unintentional, forgetting basic road etiquette can cause yourself or another harm and injury. Here are some safety tips that every motorist should know about sharing the roads:

  1. Drivers look for pedestrians when making turns, right? So why not take a couple extra seconds to look for a cyclist? The cyclist has the right of way if they are going straight and the driver is turning right.
  2. Pedestrians have responsibilities too. They should always avoid walking distracted.  Keep earbud volume low enough to hear oncoming traffic and do not text and walk.
  3. If you are a driver approaching pedestrians and/or cyclists, wait to pass them until you have a clear view ahead and are sure there’s no oncoming traffic. A little bit of patience could save your life.
  4. Signal your turns and do it in plenty of time. Using turn signals is not only a law for drivers but for cyclists as well. By using hand signals to determine which way you are turning, this can alert drivers, other cyclists, and pedestrians when they see you coming.

When you’re behind the wheel of a vehicle, riding a bike or motorcycle, driving safely should always be your top concern. It’s crucial to know the basics of safe driving and practice them every time you’re on the road.  This will ensure that everyone can travel and stay safe together.

Happy National Selfie Day!

June 21st is National Selfie Day! It’s a cinch to participate in this holiday. Just pose, snap, and post.

But most importantly, take that selfie safely.  Here’s how:

If you take a trip to the beach, getting the waves crashing behind you is a great way to show how you are spending your summer day.   Be sure to scan the area for any riptides and heed any lifeguard warnings.  Hold on tight to your phone too.  That wave crashing behind you can be far stronger than you think!

If you are going for a bike ride, the possibilities are endless of what you can share – action shots, landscapes, and your very cool bike gear.  While all these shots can be epic, it’s smarter to pull over and snap that picture than to take the picture while biking.

Spending the day walking with co-workers for lunch or dinner alfresco with friends? There is plenty to capture and share too.  Just remember to not snap and post that perfect selfie while walking.

Most importantly be aware of your surroundings.  That big smile you’ll post on social media for all to see should be fun and worry-free.   So snap that pic, and Get your Selfie on!

Taking the Keys Away

At some point in time you will feel the concern or even the fear that your parents or elderly friends should no longer drive a vehicle. For anyone, this can be a very difficult and emotional experience. Knowing when its the right time to take away the keys requires important deliberations, considerations and possible actions that you the caregiver will have to face.

The first thing you should know is that a person’s age is not and shouldn’t be the reason for taking away their car keys. There are people in their 80s and 90s who have their licenses and drive actively and safely, while there are others in their 50s and 60s who are dangers to themselves and others when behind the wheel. The physical and mental conditions and the persons abilities are the first factors you need to consider. Driving takes dexterity and strength in both arms and legs/feet to be able to control the vehicle at all times. If your physical ability is off then the whole driving performance will be off too, which can cause an accident indegenerique.be.

The second thing you need to consider is if the driver is on any medications or if they have any diseases. Alzheimer’s disease is very common and the driver can become disoriented almost anywhere and severe diabetics may fall into a coma at anytime. Along with these diseases, prescription medications can produce specific changes or functions within the body. Some reactions may be drowsiness and possibly slowing down person’s reaction time, which may effect a person’s ability to drive.

If you aren’t sure how to determine if its time to take away your parents keys, do a ride along with them. Taking a ride with your parent is the best way to observe his or her physical abilities in controlling the vehicle, staying within the lane, how they handle turns, the driving speed, and for any possible confusions in traffic. Make sure that your observations are done without nagging them on or causing a distraction for them. Lastly, be sure that when you finally decide that its time, that you are respectful and understanding when speaking with the driver. This can always be an emotional time for them, so being honest and providing them comfort will help make this experience a lot less stressful.

Back to School Safety

Picture Source: http://www.nsc.org/learn/safety-knowledge/Pages/back-to-school-safety-tips-for-drivers.aspx
Picture Source: http://www.nsc.org/learn/safety-knowledge/Pages/back-to-school-safety-tips-for-drivers.aspx

With #backtoschool in full swing, many of us have noticed the inevitable; more cars and more congestion.  Back to school means sharing the roads and slowing down. There are school buses picking up kids from multiple stops, kids on bikes are rushing to get to school on time, and parents are trying to drop their kids off before work.

If you are someone who is dropping off your kids to school, make sure that the area is clear before letting them get out of the car. More children are hit by cars/buses near schools than at any other location, according to the National Safe Routes to School program. Before dropping off your kids be sure you are not double parked. This blocks visibility for other vehicles passing by. Do not drop off your kids across the street from their school, even though it may be more convenient for you. Carpooling is also a great way to reduce the number of vehicles around the school, which decreases the chances of a child getting hit.  Don’t block crosswalks- especially when you are stopped at a red light. Be sure to give the pedestrians the right away, whether they are walking or riding a bike. When you are in school zone and flashers are blinking, be sure to come to a complete stop and watch for children. Lastly, do your best to watch out for your children in school zones, playgrounds and residential areas, as well as the other children around them.

During school hours, there will be more and more school buses on the roads. If you are ever driving behind a school bus, you should always allow a greater following distance than you would driving behind a car. This then allows you to have more time to stop once the bus puts on it’s yellow flashing lights. Never pass a school bus if you are stopped behind them while they are picking up children. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children. Passing a school bus from either direction on an undivided road, can potentially put children who are loading or unloading in danger if they are unaware that you are coming.

We are all responsible – as pedestrians and drivers, to make #backtoschool a safe return!