Bike riding can be a lot of fun, especially for kids. It’s a way for them to get out of the house and enjoy themselves in the fresh air. However, bike accidents do occur. They can happen pretty often if the child is not paying attention to their surroundings. Every year, about 300,000 kids go to the emergency room because of bike injuries. A majority of the time it’s because they weren’t looking where they were going.
Picture Source: http://www.capjournal.com/people/health/riding-for-fun-riding-for-health/article_c11adcaa-690b-5b42-8e26-9fc324360473.html?mode=image&photo=0
In order to fix this problem and for your child to stay safe while riding, here are some bike safety tips for them to follow:
Always wear a helmet. They may not seem like the coolest and most popular item out there, but they can save your life. A bike helmet can be annoying if not fitted properly. Make sure you size the helmet to fit your head. You do not want it too big or too small. Along with the helmet, always wear sneakers. Open toed shoes and sandals can fall off your feet or get stuck in the bike pedal while riding.
If it’s a hot day outside make sure to bring a bottle of water, sunglasses, and use sunscreen. It’s very important to stay hydrated when doing a physical activity- like bike riding. If the sun seems to be out then you should apply some sunscreen to areas of your body where the sun will be hitting them. It’s not worth getting really bad sunburn, even if you are going for a short ride.
Lastly, do not use your phone while riding your bike. Text messages , emails, calls, and the new game “Pokémon GO” can all wait. Although it seems like fun to use the app while riding, it is a huge distraction. Not looking where you are going can cause an accident and even lead to injuries. Always make sure you come to a complete stop when playing or checking your phone. That way you are aware of your surroundings and are able to get to your destination safely.
As a bike rider, it can be challenging to feel comfortable riding in the road with motor vehicles, but roads are often the best way to get from A to B whether for shopping, commuting or enjoying a ride. Learning to ride defensively can increase your comfort and safety, and expand the number of roads where you can ride. Here are some tips for defensive bicycling.
- Choose your route
- Before your ride, select a route with the lightest or slowest traffic or the widest shoulder that gets you where you want to go. Select a route where you’re comfortable riding.
- Ride predictably
- Ride in a straight line, in the direction of traffic on the right side of the road. However, don’t hug the curb. Leave room to safely navigate issues such as pot holes, debris, sewer grates and other obstacles.
- Obey traffic signs and signals, they’re for both bicyclists and motor vehicles.
- Use extra caution around turning vehicles and at intersections. Avoid passing stopped vehicles on the right.
- Use extra caution around large vehicle like trucks and buses, which have a larger blind spot and make wider turns.
- When there is a short gap between parked cars, ride in a straight line rather than weaving in and out. This way, drivers see where you want to go and you can avoid merging back into the travel lane when you have to pass the next parked car.
- Don’t swerve at the last second to avoid potholes or debris. Instead, move over early when you notice an obstacle up ahead.
- Be visible
- When a travel lane is too narrow for both a bike and motor vehicle to share, move towards the center of the lane to make yourself more visible to motorists.
- Use a front white light and red rear light in low-light conditions and at night. It’s New Jersey law.
- Wear bright, highly visible clothing, preferably with reflective tape or patches.
- Avoid distractions and hazards
- Keep your head up and be aware of your surroundings.
- Ride four feet from parked cars to stay out of the “door zone,” where you could collide with an opening car door.
- Avoid drinking, eating, using your phone, or anything that requires your hands while bicycling.
- At large, complicated or busy intersections, consider getting off your bike and walking across.
- Look behind you and scan for oncoming vehicles before making all turns.
- Signal your turns, especially in mixed traffic and around other cyclists.
- Make eye contact with drivers and pedestrians.
- On the trail or sidewalk
- When riding near pedestrians, let them know you’re there using a bell or your voice.
- Reduce speed when passing pedestrians and other cyclists.
- Slow down and use extra care at intersections and blind corners.
- Have the right equipment
- Wear a helmet every time you ride.
- Ride a bike that’s the right size for you.
- Keep your bike in good working order. Check tire pressure, brakes, and chain regularly.
- Ride more and learn more!
- When driving look carefully for bicyclists before turning left or right, merging into bicycle lanes and opening doors next to moving traffic. Respect the right of way of bicyclists because they are entitled to share the road with you.
- Consider taking a Smart Cycling class from the League of American Bicyclists.
May is National Bike Month.
The mornings are bright, the weather is warm, and it’s a perfect time to start biking to work.
Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Know where to go
Take some time to map out your route before you start. The shortest route tends to be the busiest – going a little bit out of the way can lead you to quiet parallel streets for a more enjoyable ride. Other cyclists prefer the direct route – look for bike lanes and wide shoulders for a comfortable and speedy ride.
Get your bike in shape
Check over your bike to make sure it’s in good working order, especially if you haven’t ridden it in a while. Check the tire pressure, brakes, chain and gears. If in doubt, take it to your local bike shop for a tune up.
Riding predictably is the most important thing you can do when riding on the road. A bike is a vehicle – use your turn signals (your arms!) to let drivers know when you’re turning, and always obey traffic signs and signals. And always wear a helmet – it’s your last line of defense.
Coming home late? Use a front white light and a rear red light – it’s common sense and it’s the law. Wear light-colored clothing and consider reflective gear.
Enjoy the ride
It’s spring! Take it easy and enjoy the blooming trees and fresh air.
Now that your ready, grab your helmets and get on your bike!
Share your photos of your bike adventure with us by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org!