It’s a beautiful day out and your kids have been cooped up because of the novel coronavirus. They want to take their bikes out and go for a spin! Before you get their bikes out of the garage and ready to go, our Hernando County Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton want to make sure you know how to teach them to be safe on two wheels.
Riding a bike is loads of fun, but every year, thousands of children end up in the emergency room due to bike-related injuries. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017, the state of Florida had 125 fatal bicycle accidents – the most in any state. In 2018, 825 bicyclists were killed in traffic crashes across the United States.
Helmets Are A Must
Children and adults should always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. This offers protection to your face, head, and brain if you fall down. Bike helmets should display a sticker by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which tells us that the helmet meets the safety standards set forth by the U.S. government. If your helmet does not have this safety sticker, you should promptly consider purchasing one that does.
You should wear a helmet every time you ride your back, regardless of how long or short the distance. You want to make sure that your helmet fits well and that you are wearing it correctly. It should cover your forehead and not tip back. The straps should be fastened every time you wear it. You should not wear a hat underneath your helmet. You want to keep your helmet in great condition, so do not knock it around. If it becomes damaged, it may not protect you from serious injuries should you fall or get knocked off your bicycle. If you fall and hit your helmet while biking, you will want to get a new one. It is a great idea to add some reflective stickers to your helmet so that motorists can see you better.
Bicycle Safety Checklist
You need the right size bike to maximize safety. To check the correct size, stand straddling the top bar of your bicycle with both feet flat and firm on the ground. There should be 1 to 3 inches of space between your body and the top bar of the bike.
Once you know you have the perfect fit, make sure the seat, wheels, and handlebars are all tight. Monitor your chain and oil regularly for maintenance, and check your brakes to make sure they are not sticking. Lastly, make sure your tires are well inflated and have the right amount of pressure.
Rules to Remember When Bicycling
- Ride with your hands firmly on the handlebars at all times.
- When you leave your driveway or curb, remember to always look in both traffic directions before riding away.
- Always cross at intersections for the best visibility.
- Do not ride against traffic. You want to ride on the right-hand side of the road and travel in the same direction as cars do.
- If you have bike lanes, use them.
- Obey all traffic signals.
- If you are riding with your friends, ride in a single-file.
- If you are passing another biker or a person on the street, always pass on their left side and let them know you are on their left so that they are aware you are approaching.
How to Signal
Hand signals help motorists and pedestrians understand what you are doing so that they do not hit you. You want to use your left arm for all signals:
- Left turn – Check behind you first and then hold your arm out straight and to the left and pull forward slowly.
- Stop – Again, check behind you first. Then, bend your elbow while pointing your arm down making an upside down shape that looks like an “L” and stop.
- Right turn – Check behind you, make an “L” shape with your bent elbow, and ride straight ahead of you slowly.