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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Bicycle Safety

I'm trying to cover some topics that are timely for this time of year and when I saw something on bicycle safety, I thought that would be a great topic for this time of year since the kids are out of school and riding bikes all over the place.

I want to urge parents, grandparents, and guardians of our young folks, to please teach your kids proper bicycle safety (and learn it yourself since I've seen some adults riding recklessly). There is a fortunate young man in my hometown who was not injured because I was looking out for him. I saw him flying down the sidewalk on his bike as I was getting ready to make a right turn. Since I could see he wasn't watching for traffic, I stopped right as I started to make the turn, and sure enough, he went flying across the street in front of me. It was only when he was about 3/4 of the way across the street that he decided to look for traffic. I'm one of the few drivers in Cumberland who actually pays attention to things around them so I was able to stop, but if it would have been one of the crazy drivers, that young man could have been seriously injured. So please, make sure you learn bike safety and pass it on to all the children in your life.

Before starting out, make sure the bicycle is in proper working order--check the brakes, check the tires, make sure nothing is loose. ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET! Follow all traffic laws. Bicycles are to follow the same traffic laws as motorists. This means that you don't ride your bike on the sidewalk, you don't ride your bike the wrong way on a one way street, and that you use proper hand signals when making turns or stopping.

Here a few more helpful tips from healthfinder.gov:

Always wear a bike helmet! Get your family in the "helmet habit" – wear helmets every time and everywhere you ride bikes. A bike helmet is the best way to prevent injury or death from a bike accident.

Bike helmets only protect you if you wear them the right way. Every time you put your helmet on, make sure that:

- The helmet is flat on the top of your head
- The helmet is covering the top of your forehead
- The strap is buckled snugly under your chin

Learn how to fit a bike helmet

Check regularly to make sure your child's helmet still fits.

Make sure people can see you easily. Wear bright colors or glow–in–the–dark clothes, even during the day. Make sure something on your clothes or bike reflects light, like reflective tape.

Drivers have a hard time seeing bike riders at night. Plan ahead so your bike rides are over before it gets dark.

Follow the "rules of the road".
- Look both ways before entering the street.
- Ride in the same direction as the cars.
- Stop at all stop signs and intersections.
- Use hand signals to show others what you plan to do next.
- For a left turn, look behind you, hold your left arm straight out to the side, and turn carefully.
- For a right turn, hold your left arm out and up in an "L" shape.
- To signal that you are stopping, hold your left arm out and down in an upside–down "L" shape.

Many states/counties require helmet use when riding bikes, so check out this site to see about laws in your area: http://www.helmets.org/mandator.htm.


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