As the weather is starting to get warmer, people want to spend more time outdoors. Bike riding is a fun outdoor activity for people of all ages. However, bike riding can be dangerous if riders are not safe.
According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were nearly 700 died while riding a bike in 2007 and 43,000 bicyclists suffered injuries. There are a few basic safety tips to follow to keep you and your family safe when riding a bike:
Fit the Bike to Your Child.
Make sure the child can sit on the seat and balance the bicycle with the balls of both feet touching the ground without leaning to either side.
Measure Your Child Before Allowing Your Child to Ride a Bike.
Measure your child’s inseam to the ground. Then measure the bike, from the top horizontal bar to the ground. The measurement should be 1-2 inches shorter than your child’s inseam. When looking at girl’s bikes, measure where the top bar would be if it were designed as a boy’s bike.
Look at the Type of Brakes on the Bike.
Bikes are designed with hand brakes or coaster brakes (stop when pedal backwards). Children under 10 should not use bikes with hand brakes. Only when children are 10 and older are their hands and wrists strong enough to use hand brakes.
Always Wear a Helmet.
Children under the age of 15 are required to wear bicycle helmets in Rhode Island. Massachusetts does not require helmets to be worn, but they are strongly encouraged. However, helmets protect against head injuries. Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of hear injury by 85%. Helmets should be wore level and low on the forehead, with two-finger widths space between the eyebrows and the helmet.
Measure Your Child’s Head for the Helmet.
A correct fitting helmet is very important. Measure your child’s head at the forehead to determine what size helmet to purchase. Make sure the Snell Foundation or ANSI approves the helmet.
Always Ride on the Right Side of the Road.
You should always be riding with the flow of traffic, which is normally on the right side of the road.
Obey All Traffic Laws, Signs, Lights and Signals.
When on the road, bicyclists are subject to the same traffic rules and laws as automobiles. Learning and using the appropriate hand signals is very helpful on the road.
For more Information about Bicycle Safety and Area Bike Paths, check out:
- Rhode Island: http://www.dot.state.ri.us/bikeri/
- Massachusetts: http://www.mhd.state.ma.us/default.asppgid=content/bikepaths01&sid=about