The Importance of Safe Biking
With May being National Bike Month, it is important to remember biking safety as you enjoy the weather and riding. No matter what type of bike you ride, road or mountain bike, the number one thing to remember is safety is important. In 2015, approximately 1,000 bicyclists died from injuries sustained in accidents.
Being safe on a bike starts with wearing protective gear like a helmet, which reports have shown helps to reduce the risk of head injury by an estimated 60%. But, wearing a helmet may not be enough. The League of American Bicyclist states “Wearing a bike helmet improperly is the same as not wearing a bike helmet at all.” For proper helmet fit, see the video below from The League of American Bicyclist, which can also be found here.
This year strive to be a “Roll Model” when it comes to both bike safety and automobile safety. By following the few tips below, you will have a safer biking experience:
- Ride and drive focused, never distracted
- Ride and drive prepared, expect the unexpected
- Always wear a helmet or a seatbelt
- Bicyclist must be aware of drivers opening car doors, and drivers must be cautious when opening their car doors
- Use hand signals or turn signals when turning and use extra care at intersections
- Know the rules of the road, many states have laws in place about the rights and responsibilities of both rider and driver
- Share the road by having mutual respect
- When bicycling make sure to wear bright clothing, and if riding at night, wear reflective clothing
- Bikes should be equipped with reflectors on the rear, front, pedals, and spokes to make it easier for drivers to see
- Adding a horn, bell, mirror, or headlight to a bike is recommended to increase visibility
For children, it is important that they not only wear a helmet but also make sure that the bike is checked and adjusted to fit before riding. The ability to see and be seen is important in addition to being aware of road hazards (e.g. broken glass, potholes, gravel, puddles, etc.). Children should be taught this at a young age.
No matter the rider’s age or the time of day, riding safety is important to follow. To help decrease your chances of injury related to biking, check out BikeLeague.org for more information on safe riding, including videos on techniques and gear to wear.
Sources: BikeLeague.org, TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov, NationalSafetyCouncil.org, NHTSA.gov