Cyclin’ into warm weather

Warm weather is here! Let’s hope for real this time. With warm weather comes the need to be outside, weather it is playing in the pool, landscaping the yard and especially going on a bike ride. Growing up, I was always out in my neighborhood on my bike, it felt like a little bit of freedom. With that said, there are also some real dangers out there for not only children on their bikes but adults too. I’m going to try and provide some tips to keep you and your families safe while having fun riding your bikes.

For your teens and preteens, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has provided some great tools to keep your teens safe. One of the first steps to make sure that your teen doesn’t crash would be to make sure that their bike fits their body size. Bigger bikes can be harder for them to control as well as be able to get on and off of them safely. Don’t forget to regularly check the bike breaks and make sure that all of the reflectors on the bike are not broken or covered up. Make sure that their protective gear has reflective properties to it as well. It would be easier for a driver to see multiple reflectors than just the one that comes on the bike. Make sure your teens know their routes, whether they have bike lanes or have high amounts of traffic. Make sure your teens understand that it is not safe for two people to ride on a one-person bike. Most importantly make sure that they will stay focused on the traffic around them.

In a 2003 article by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 2 percent of all traffic fatalities were deaths of pedalycylists. Pedalcyclists include bicyclists, tricyclist and other non-motorized vehicles. Out of 32,719 fatalieites in 2013, 743 were pedalcyclist. Majority of these were individuals located in urban areas, in non-intersection areas and occurred from the hours of 3 pm to 11 pm.

Some general, all age, safety reminders are:

  • Make sure you war properly fitting helmets.
  • Bicycles are considered vehicles, meaning one needs to abide by the same traffic rules as motor vehicles.
  • Wear bright colored clothing during the day and reflective clothing at night.
  • For motorist:
    • Allow three feet of clearance when passing a bicyclist on the road
    • Before opening car doors or pulling our of a parking spot, make sure that there are no cyclists approaching
    • Watch for cyclists making turns and yield at all intersections

For more information about keeping you and your family safe while enjoying a good bike ride, visit http://www.nhtsa.gov/Bicycles

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