Living a healthy lifestyle is as easy as hopping on a bicycle. But don’t get carried away. More bike accidents with personal injuries requiring emergency room visits happen during the summer months than any other time of year. A few safety tips can help avoid personal injury and a staggering hospital bill.
Once the training wheels are taken off, most youngsters put more energy into learning to ride hands-free, with eyes closed or while standing on the seat, but give little thought to avoiding personal injury. Best practices include: keeping your bike in top-top shape, wearing a bike helmet every time you ride and staying off the road during inclement weather.
For those who have forgotten safe cycling habits (or never learned them in the first place), here’s a refresher course for steering clear of personal injury.
How to Ride
- Eyes on the road.
- Both hands on the handlebars.
- Observe all traffic lights and stop signs.
- Use hand signals for turns, stops and merges.
- Look in both directions for traffic after every stop.
- Check for oncoming traffic before pulling out from a driveway or curb.
- Ride only during daylight hours for the greatest visibility.
- Don’t wear headphones. Music is distracting and muffles traffic noise.
- Ride single file when bicycling with others
- Always wear a bike helmet, the best protection against head injury.
See the article, “Bike Helmets Prevent Personal Injuries” for how to adjust a bike helmet and “ Cyclists Reroute Personal Injury With the Right Accessories” for tips on the safest clothes and gear.
Where to Ride
- Ride in the street where bicycles are expected to follow the same rules of the road as motorists.
- Children younger than age ten should ride on the sidewalk instead of the street. See article, “ Kids Cycle on Sidewalks to Bypass Personal Injury” for more safety tips for kids.
- Ride with the flow of traffic; not against it.
- Avoid personal injury by using bike lanes, bike paths or parks, bike trails and roads with little traffic whenever possible.
- Cross streets only at intersections. Seven out of 10 bike crashes happen at driveways and intersections.
- Walk bike across busy roads.
- Don’t ride close to parked cars; use caution in parking lots.
- Watch out for hazards such as dogs, puddles, gravel, storm grates, wet leaves, pot holes and broken glass.