Keep your bike safe by doing this 5 minute bike safety check!
Streets are dangerous places.
- In 2011, 677 lost their lives in bicycle/motor vehicle crashes, just under two people every day of the year in the U.S. This is approximately just over two percent of the total number of people killed and injured in traffic crashes in 2011. Injuries totaled 48,000 (NHSTA).
- Only a fraction of bicycle crashes causing injury are recorded by police; this number is likely only around ten percent, meaning that A LOT more people are hurt while riding their bikes than we know about.
- Nearly 90% of all car/bike crashes involving children are the result of PREDICTABLE events (IPMBA). Following these rules and tips below will help keep you and your friends safe!!
If you're on the road... follow the rules.
- Know the proper side of the road on which to ride and how to give hand signals indicating a left or right turn. Just like a car would, you should know what road signs mean, and how to follow them.
- When biking on the street, ASSUME drivers CANNOT see you because they MAY NOT. Watch for turning vehicles and never listen to music because you may become distracted and be less alert to a potential danger.
Some tips on how you could keep yourself safe on the road
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Be careful of loose clothing and shoes!
- Stay away from loose clothing that can become entangled in the bike chain, including long shoelaces and loose-fitting pants. Backpack loops can also get caught in a bike chain or spokes.
- Flip-flops and sandals should be avoided because they can easily slip off pedals. And riding barefoot can be very very dangerous for toes and feet. You want to keep all your toes, right?
Light the night!
- Decorating your bike with cool reflectors and wearing bright colored clothing can help you be seen! Bikes also can be equipped with flags to make them easier for pedestrians and cars to see.
- Bike lights can be purchased at The Bike Project or a local bike shop.
- C-U SRTS Project gives away FREE backpack reflectors on Bike to School Day, Walk to School Day, and at bike rodeos.
Be polite to other people walking on the sidewalk, crossing the street, or biking.
- It is polite to warn other people on the sidewalk or other cyclists on the road if you want to pass them. A bell or horn people to know if you are approaching. Or if you don't have a bell, you can say loudly, "On your left!" This helps the person know to give you space to pass.
- This is especially important if you are riding on the sidewalk because a pedestrian may not hear you and both of you could get hurt!
Protect Your Head. (You've only got one, and there's a lot of important stuff inside.)
- Don't ride a bike without a helmet. If you fall and hit your head without one, you could get very very hurt. Approved helmets have a Consumer Product Safety Commission sticker. Your helmet should fit snugly - it's like a head hug! Helmets that are decorated with fun reflective stickers are not only more visible to drivers on the road but WAY more fun to wear.
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Take care of your bike, and it will take care of you!
- Keep your bike in good shape by regularly checking to make sure your tires are properly inflated and that the chain is oiled regularly. Make sure the wheels, handlebars and seat are tight. Also regularly check the bike’s brakes. Ask an adult for help. You can also ask for help at a local bicycle shop.
You've only got one body. Have fun, and keep it safe!
- Riding a bike is fun and great for your health but sometimes we forget how easily our bodies can get hurt. The above tips can keep you safe in the event that something dangerous happens when riding your bike. You can have fun while also staying safe!
Content adapted from: www.livestrong.com/article/81404-bicycle-safety-kids/ and http://ipmba.org/blog/comments/youth-bicycle-safety-education