As the summer heats up, people want to get outside as much as possible to soak up the sun. Bike riding is a great way to enjoy the summer weather and stay healthy. Though bike riding is good for you, it can be potentially dangerous.
In 2011, the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration reported 677 deaths related to bicycle riding. What’s more, 9 percent of those deaths were of children 14 years old and younger. However, bicycle riding doesn’t have to be dangerous at all, as long as you take a few safety precautions.
When taking the first ride of the summer, there are a few things you will want to check first to ensure proper bike maintenance.
- Check your bike for any loose parts, including the saddle or handlebars.
- If your bike has quick release levers, make sure they are closed snugly, and check the tires for wear or dry rot.
- It is always a good idea to inflate your tires after your bike has been in the garage all winter; the proper tire pressure for your bike can usually be located molded onto the tires.
- If the tires are not inflated enough, the bike will be harder to pedal, and you could have more flats. Next lube the bike chain to prevent breakage from internal friction. Lastly, make sure your bike saddle is snug and in a comfortable position for you.
- The next step for bike safety is often the most important one- wear a helmet!
Safety Tips to Remember about Helmets:
Make sure your helmet is not too loose or wobbly. Helmets come with stick-on foam pads that you can place inside to ensure a snug fit. A well-fitted helmet should fit low on your forehead, about an inch above your eyebrows. Always buckle the chin strap. Remember, helmets are not just for children-parents should be good role models and always wear their helmet too.
Choosing the right Bike:
Your bike should be a proper fit for you too. If your bike is the right size, there will be about 1 or 2 inches between you and the crossbar when you stand over the bike. If it is a mountain bike, it will be about 3 or 4 inches. When riding, your knees should bend just slightly when you fully extend your legs when you pedal.
Bike Riding Safety Tips:
When riding your bike, make sure others can see you. Wear bright colors and reflectors, especially in the evening. Riding at night is not safe, especially if you ride in the road. You should also never bike with headphones in, because being aware of the sounds around you is a key part of staying safe. Try to ride on bike paths whenever possible. Bike paths are a fun place to ride, and they are the safest option since they are especially designed for bikers.
If you have to ride in the road, you are required to follow all the rules of the road the same as a vehicle. Stay vigilant of dangers such as potholes, pedestrians, and construction areas. Never ride into the street without stopping first; nearly one-third of bike crashes involving young children happen when a young child rides into the street in front of a car.
Share these safety tips with your whole family, and take extra care to inform young children about bike safety guidelines. With the proper safety tips, bike riding can be a fun and safe activity for the whole family to enjoy.