Bike Safety Tips

Bike Safety Tips

Riding a bike is a fun activity that is good for your health. However, it is important that you know how to stay safe while biking.

What do I need to wear while biking?

Helmet

A helmet is the most important piece of equipment that you can wear to protect yourself while riding a bike. Make sure that you:

  • Always wear a helmet when you ride a bike, and make sure that the straps are fastened.
  • Wear a helmet that is specifically made for biking.
  • Have a helmet that has been safety-approved. Look for a helmet that has a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) sticker. If you have any questions, ask them at the store where you are buying the helmet. Never buy a used helmet.
  • Get a new helmet if you get into a bike accident. You should also get a new helmet every five years or sooner.
  • Have a helmet that is well-ventilated.

A helmet will not help to protect you if it does not fit properly. Here are some tips to make sure your helmet fits:

  • The helmet should sit on top of your head. It should not tip backward or forward.
  • Find the smallest helmet shell size that fits over your head.
  • Do notuse helmet pads to make a helmet fit if it is too big for your head.
  • Leave space for about two fingers between your eyebrows and the front brim of the helmet.
  • The straps should be joined under each of your ears at the jawbone.
  • The buckle should be snug when your mouth is completely open.

Other equipment

Make sure that you wear:

  • Shoes that are safe for biking, such as sneakers. The shoes should not slip on the pedals.Do notride a bike barefoot.
    • Do notwear flip flops.
    • Do notwear cleats.
    • Do notwear shoes with heels.
  • Pants that are fitted, if you are wearing pants. If your pants are too loose or wide at the bottom, they can get stuck in the bike chain.
  • Bright or fluorescent clothes. This helps you to be visible. Avoid dark-colored clothes.
    • Reflective tape is also helpful.
  • Clothes that are comfortable and appropriate for the weather.

What rules do I need to know to bike safely?

You need to know to:

  • Obey all traffic signs. These include:
    • Stop signs.
    • Traffic lights.
  • Bike in the same direction as the cars. Never bike against traffic.
  • Use hand signals, including signals to:
    • Make a left-hand turn.
    • Make a right-hand turn.
    • Stop.
  • Never listen to headphones while riding a bike.
  • Never text or talk on a cell phone while riding a bike.
  • Never stand up while riding a bike.
  • Always stop and check for pedestrians, cars, and any other traffic whenever you start a bike ride. Always look in both directions.
  • Never have more than one adult on a bike. If you are carrying a child in a bike seat, make sure that the bike seat or carrier has been safety-approved.
  • Be careful. Watch for:
    • Cars opening up doors.
    • Cars leaving driveways.
    • Pedestrians.
    • Road hazards, such as potholes or puddles.
  • Ride in single file if you are riding in a group.
  • Walk your bike across busy intersections.
  • Pass on the left side, if you are passing a pedestrian or another biker. Call out that you are on the left so the pedestrian or biker knows that you are there.
  • Never attach your bike to another moving object, vehicle, or pet.
  • Always hold the handlebars with both hands.
  • Always use bike lanes or paths when they are available.

What should I check before riding a bike?

You should always check that:

  • Your helmet fits properly. This is important because straps can loosen over time.
  • The bike’s front and back brakes work.
  • The bike’s tires are inflated properly.
  • The seat is at the correct level.
  • The chain is not loose, rusted, or making cracking or grinding noises when in use.

When should I avoid riding a bike?

Do not ride a bike:

  • If the weather conditions are unsafe, such as during a thunderstorm or if the roads are icy.
  • If it is dark outside. If you must ride at night, make sure that you wear bright clothing and have reflectors or lights in the front and back of the bike.
  • If you have been drinking alcohol or using drugs.
  • If your health care provider has advised you not to ride a bike.

Bike Safety Tips

Is bicycling a good exercise?

Yes, riding a bicycle is great exercise. It can help you get in shape and lose weight, and it can reduce the risk of health problems such as heart attacks. Bicycling puts less strain on your joints than jogging does, so bicycling is easier on your body.

What causes bicycle crashes?

Sometimes your mistakes cause crashes, and other times car drivers or loose gravel on the road are to blame. You are more likely to be seriously hurt if you run into a car or if you are riding fast. Children can be hurt while doing stunts on their bicycles. Getting your fingers or toes caught in the spokes or the pedals can also cause injuries.

What if I fall off my bike?

If you hit your head when you fall you should see a doctor, even if the injury seems minor.

What can I do to avoid injury?

The best way to protect your head and face is to wear a helmet. If you fall from your bike, a helmet will help absorb the force of the impact, sparing your head. All children and adults should wear helmets when they ride, even on short trips. This is now the law in some states.

When you select a helmet, make sure it meets government standards. Look for a seal from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) or Snell Memorial Foundation. Make sure the helmet fits you snugly, and ask for help if you’re not sure of the right fit. Your helmet should not move from side to side or front to back once you have clasped the chin strap.

Here are some more tips for avoiding injury while riding a bike:

Parents should teach children basic traffic rules and make sure they ride in safe places. Children younger than 10 years of age should not ride near traffic.

  • Wear sports sunglasses, which can stop dust and bugs from getting into your eyes.
  • Wear bright, reflective clothing to make it easier for drivers to see you.
  • Wear padded gloves to protect your hands from developing blisters or being injured by debris.
  • Wear padded shorts and use a comfortable seat to reduce buttock pain.
  • Avoid riding at night, and use appropriate lights if you ride during times of the day when visibility is poor or in weather conditions that reduce visibility.
  • Always stay alert and look out for anything in your way.

How can I be sure my bike is safe?

It is always a good idea to make sure that everything on your bicycle is working correctly. Get in the habit of checking that the brakes are working, and be sure there are no loose or broken parts on your bike. Reflectors and lights make you and your bicycle more visible to car drivers in the dark. Consider taking your bicycle to a bike shop for a professional tune-up from time to time.

What about child-carrier seats?

If you ride with a child on your bicycle, you should use a special seat that fits behind the main seat. The child always needs to wear a helmet when riding with you. Also, make sure the bike has spoke guards to prevent the child’s feet from getting caught in the spokes.

Other Organizations

Citations

Bike Safety, Pediatric

Riding a bike is a fun activity that is good for your child’s health. However, it is important that your child knows how to stay safe while biking.

What does my child need to wear while biking?

Helmet

A helmet is the most important piece of equipment that your child can wear to protect himself or herself while riding a bike. Make sure that your child:

  • Is always wearing a helmet when he or she is riding a bike and the straps are fastened.
  • Is wearing a helmet that is specifically made for biking.
  • Has a helmet that has been safety-approved. Look for a helmet that has a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) sticker. If you have any questions, ask them at the store where you are buying the helmet. Never buy a used helmet.
  • Gets a new helmet if he or she gets into a bike accident. You should also buy your child a new helmet at least every five years.
  • Has a helmet that is well-ventilated.

A helmet will not help to protect your child if it does not fit properly. Here are some tips to make sure your child’s helmet fits:

  • The helmet should sit on top of your child’s head. It should not tip backward or forward.
  • Find the smallest helmet shell size that fits over your child’s head.
    • Do not use helmet pads to make a helmet fit if it is too big for your child’s head.
    • Leave space for about two fingers between your child’s eyebrows and the front brim of the helmet.
  • The straps should be joined under each of your child’s ears at the jawbone.
  • The buckle should be snug when your child’s mouth is completely open.

Other equipment

Make sure that your child is wearing:

  • Shoes that are safe for biking, such as sneakers. The shoes should not slip on the pedals.Do notlet your child ride while barefoot. Make sure your child:
    • Does not wear flip flops.
    • Does not wear cleats.
    • Does notwear shoes with heels.
  • Pants that are fitted, if your child is wearing pants. If pants are too loose or wide at the bottom, they can get stuck in the bike chain.
  • Bright or fluorescent clothes. This helps your child to be visible. Avoid dark-colored clothes.
    • Reflective tape is also helpful.
  • Clothes that are comfortable and appropriate for the weather.

What rules does my child need to know to bike safely?

Your child needs to know to:

  • Obey all traffic signs. These include:
    • Stop signs.
    • Traffic lights.
  • Bike in the same direction as the cars. Your child should never bike against traffic.
  • Use hand signals, including signals to:
    • Make a left-hand turn.
    • Make a right-hand turn.
    • Stop.
  • Never listen to headphones while riding a bike.
  • Never text or talk on a cell phone while riding bike.
  • Not stand up while riding his or her bike.
  • Always stop and check for pedestrians, cars, and any other traffic whenever starting a bike ride. He or she should look in both directions.
  • Never have more than one person on a bike.
  • Be careful. Watch for:
    • Cars opening up doors.
    • Cars leaving driveways.
    • Pedestrians.
    • Road hazards, such as potholes or puddles.
  • Ride in single file if riding in a group.
  • Walk his or her bike across busy intersections.
  • Pass on the left side, if he or she is passing a pedestrian or another biker. Your child should call out that he or she is on the left so the pedestrian or biker knows that he or she is there.
  • Never to attach his or her bike to another moving object, vehicle, or pet.
  • Always hold the handlebars with both hands.
  • Always use bike lanes or paths when they are available.

What should my child check before riding his or her bike?

You or your child should always check that:

  • Your child’s helmet fits properly. This is important because straps can loosen over time.
  • The bike’s front and back brakes work.
  • The bike’s tires are inflated properly.
  • The seat is at the correct level.
  • The chain is not loose, rusted, or making cracking or grinding noises when in use.

When should my child avoid riding a bike?

Do not let your child ride a bike:

  • If the weather conditions are unsafe, such as during a thunderstorm or if the roads are icy.
  • If it is dark outside. If your child must ride at night, make sure that he or she wears bright clothing and has reflectors or lights in the front and back of the bike.
  • If your child has been drinking alcohol or using drugs.
  • If your child’s health care provider has advised your child not to ride a bike.
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