Bicycle Safety (cont.)
Principles of Bicycle Safety
- Bicycling training: The best preparation for safe bicycle riding is proper training.
- Common resources include an experienced rider, parent, or community program.
- Initial training often involves simple instruction from parents on balance and pedaling.
- Proper supervision of younger riders is a prerequisite. It is recommended that younger children ride only in enclosed areas.
- Bicycle safety equipment: Investment in safety equipment such as protective clothing and a helmet can prevent a significant number of injuries.
- Helmets are extremely important. Helmet use has been estimated to reduce head injury risk by 85%, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
- Reflective clothing for nighttime or low-visibility conditions
- Bicycle reflectors on frame and wheels
- Proper bicycle selection
- Bicycle maintenance
- Bicycling safety guidelines: Consideration of these tips can further reduce the risk of a bicycle accident.
- Use a bicycle only in a way that is appropriate for the age of the rider.
- Be aware of the need for experience and skill before bicycling on public roads.
- Less experienced bicyclists should be educated about the rules of the road.
- Be aware of the understanding among bicyclists and motorists about sharing the road.
- Promote and ensure safe motorist and bicyclist practices (proper speed, yielding right-of-way, not driving or riding while under the influence of alcohol or drugs). In some states in the U.S. it is illegal to ride a bicycle under the influence of alcohol and may lead to a BUI (bicycling under the influence).
- Teach increased awareness of surroundings. (Beware of opening car doors, sewer gratings, debris on roads, uneven surfaces, poorly lit areas.)
- Obey traffic rules
- Cyclists must follow the same rules as motorists. Use correct hand signals before turning.
- Because we all share the same road, obeying the rules of the road allow for an enjoyable and safe ride for both bicyclists and motorists.
- Ride in single file with traffic, not against it.
- Avoid major roads and sidewalks.
- Announce your presence ("On your left") on bike and walking trails as you come up behind and pass pedestrians and other riders.
- Enforcement and legislation can increase bicycle safety.
- Mandating use of protective devices (helmets, reflectors): Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have helmet laws requiring young bicyclists to wear helmets.
- Bicycle-friendly community and community planning, for example, establishing bicycle lanes and bike trails or rails-to-trails programs.
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