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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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