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Bicycle Safety Tips for Summer

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Bicycle Safety Tips for Summer

Bicycling is a fun way to exercise and experience the great outdoors. It’s a convenient mode of transportation as well as a wonderful family activity.

May is Bicycle Safety Month and with summer just around the corner, it’s a great time to review some basic safety rules for riding a bicycle.

The latest figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that more than 50,000 bicyclists were injured in 2009 — and 630 died in accidents involving vehicles. The NHTSA offers these safety tips for riding your bike.

About Your Bicycle

Before you head out on a ride, check your bike and

  • always use a helmet, no matter how old you are
  • use a bicycle that is the right size for you so you can control it properly
  • make sure your tires have the right amount of air and the brakes work
  • wear bright colors so motorists can see you
  • get bright rear and front lights

Rules for Riding Your Bicycle on the Street

Bicyclists must follow the same traffic rules as car drivers. When bicycling on the street, you should

  • obey all traffic laws, including stoplights, signs, signals and lane markings
  • yield to pedestrians
  • signal when turning

Also, be alert when passing parked cars as someone might open the door.

Rules for Riding Your Bicycle on the Sidewalk

It is best to ride on the street, especially if there are bike lanes. The sidewalk is fine for children who are not old enough to ride in the street without adult supervision, although some local laws do not allow this. If your child rides on the sidewalk, make sure they

  • are alert for cars entering and exiting driveways
  • stop at all intersections before crossing the street
  • alert pedestrians when coming up behind them, telling them they’re about to pass on their left or right, or using a horn

Next: 10 Bike-Related Recalls to Check Out Before You Hit the Road

Photo: Creatas/Jupiterimages/Thinkstock

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Ann Pietrangelo

Ann Pietrangelo is the author of No More Secs! Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Multiple Sclerosis and Catch That Look: Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. She is a freelance writer and member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Follow on Twitter @AnnPietrangelo

31 comments

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7:09PM PDT on Jul 14, 2012

Stopping mandatory helmet laws makes them the concern of all taxplayers. To be blunt, you should have to sign a legal paper saying you will never use disability or whatevet, for an accident due to not wearing one. Will a helmet save your life? Not neccessarily. But it can definitely save you from permanent brain and/or spinal damage--bike or motorcycle.
And kids? Oh, yes. Bikes are faster these days, roads are faster and smoother and cars are faster, people more oblivious. I think I might not even want them on a bike.

5:58PM PDT on Jul 14, 2012

noted.

5:55PM PDT on Jul 14, 2012

I actually like the photo used. People wearing casual clothing and no helmets while riding sit-up bicycles that travel at lower speeds. A far better image to promote cycling then seeing a group of Lance wannabes.

You don't need bright or reflective clothing -- just get a good light (front & back).

I won't tell people not to wear a helmet, but I will equally not tell them to wear one. Helmet laws are being debated in parts of Canada -- and I am dead against mandating them. If YOU want to wear one, be my guest.
I never wear one and I've been commuting for the past 8 years (year round) without any major issues. Other then the occasional fall when I started out cycling (riding like a moron), the only issues I've had have been in the past month.
A medium size watering truck passed within inches -- while today an 18-wheeler passed less then a metre...Should I believe a helmet would have helped if I was hit by either?

12:12PM PDT on May 27, 2012

The first thing I noticed is that the people in the photo aren't wearing helmets and the first thing the article talks about is one should always wear a helmet. Not well done.

9:08AM PDT on May 24, 2012

thanks

6:24AM PDT on May 24, 2012

Thanks. Good tips.

11:39PM PDT on May 23, 2012

Thank you! I should buy bicycle sometime...

9:34AM PDT on May 23, 2012

Thanks for the information about the bicycle recalls. Good to know.

2:17AM PDT on May 23, 2012

I am appalled at thes bicycle failures I would advise people to only buy well made & tyested bikes not cheap Chinese & other imports I have only had UK made bikes which are OK & never had a failure.

12:31AM PDT on May 23, 2012

Visibility is very important. A lot of of lads zoom out of side streets, onto main roads, in dark clothes and with out lights. It's amazing that more aren't killed or injured.Reflective gear is easy to find and makes the rider more obvious.

I hate it when cyclists quietly race past me on the footpath, just missing my elbow.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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