Earlier this week 144 schools throughout Florida celebrated the third annual national ride your bike to the school day. One participating school had a teacher from each neighborhood lead a bike train to school and once they arrived, the students each received a special sticker. Another local school gave each child who rode their bike to school a free pedometer. Ride your bike to school day was created as a national effort to talk to kids about bicycle safety as well incorporating exercise into their daily routine. The following are just a few tips for staying safe while on a bicycle ride.
Before you ride your bike:
- Dress the part: It is always a good idea to wear bright-colored clothing or a reflector vest. This will make it easier for other bike riders or cars to see you. This is especially important early in the morning or late in the evening when there is less sunlight.
- Inspect your bike: Before you head out for a ride it is important to make sure that your bike is ready. Make sure the tires are properly inflated, the spokes unbroken and the handlebars aligned correctly with the front wheel. It is also important to make sure your seat is positioned correctly for your height and that your brakes are working. It is always a good idea to check that any mirrors are aligned and if you have a horn or bell it is working properly.
- Wear the right helmet: It is extremely important to wear a helmet every time you get on a bicycle, but it is just as important to have a helmet that fits correctly. The helmet should fit flat on your head and should not be tilted backward. You also want to make sure the helmet fits your head snugly and does not obstruct your field of vision. Finally, you want to make sure that the chin straps are tightened, and the buckle is secured.
While riding your bike:
- Be aware of traffic: While riding your bicycle it is important to be alert and aware of the traffic around you. Try to always ride on the right side of the road and in the same direction the traffic is moving. It is important to go with the flow of traffic, not against it. When trying to cross a road, make eye contact with the driver before you cross and if you can walk your bike across a busy intersection rather than riding it across.
- Obey all traffic laws: A bicycle is considered a vehicle, and you are a driver. When you ride in the street make sure to follow the rules of the road. Be sure to obey all traffic signs, signals and lane markings.
- Watch out for hazards: Always use your eyes AND ears! Watch out for potholes, puddles, railroad tracks, or anything that could cause you to lose control of your bike. Listen to the traffic around you. It is very important to be able to hear everything that is going on.
After you ride:
- Park and lock your bike: When you have reached your destination or have finished your ride, make sure your bike is parked or stored properly. If you can, always lock your bike when you are not using it. This will make it harder for someone else to steal it.
Next time you take your bike out for a ride you should keep these safety tips in mind. If you are injured while on a bicycle by an automobile don’t hesitate to contact a personal injury attorney who will be able to help you with your claim and get you the compensation you deserve.