Although bike riding is a great summer activity, it can also result in injuries ranging from minor scrapes and bruises to more serious broken bones or head injuries.
So, before you set off on your first bike voyage of the year, review these safety tips and check your family’s bikes to make sure everything fits properly and is in working order this summer so you can have an injury-free summer.
The first step in riding safe is making sure your bike is safe. Here are the things to look for:
• Ride a bike that is the right size for you. There should be 1 to 3 inches between you and the top bar of your bicycle when you stand straddling it with both feet flat on the ground.
• Check your brakes and chain and oil the chain.
• Check your handlebars, seat, and wheels to make sure they’re all tight.
• Use a backpack or a bag strapped to the back of the bike to prevent losing balance, control, or interfering with the wheels.
• Check your tire pressure. Not only is proper tire pressure safer, it also makes the bike much easier to ride.
Now that you’ve checked the bikes and fixed anything that may have needed a tune up, it’s important to refresh your memory on how to safely ride around town.
• Keep both hands on the handlebars.
• Only allow one rider per seat.
• Don’t use your phone while riding and avoid wearing headphones. It can prevent you from hearing important sounds such as oncoming traffic or a car blowing their horn.
• Always stop and check for traffic, follow traffic signals, and cross at intersections. Even if you check as you approach the intersection, a car might not see you and turn suddenly. Pay close attention to driveways as well as cars backing out may not think to check the sidewalks.
• If you’re riding in the street, ride with the flow of traffic not against it.
• Don’t ride too close to parked cars as the doors can open suddenly.
• If you’re riding with a group of people, ride single-file.
• Use your left arm for all signals. For a left turn, hold your arm straight out. To stop, point your arm down so it makes an upside down “L.” And for a right turn, point your arm up so it makes an “L.”
Wearing the right gear is important for the whole family.
Remember, when the adults wear the proper gear, the kids are more inclined to do the same.
• Wear proper shoes. Tennis shoes are the best choice, just make sure the laces are tied.
• Make sure pant legs aren’t too baggy or roll them so they are out of the way of the chain.
• Bright clothes make it easier for drivers to see you especially at night and dawn/dusk. Add reflectors on your bike or jacket so they will reflect street lights and headlights.
• Wear a properly fitted bike helmet every time your ride and always be fasten the straps.
Since 1995, the Fisher-Titus Helmets for Kids program has provided and fitted helmets for children 18 years and younger. This year, MetroHealth—our Trauma Program partner—has partnered with us to distribute helmets at events throughout Huron County.
Helmets for Kids will be at the Milan Library Touch-a-Truck event this Saturday, June 22, 2019 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. We’ll be there along with “trucks” from North Central EMS and MetroHealth. Children age 18 and younger should be present to be properly fitted. We look forward to seeing you there and at other community events throughout the summer!
Dr. Wendy Millis is a pediatrician with New Beginnings Pediatrics. Helmets for Kids will be at various community events throughout the summer. For more information, visit www.fishertitus.org/upcoming-events or www.facebook.com/fishertitushealth.