Bicycle Safety Tips
Make sure your bike is safe
Wear a Helmet
- The pedals, seat and handlebars let you control your bike. Make sure they are firmly attached.
- Make sure the tires are in good condition and are properly inflated.
- Inspect the braking system to ensure that it will function adequately when needed.
The majority of bicycle vs. motor-vehicle collision deaths are caused by head injuries. Helmets can help reduce the frequency and severity of head injuries, but are only effective if properly fitted and adjusted. Always wear the helmet level on your head. The side buckles should be adjusted to fit snugly when the chin buckle is closed. Bicycle helmets are designed to withstand one crash only. Structural damage is not always visible, so never use a crashed or secondhand helmet.
Obey Traffic Laws
Traffic law violations cause the majority of bicycle/motor vehicle collisions. By following traffic laws, cyclists are predictable to other drivers.
- Ride in the direction of traffic, on the road and not on the sidewalks - sidewalks are for pedestrians.
- Obey traffic signs and signals.
- Yield when entering a roadway.
- Signal before turning or changing lanes.
- Pass on the left.
- Use proper lighting at night.
- Continually scan for hazards that could cause you to lose control.
- Remember that having the right-of-way is less important than keeping yourself from a collision.
- In wet conditions, give yourself extra room to stop.
- Rainy conditions are usually low light conditions, too, so take steps to make yourself more visible.
- When crossing slippery surfaces (pavement markings, utility covers, etc..) avoid braking or turning.
- Cross train tracks at a right angle and stand up to absorb shock from uneven surfaces.
- There are 85 million bicycle riders in the US.
- 773 bicyclists died on US roads in 2006, down just 11 from the year before. 92% of them died in crashes with motor vehicles (720).
- About 540,000 bicyclists visit emergency rooms with injuries every year. Of those, about 67,000 have head injuries, and 27,000 have injuries serious enough to be hospitalized.
- Bicycle crashes and injuries are under-reported, since the majority are not serious enough for emergency room visits. 44,000 cyclists were reported injured in traffic crashes in 2006.
- 1 in 8 of the cyclists with reported injuries has a brain injury.
- Two-thirds of the deaths are from traumatic brain injury.
- A very high percentage of cyclists' brain injuries can be prevented by a helmet, estimated at anywhere from 45 to 88 percent.
- About half of the deaths are children under 15 years old.
- Direct costs of cyclists' injuries due to not using helmets are estimated at $81 million each year.
- Indirect costs of cyclists' injuries due to not using helmets are estimated at $2.3 billion each year.
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