Bike Safety Tips
Riding a bicycle is ultimately the most fun way to enjoy the outdoors... everybody does it! But don't think for a second that biking is all fun and games. Bike accidents are no picnic and they are way too common. Even if you're an all-star athlete, you should never get too cocky on a bike and you should always consider bike safety. Here are some great bike safety tips:
#1 - Riding Buddy
It's a no brainer that riding with your BFF is the most fun thing to do in the world, and it also makes biking about 10,000 times safer. Four eyes are better than two, so communicate when cars are coming and warn each other when a puppy is crossing the road!
#2 - Wear a Helmet
Even if you just got a fancy new haircut, don't let your ego put you in the hospital with a concussion. Biking helmets are cool because you're saying, "Hey, I love my life, why risk turning into an eggplant if I fall off my bike?" If you're worried about they way they look, maybe take a look here for some more stylish ones: http://www.yakkay.com/Webshop/
#3 - Bike Size Fits
The number one reason why people fall off their bikes is because their bike size is too big or too small. Here's a quick checklist to make sure your bike is the right size for you:
- Stand over your bicycle. There should be 1 to 2 inches between you and the top bar if using a road bike and 3 to 4 inches if a mountain bicycle
- The seat should be level front to back
- The seat height should be adjusted to allow a slight bend at the knee when the leg is fully extended
- The handlebar height should be at the same level with the seat.
#4 - Inspect your bike
So you left your bike outside all winter? You probably want to get your bike checked out at the shop. However, if you're handy, you can do a quick inspection yourself. Here's another checklist:
- Make sure the tires are inflated to the proper PSI with your parents' tire gauge. Tires are the first things to wear down on a bike, but you can prevent this and a possible accident if they pop while you're riding full speed down a hill.
- Lift one end of the bike up, spin the tire and check the brakes.
- Check the chain by flipping the bike upside down, balancing the bike on the handle bars and seat. Now pedal the bike with your hand and change the gears to make sure everything is clean and changing smoothly.
- Clean and lubricate the gears. One of the most common problems with bikes is when your chain falls off the gears.
#5 - Bright Colors or Reflective Stickers
Cars are the biggest danger to bike riders, so help them out by wearing something that they can see you easier. Reflective gear is the best because when car lights or the sun shine on you, they will reflect a bright light back to the driver so they can take caution. A bright blinking bike light at night is a great solution!
#6 - Sidewalk or Street
Riding on the sidewalk isn't easy. You have to remember that all other people are pedestrians and they have the right of way. So you have to be slow and cautious on the sidewalk because if there's ever an accident, it's always the biker's fault.
If you think you're old enough to ride on the street, you have to learn the rules. Just because you're on a bicycle doesn't mean you don't have to know what all the street signs mean and how to yield to traffic. Here's a great site to check out how to learn the rules of the road: http://www.bikesense.bc.ca/ch4.htm
#7 - Use your ears
The most dangerous thing to do while riding your bike is listening to music with headphones. You need your ears to hear things coming from behind you. Your ears are the eyes in the back of your head!
Have your say...
Do you ride a bike? How is it going? Let us know in the comments below?