Learning to ride a bike means fun, freedom, and above all responsibility. Whether you ride for fun, for exercise, or competitively, being safe on your bicycle is essential. According to a Florida public service announcement, pedestrians are injured each day by motor vehicles. Bikers are also at risk for injury and even death if the rules of the road are not followed. Next time you plan to put the pedal to the metal, follow these safety tips.
Always wear a helmet. All bike riders from small children to adults should wear a properly fitted safety helmet that displays a sticker showing it is approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The strap must be fastened under your chin and the helmet worn level on your forehead, not pushed back. Replace your helmet after any crash as they will not be as protective after a first impact.
Check your equipment. Ensure that all gears, chains, reflectors, pedals, and seat are in proper working order. The seat should be at a comfortable level. Never ride a bike that is not in good condition.
Dress appropriately. Secure pant legs so they do not get caught up in the chain or gears. Wear clothing that will protect you from scratches in the case of a fall. Wear bright or reflective clothing that will alert motorists to your presence on the road.
Be aware of your surroundings. Watch out for wet or slippery areas, including wet leaves or standing water. Be aware of cars driving, doors opening, pedestrians, and other bikers.
Learn the rules of the road. Some of the standard rules include: keep both of your hands on the handlebars, check both ways for traffic, cross only at designated intersections, ride with traffic, use designated bike lanes when possible, obey all traffic laws including stop signs and red lights, ride single file, pass other riders on their left and alert them by saying, “on your left” before you pass them. Use hand signals to indicate turning.
Being safe while riding a bike will ensure you can continue to enjoy this fun pastime for many years to come. Check out this Florida Public Service Announcement to learn more about sharing the road safely with motor vehicles. The Emergency Department at St. Petersburg General Hospital hopes you won’t need to visit us, but in the case of an emergency, we’re here for you. Our Emergency Care team is top-notch and well trained in treating a variety of emergency situations, and you can count on our average ER wait times to beat the national average. We post them on our homepage every day.