Bike Safety 101
Following these tips and modeling good bicycle behavior can help ensure that the entire family stays safe while bicycling.
Riding bikes is a fun, healthy activity for the whole family. However, it is not without risk. By following these tips and modeling good bicycle behavior, you can help ensure that the entire family stays safe while bicycling.
Before you Hit the Road
1. Check all your tires for air. If you have younger riders with you, show them how to check their own tires.
2. Bring extra safety equipment if you’re going riding out on a trail, including a first aid kit and extra tires.
3. If you have a child riding with you, make sure the child can comfortably reach the ground from his or her bike.
4. Make sure the wheels, seat and handlebars are tight. Also, doublecheck that the brakes work.
5. Ensure you have reflectors and lights. In some states, these are mandatory.
6. Check and oil your chain. If you have a child, show him or her how to re-hook the chain if it comes off.
7. Check the fit of your bike. If it is too big or too small for you, it will be harder to manage.
On the Road
1. Avoid riding bicycles at night.
2. Use lots of lights! The more lumens, the safer you are. At a minimum, have a red light for the back and a bright white light for the front. If they flash, even better!
3. Consider a smart helmet that has blinkers and brake lights.
4. Avoid the danger zone of riding next to parked cars with passengers who may suddenly open a door into your path and send you flying.
5. Watch out for potholes, cracks and speed bumps. Railroad tracks also can be dangerous.
6. Do not wear headphones while you are riding because you won’t be able to hear traffic or emergency sirens.
7. Know your hand signals for turning right, turning left and stopping.
8. Secure loose shoelaces and pant legs because they could get stuck in your chain.
9. Always ride in the same direction as traffic.
10. Be predictable for the bikers and drivers around you. Don’t take sudden turns, and remember to signal and stop as if you were driving a car.
11. Don’t bike distracted or under the influence. BUIs are real and expensive, but most of all, they’re dangerous.
12. Watch out for cars backing out of driveways and parking spaces.
13. Bike on the safest surface possible, including dedicated bike lanes and paths. Plan your ride to avoid dangerous intersections and high-speed roads if possible.
General Bike Rules
1. Helmets are an essential part of riding bicycles safely. Learn more about fitting helmets here.
2. Stay in control of your speed, and model good behavior for younger riders.
3. Pass on your left! Don’t scare or sneak up on pedestrians or other bikers.
4. If you need to stop, pull over and get out of the way of oncoming traffic.
5. Always walk your bike when crossing the road. Use clearly marked crosswalks so that drivers are expecting you.
6. You must obey all traffic laws. Do not creep up beside stopped cars to skip traffic and get to the front of the line.
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 740 inpatients, nearly 280 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year in more than 46,000 visits.