Although only 1 percent of trips in the United States are by bicycle, bicyclists have a higher risk of suffering crash-related injuries or death than those involved in motor vehicle crashes. No matter the season, it is always good to remember safe riding tips. Bicycles are considered vehicles under Pennsylvania law and must obey the same laws as vehicles.
Follow the rules of the road: ride right, pass left.
Properly fitted helmets can reduce the risk of head injuries by at least 45 percent – yet less than half of children ages 14 and under usually wear a bike helmet. Children should start wearing helmets when they are toddlers so they develop the habit of wearing a helmet every time they are on wheeled equipment.
Basic Bike Check (ABC Quick Check)
Air in tires
Brakes are working
Cranks and chain
Quick release levers closed
Check over the entire bike
Wear a Properly Fitted Bicycle Helmet
A helmet is the single most effective way to prevent head injury resulting from a bicycle crash.
- Accurate size
- Buckled straps
- Correctly adjusted
Adjust Your Bicycle to Fit
Stand over your bicycle. There should be 1-2 inches between you and the top tube (bar) if using a road bike and 3 to 4 inches if a mountain bicycle. 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.
See and Be Seen
Whether daytime, dawn, dusk, or at night, you need to be seen by others. Wearing white has not been shown to make you more visible. Rather, always wear neon, fluorescent, or other bright colors when riding day or night. Also wear something that reflects light, such as reflective tape or markings, or flashing lights. Remember, just because you can see a driver doesn’t mean the driver can see you.
Control Your Bicycle. Always ride with at least one hand on the handlebars. Carry books and other items in a bicycle carrier or backpack.
Watch for and Avoid Road Hazards
Be on the lookout for hazards such as potholes, broken glass, gravel, puddles, leaves, and dogs. All these hazards can cause a crash.
Avoid Riding at Night
It is far more dangerous to ride at night than during the day because you are harder for others to see. If you have to ride at night, wear something that makes you more easily seen by others.
When riding you should turn off any electronic devices and avoid using any form of headphones.
More than 80,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms for skateboard-related injuries every year. Skateboarding injuries can range from mild to life-threatening. Skateboarders have been killed by head injuries and collisions with cars.
- Every skater should wear a helmet. Wrist guards, knee pads and elbow pads are a good idea for everyone, but especially for beginners. Mouth guards are good protection against broken teeth.
- Children should ride on smooth, dry surfaces located in a well-lit area away from traffic.
- Teach children to check skates and boards for problems before each use. If there are any cracked, loose or broken parts, the item should not be used until it is repaired.
- Teach children to minimize the impact of a fall by crouching down as they lose balance to reduce the distance to the surface.