Bicycle safety is the most important part of owning a bike. Below are some tips to keep both you and your bike safe from harm.
Helmet SafetyReasons to wear a helmet
- 75% of all bicycle-related injuries and deaths are caused by head injuries. Helmets help protect against 80-85% of head injuries.
- Bicyclists hospitalized with head injuries are 20 times more likely to die.
- Visibility -- You’re easier to see, especially if your helmet has reflectors on it.
Picking a good helmet
- Make sure your helmet fits your head. Try it on before you buy it. Make sure it can fit snugly and won’t move around if you push it gently with your hand.
- Wear it low on your forehead just above your eyebrows and always fasten the chin strap firmly.
- Look for D-rings on the chin strap or a top quality buckle that won’t break or bend easily.
- Look for the Snell Foundation certification sticker. The Snell Foundation continuously tests helmets to make sure they’re safe and only puts these stickers on helmets that are good quality.
- Always wear a helmet!
- Obey traffic signs and signals.
- Ride on the right-hand side of the street, with the flow of traffic.
- Use hand signals before you stop or turn to make sure drivers know what you are going to do.
- Stop before entering the street from a driveway or sidewalk.
- Slow down, look and listen when you come to a corner. Walk your bike across busy intersections and streets.
- Give cars and pedestrians the right-of-way.
- Avoid broken pavement, litter, loose gravel, mud or leaves. These can cause you to slip and lose control of your bike.
- Don’t ride alone after dark or if the weather is bad.
Riding Near Train Tracks
Crossing tracks on a bicycle requires caution and extra attention. Operation Lifesaver,a public rail safety education program, provides these tips for safety near train tracks:
- Narrow wheels can get caught between the rails. If possible, walk - don't ride - across. Always cross at a 90-degree angle.
- Use only designated railroad crossings. The only legal and safe place to cross railroad tracks is at a designated public crossing with a crossbuck, flashing red lights or a gate. Crossing at any other location is trespassing and illegal.
- Turn off music and remove earphones at all rail crossings. Music can be a deadly distraction near the tracks, preventing you from hearing an approaching train.
- Wet train tracks can be slippery. Dismount and walk your bike across the tracks. To avoid slipping, step over the tracks not on them.
- Watch out for the second train. Wait after the first train passes until you can see clearly in both directions.
- If you see a train coming, wait! Flashing lights or a lowering gate means a train is approaching. Do not proceed until the gates go completely up and the lights go off. It is illegal to go around lowered gates, whether on a bike, on foot or in a vehicle.
To increase your chances of having your bike returned to you if it is found, please consider registering your bike with the National Bike Registry.They offer 4 types of registration:
- $10 to cover a bike for 10 years.
- $25 to cover a bike for 30 years. When you replace your bike, contact NBR for a new label and certificate.
- $25 Family Registration to cover up to 5 bikes at a single address for 10 years.
- 99-cent stolen bike registry. If your bike is ever stolen, for 99 cents you can register it after it’s been stolen for up to six months.
If you decide not to register your bike with NBR, please take the time to fill out this Bicycle Information Checklistso that if your bike is ever lost or stolen you can give the police a very good description of it.