May is the perfect month to get back into cycling, or the perfect month to learn! Building a lifetime of healthy habits starts one step at a time, and biking is a great activity to do with the whole family. It is always a good time to get out and start leading a healthy lifestyle and stay safe while doing so. Let’s take a look at bike safety.
First, let’s talk about helmets. All bike riders – especially children – should have a helmet. Helmets should be well-fitted, which means it sits low on the forehead with only one or two finger-widths above your eyebrow. The left and right side straps should form a “Y” under the ear, and meet right below the ear. Helmets should be snug on your head, protecting you from a traumatic injury should you crash. And remember, helmets are required in the state of North Carolina for all bike riders under the age of 16, and all cyclists are encouraged to wear one.
Visibility is also a very important safety consideration when riding around town. You should be sure to wear bright colored clothing, or clothing with reflective enhancements so that other drivers can see you in less-than-ideal conditions. If cycling as a family, keep in mind that as children are smaller, they are less visible to passing motorists. Reflectors or blinking lights on the front of bikes is a great way to increase visibility. Being seen helps keep you and your family safe on the roads.
Of course, smart cycling includes things that you can do to keep yourself and your family safe, like wearing helmets and reflective clothing, and also includes laws that you and motorists have to follow. One of those laws is that bikes are treated on roadways just like cars. You should be riding your bike on the right side of the road and in the same direction as traffic. Additionally, motorists have responsibilities to keep bicycle riders safe. Cars are required to give four feet of clearance when passing a cyclist. This means that the body of the car must be four feet away from the cyclist. This law was passed in 2017 to help keep everyone safe on the roads.
As spring turns into summer, let’s all work together to stay safe. I look forward to seeing you and your family out on the road!