Bike Safety Month
Can you picture those hot summer days when you were 10 years old and lived next door to your best friend? You knocked on your best friend’s door and asked them to come to the park with you. Racing there on your bicycles, imagine the wind on your face, your lungs filling with air as you pedal faster and faster, beating your best friend to the park by a hair.
At age 70, you may or may not be in racing form any longer, but riding your bike can still be an enjoyable leisure, exercise, or transportation option. Whether you’re an avid cyclist or a casual rider, keep safety top of mind when you are out and about this season. After all, May is National Bike Safety Month.
Remember to wear a helmet and protect that head. Helmet sizes may vary by manufacturer, but helmets reduce the risk of severe injuries and fatalities. Helmets reduce head injury by 48% and serious head injury by 60%.2 Helmets need to be fitted properly to work correctly. Use this video created by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to learn how a helmet should be fitted.
Use safety features on a bicycle, such as a side mirror or a bell or horn. The mirror should be adjusted similarly to a car, so you can see behind you while you ride. A bell or horn can be used to alert pedestrians and other cyclists of your presence. Verbally alert pedestrians and other cyclists to your presence. Always wear bright-colored clothing when biking and double-check that any shoes with laces are tied properly before you begin.
Follow the rules of the road when on a bike. Drive in the same direction as traffic, obey all street signs and signals, and do not take your eyes off the road. When on a bicycle, drive defensively by staying focused and alert.
Improve your community’s bikeability. Do you know how bikeable your community is? NHTSA, PedBikeInfo, and the U.S. Department of Transportation created a bikeability checklist. After you rate your neighborhood’s bikeability, you’ll be given personalized suggestions on how to improve your community score. These suggestions include an immediate suggestion and how you can improve your community’s bike safety over time.
76% of Americans use cars in their daily commute to and from work.1 This is not only harmful to the environment, but it robs Americans of the opportunity to get exercise during their commute. Americans age 75 and older in the labor force are expected to grow 96.5% by 2030.3 If personal and community safety is prioritized, biking to work can be used as an exercise, especially for older adults. Physical fitness may help prolong fitness to drive. Biking can also be used to get to other places in the community where an older driver may typically take a car, such as a grocery store or a friend’s house.
While you may no longer be a 10-year-old racing your best friend, bike rides are fun activities for any age. With summer around the corner and May signaling nicer weather for many, bike riding is an excellent way to get out and enjoy sunnier days in your community or on vacation. You can also use this time to connect with children or grandchildren. You may even let them win a race to the park, just this once.