By Jody Van Cooney
Bicycling is more essential to our lives than ever according to the League of American Bicyclists. Their guiding principle is “when more people ride bicycles, life is better for everyone. This is why they are celebrating May as National Bike Month.
The league’s focus this year is on riding “there” whether “there” is to the grocer for essentials or to the creek and back with the kids. Their approach is to integrate bicycling into as many aspects of our daily lives as possible.
The Injury Prevention Coalition of Lee County, in partnership with other non-profit organizations, promotes safety in all walks of life. This month the members are cooperating with the League of American Bicyclists in helping prevent bicycle accidents.
Bicyclists Must Follow Rules
Bicyclists need to know and follow laws that actually are intended to keep them safe. Some of these laws include:
- Ride only on the right side of the road and bike lanes going the same direction as motor vehicle traffic.
- Stop at all stop signs and red traffic lights.
- Never use earbuds or headphones when riding bicycles.
- Don’t talk on cellphones when riding bicycles.
- Bicyclists must yield to pedestrians when on paths and bicyclists riding side by side must allow room for other bicyclists to pass.
Bicyclists must use a headlight and taillight when riding at night, dusk to dawn, rain or fog.
Bicyclists Must Make Themselves Known
Bicyclists need to ride defensively; they shouldn’t assume that motorists see you and will give you the right of way even when you have it. Bicyclists also need to be respectful of motorists.
Bicyclists should use a bell or horn to alert pedestrians that you will be passing; indicate vocally a comment, such as “passing on your left.” Using a headlight and taillight during the day on flash mode will help motorists know that you are there.
Note: Pedestrians should walk facing motor traffic so that they can tell when a vehicle is approaching.
Brain Injury or Bad Hairdo?
Would you rather have a messed up hairdo or brain damage? Many bicyclists think that just because they’re biking in their own community it’s not necessary to wear a helmet. But accidents happen there just as often as if you were on a long ride. It’s important, not only that you wear a helmet but also that the helmet is fitted properly.
- The All Children’s Hospital, Johns Hopkins, recommends the following five steps in the proper procedure for fitting and wearing a bicycle helmet:
- The helmet should be level on the head.
- You should be able to fit one or two fingers between the bottom of the helmet and above the eyebrow.
- The front and back straps should be equally tight and meet a “V” just below the ears.
- You should be able to fit one or two fingers between the chin and the chin strap.
- A proper-fitting helmet will not move on your head.
The Lee County Injury Prevention Coalition serves as a collaborative effort or partnership whose function is to facilitate partners’ work and act as a catalyst for injury prevention initiatives. Its mission is to prevent injury, disability, and death through advocacy, education, legislation, and partnerships.
Additional information about the Injury Prevention Coalition or the grant application may contact Brian Raimondo at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-330-2240.