Bikes are great for the environment, exercise, and fun this summer, but for children and those living near busy roadways or in hilly cul-de-sacs, bike rides can take a turn for the worst. Biking accidents account for thousands of injuries each year according to the NHTSA and injuries can be catastrophic.
Continue reading for tips on bike safety and how you and your family can stay safe this summer.
Warnings for Motorists
Bicycles are a popular form of transportation for many people of all ages. As children return to school in September, young cyclists are a primary concern for the Connecticut Department of Transportation. Little cyclists are often invisible to motorists and the risks increase exponentially during busy times like the morning commute and afternoon rush.
The Department of Transportation warns motorists to:
- Slow down and observe the speed limit in school zones
- Be careful when driving in neighborhoods
- Always expect the unexpected
- Stay alert for children riding and walking in front of driveways or garages
- Watch for children on bikes at intersections
- Avoid speeding and distractions like texting, talking on cell phones, changing the music, or eating
- Stop the car when lights are flashing in a school zone or school bus
- Be aware that children may run across the road suddenly
Motorists should always be prepared to stop and give bicyclists the right of way. Children, adolescents, and adults riding bicycles have the right of way and its crucial that motorists respect the rules.
Safety Tips for Cyclists from the CDT
The Department of Transportation also has tips for cyclists to avoid hazards and injuries. These tips include:
- Wearing a helmet
- Including reflectors on pedals, wheels, and the bike frame
- Wearing bright colors
- Securing flashing lights to the rear of the bicycle
- Avoiding texting or calling while biking
- Abiding by the rules of the road
The Connecticut Department of Transportation offers these warnings to help protect young cyclists from danger this summer.
The Department of Transportation emphasizes the importance of wearing a helmet, but there are many kinds of helmets promising different levels of protection. So, how do you know which helmet is right for you and your children?
Bike helmets reduce head injuries by 50% and Consumer Reports says, “When it’s [a helmet] on your head correctly, it could save your life.”
However, not all helmets are created equal. When looking for a helmet, it’s important to adhere to four key factors:
- Comfort and fit
- Wear and tear
A bike helmet should have a snug fit but should also be adjustable. Safety experts recommend that bikers fully expand the helmet’s adjuster when taking it off and retighten it when putting it back on. Many cyclists leave their helmet straps undone when riding to avoid having to tighten it on every wear, but this can neutralize the protection helmets provide if the cyclist were to get into a crash. Ventilation and weight are also key to comfort.
Appearance, especially for children is an important factor. Children are more likely to wear a helmet they like rather than one with a generic design. It’s also important to note that aesthetics also include safety benefits. For example, brighter colors are more visible to motorists and those with reflectors or lights improve visibility at night.
Protection is the point, but some helmets are more protective than others. Not all bike helmets have been vetted by the CPSC or include rotational mitigation technology which prevents concussions. This technology not only protects the head, but also prevents concussions and other traumas that may be the result of a bike accident.
Wear and tear play a significant role in helmet safety. With each impact, a helmet loses efficacy. In other words, helmets take wear and tear and should be replaced after each crash. Even if a helmet is property vetted and has crucial safety technology, it may not be as safe after an accident.
Compassionate Guidance After a Biking Accident
Unfortunately, despite many cyclists and motorists’ best efforts to share the road, accidents happen. Cyclists have less protection and often sustain more damage than motorists which means that biking accidents could be deadly. If you or a loved one has been in an accident, our Middletown accidents lawyers can help.
Contact Carlson & Dumeer, LLC today for more information.