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Biking...Don't Forget the Helmet and Other Saftey Tips

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Biking...don't forget the helmet and other safety tips

Bicycling is a great family activity especially, with all of the trails in the West Michigan area (http://www.wmtrails.org/Trail-Maps). There are different types of bikes for every level of riding ability including bike trailers for the infants and toddlers, bikes without pedals for the wee ones, recumbent and comfort bikes for those with back issues, as well as hand bikes for those who can't use their legs.

However, as healthy and fun as cycling can be, there are a few important safety tips to keep in mind when riding with the family.

"More children ages 5 to 14 are seen in emergency rooms for injuries related to biking than any other sport. Helmets can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by 88 percent – yet only 45 percent of children 14 and under usually wear a bike helmet." (www.safekids.org/bike)

The most important safety feature for cycling is a PROPERLY fitted helmet. If the helmet is not securely on your head it will not provide any protection for your head and will essentially useless.

Properly fitting a helmet is actually quite simple. Just follow these guidelines:

  • The helmet should sit on the top of your head, and there should only be 2 finger widths between the brim of your helmet and your eyebrows;
  • The straps under your ears should form a flat "V" with the buckle just under your ear;
  • The chin strap should be tightened enough that you can get no more than 2 finger between the strap and your chin;
  • Finally, shake your head. If it moves in the helmet, tighten things up a bit more.


Helmets should be worn not just by kids but also by adults. Just remember that your kids will do what they see you doing and not think anything of it.

On the road

  1. BE DEFENSIVE—Bicycles are considered vehicles and need to follow the same rules as a car, but remember that not all drivers know that rule;
  2. BE BRIGHT—Wear colors that can be seen from a distance. Avoid black and white instead wear neon and fluorescent colors
  3. BE ALERT—Don't wear headphones and always be looking and listening, especially as you come up to intersections and in traffic.

On the Trial

  1. BE LOUD—Pass only on the left, and ring a bell, blow a horn or yell "Passing on your left"
  2. BE STRAIGHT—Control your bike and keep swerving to a minimum;
  3. BE AWARE—Slow down at driveways and stop at cross streets;

Sources used www.safekids.org/bike, www.miamivalleytrails.org/safety-trail-etiquette, www.nhtsa.dot.gov.


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