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Fitness Articles  ›  Focused Fitness

Bicycle Safety Tips

Over 45 Tips to Keep You Safe on the Road

-- By Leanne Beattie, Health & Fitness Writer
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While these tips will help keep you safe, nothing protects you like a helmet. Studies have shown that wearing a bicycle helmet can reduce head injuries by up to 85%. Even if you just ride on bike paths or for a short distance, be sure to put on your helmet before you go—you don't have to be going fast or far to risk serious head injuries.

Buy a helmet that bears a label saying it meets the Canadian Standards Association standard CAN/CSA D113.2 M89; or the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard Z90.40 1984; the Snell Memorial Foundation standard B 90,B 90S, N 94, or B 95; the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard F 1447 93 or F 1447 94. A clerk at your local bike store can help you find a proper helmet that fits.

In order for a helmet to work properly, it must fit properly:
  • A helmet should fit snugly on the top of the head and should not obstruct your field of vision. Most helmets come with adjustable padding to achieve the best fit. The front of the helmet should be about two finger widths above the eyebrows.
  • The "V" part of the chin straps should fit snugly with the "V" coming together right below the earlobe.
  • You should be able to fit one finger between the chin strap and under the chin. Always wear the helmet with the strap firmly buckled—make sure the chin strap fits securely and that the buckle stays fastened to provide impact protection.
  • If you’re buying a helmet for a child, don’t get one for the child to grow into— it must fit properly every time he or she uses it.
  • The best way to test your helmet is to shake your head back and forth—the helmet should stay in place. Try another helmet size or design if the helmet shifts significantly on your head.
Never use a helmet after it has been involved in an accident. Although the damage to the helmet may not be visible, even very small cracks in the helmet may greatly reduce its effectiveness in preventing injury. Either get a new one or have the old one inspected by the manufacturer, who will tell you if the helmet needs to be replaced.
 
Biking is a simple pleasure that allows you to enjoy the great outdoors, increase your fitness level, and get around at the same time. Put safety first and you’ll be able to enjoy biking (and feel more comfortable doing so) for years to come! For additional safety tips, check out the video below, courtesy of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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About The Author

Leanne Beattie Leanne Beattie
A freelance writer, marketing consultant and life coach, Leanne often writes about health and nutrition. See all of Leanne's articles.

Member Comments

  • SHKHILL
    Did the article mention that bikes, like all vehicles, must stop for stop signs and red lights? Absolutely essential. And it's a really bad idea to have in ear buds while pedalling, or texting. - 10/30/2013 11:50:38 AM
  • My husband wants to ride in our neighborhood but I am leery about doing so. For one thing, there is no shoulder, it's curvy and hilly, and people drive like maniacs. And secondly, he flat out refuses to wear a helmet. Scares me too much. - 5/28/2013 9:30:02 AM
  • great tips! Everyone ride safe!!! - 5/6/2013 6:50:35 PM
  • THEGORGESBLONDE's tips are very important. As someone who drove more than 40 hours a week for 25 years, let me add that movement is what catches a driver's eye. Reflectors on the tire spokes that are in different position so they don't move in tandem are very good; so is something that can be seen from the back and moves, such as reflective tape on your calves and heels. Reflective tape is much better than reflectors, and flashing rear lights are better than steady. Dusk and dawn are the hardest times for drivers to see, so be sure to use lights. Always wear dayglo colors, even in daytime; pink has been tested as the most visible. And if you think helmets are a pain, search for a video of a motorcycle hitting some cyclists. SP won't let me paste the link. - 5/6/2013 12:41:54 PM
  • JOJOWOODY- try Ikea. We have bright yellow vests for the whole family courtesy of Ikea. - 5/6/2013 12:28:07 PM
  • The article is right on time. Just brought my bike home yesterday. - 6/6/2012 3:19:55 PM
  • SERENAJL
    CPSC is actually another one of the safety certifications that supersedes ANSI. Good article. - 6/5/2012 10:07:41 AM
  • MICHELLEMAE1970
    :-) - 5/19/2012 10:00:08 AM
  • I have just started riding a bike again and I found this article very helpful. Thanks - 5/6/2011 5:31:46 PM
  • ROSAMIRIAM
    thatiswonderful - 12/13/2009 10:20:39 AM
  • THEGORGESBLONDE
    I rarely ride a bike on surface streets, since it's very dangerous, and I know too many people who have been seriously hurt. As a driver, please let me add that riding in the fog is particularly dangerous, since visibility becomes so restricted and there may not be time to react. Additionally, when cresting a hill, please be sure to get to the right as soon as possible -- the car coming up the hill directly behind you will not see you. - 10/26/2009 4:51:11 PM
  • My daughter fell on her face and her cheek was terribly scratched. I had just adjusted her helmet minutes before to prevent a serious injury. She was headed downhill! - 4/23/2009 12:12:07 PM
  • When I shared news with 'my team' about getting a bicycle, one of team members stressed about getting the helmet for my safety. Which I finally did and I'm glad.
    Drivers on the road aren't that courteous as it is and I'm constantly watching as I pedal along.
    I hope I never have to test the helmet. :o) - 2/15/2009 6:31:19 AM
  • my son and i enjoy riding in evenings and on weekends when he doesn't have homework. we enjoy it a lot.
    found myself a vest to fit in the hunters section but cannot find one tyo fit an 8 year old. any ideas?
    - 11/28/2008 7:34:59 PM
  • my son and i enjoy riding in evenings and on weekends when he doesn't have homework. we enjoy it a lot.
    found myself a vest to fit in the hunters section but cannot find one tyo fit an 8 year old. any ideas?
    - 11/28/2008 7:34:47 PM
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