Now that we are in the warmer weather, you have probably already seen people riding their bikes, especially the kids! In this time of social distancing, it is also an excellent way to get some exercise with your friends or family while still staying a safe distance apart. Bicycle riding is fun and healthy but remember a bicycle is a vehicle and not a toy! Many traffic rules are the same for bicyclists. Here are some important safety tips and rules when you ride.
1. Before using your bicycle, make sure it is in good working order. Check that all parts are secure and working properly. Also check to make sure that it is adjusted to the proper fit for your size. Inflate bicycle tires and check the brakes.
2. Wear a properly fitting bicycle helmet. “Protect your brain, save your life”. It is just common sense to wear a helmet to protect your head should you have a fall or an accident on your bike!
3. See and Be Seen. Always wear neon, fluorescent, or other bright colors when riding day or night so that pedestrians as well as drivers can see you. Also have reflective tape, markings, or flashing lights on your bicycle. Remember, just because you can see them, doesn’t mean they can see you.
4. Watch for and avoid road hazards. Look out for potholes, broken glass, puddles, or animals. These are all things that can cause a crash. Alert other riders if you are riding in a group.
5. Avoid riding at night. It is far more dangerous to ride at night. If you must, make sure to have your helmet on and use the reflective materials on your bicycle as well l as your clothing so that others can see you.
6. Don’t get distracted. Don’t listen to music or talk on the phone while riding – you may not hear approaching traffic behind you or notice traffic signs.
7. For Bicycle Laws specific to Iowa, visit this link: https://www.iowadot.gov/maps/msp/pdf/bikelaws.pdf
As with all changes in activities, ease into your bicycling. Start with a short distance and work up to a longer ride to help your body and muscles adjust to the “new” activity. Bicycling is excellent exercise and a wonderful family activity – so get those bikes out and make family bike rides a regular summer event at your house!