Bicycle Safety Month Aims to Prevent Accidents

May 2013

According to the Detroit Free Press, West Virginia ranks 45th out of 50 states when it comes to being bike friendly. Obviously, with these statistics, the state has a long way to go in improving conditions for bicycle riders. This includes not just adding more bike paths and more bike friendly areas, but also making sure that drivers are educated about how to keep bike riders safe on the roads.

While bike safety should always be a priority, the month of May is dedicated to helping to make bike riders safer. Our West Virginia accident attorneys know that the number of bicycle accidents increases in the summer months as the weather gets warmer and as kids are out of school and doing outdoor activities. As the warm weather starts to arrive, Bicycle Safety Month comes at a perfect time to remind you to make safe biking decisions and to keep your kids safe while riding.

Bicycle Safety Month Tips

While everyone is at risk from a bicycle accident, kids are especially likely to be involved in a crash over the summer months. Kids offers a number of different tips for helping to ensure that the risk of injury is minimized for kids riding bikes. Some of the tips include:

  • Ensuring kids have a helmet on. Since 1996, West Virginia state law has required children younger than 15 years old to wear helmets while bicycling on public roads, public bicycle pathways or other public rights-of-way. Helmet use is important as a study of bike accidents from 2008 to 2010 revealed that 91.6 percent of kids in a bicycle crash had no helmet on at the time. Those without helmets had twice the risk of concussion and were more likely to be admitted to an emergency room. Further, all bike accident deaths that occurred over this time involved kids without helmets.
  • Restricting where kids can ride. A child should only bicycle on sidewalks and paths until the age of 10 and should not be allowed to cycle with traffic until he is a competent cyclist and has good traffic skills and judgment.
  • Using caution for night riding. If cycling after dark or low visibility conditions, the bike should have reflectors and a light and the cyclist’s clothes should have reflective materials.
  • Properly maintaining the bicycle. Bikes should be checked at least once a year to ensure they are in good working order. The tires should be checked before each ride. The bike should also be appropriately sized, with one inch of clearance between the rider and top bar while the rider is standing flat-footed over the bicycle.
  • Using traffic hand signals. When making a left turn, the left arm should be extended straight out to the side.  When making a right turn, the left arm should be bent in an upward motion. The left arm should be extended downward to stop.

By following these tips, hopefully kids and adults can both be safer when it comes to biking this summer season. Bike Safety Month focuses on education and awareness and everyone in West Virginia should pay attention to safety tips as part of efforts to help improve West Virginia’s rating as a bike friendly state.

If you or a family member has been injured in a bicycle accident in Ohio, Pennsylvania or West Virginia, contact the personal injury attorneys at Recht Law Office. Call us today at 1-800-HURTLINE.

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