Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Keeping Children Safe While Biking

Summer is here, in full swelter. And your kids are outside biking. But do they know how to keep themselves safe?

Here's bike safety information to share with your children:

The eight best ways to keep yourself safe from cars while biking

1. Ride in the bike lane, not the sidewalk. Drivers don't look down the sidewalk for bikes, and they pull right into it when coming out of driveways.

2. When cars are parked on the right side of the street, watch out for opening doors.  Ride three feet away from the cars: just imagine that all the cars' doors were all the way open, and ride so you won't hit them--that way they can't hit you!

3. When you are riding on a street with no bike lane, ride to the side but leave at least a couple feet of room between you and the curb.  If the lane isn't wide enough for a car to pass you, ride right in the middle of the lane.  Oregon law lets bikers use one whole lane when they need to.  On Main St. in Ashland, for example, to stay away from the parked cars' opening doors, you have to ride in the middle of the lane.  If you don't feel safe on a street like that, just walk your bike down the sidewalk to a better street.

4. Where cars are crossing your path at intersections or driveways, yield the right of way to them. Before you cross any place where a car can drive, slow down and get ready to stop if you have to, and look all ways: not just right and left, but in front and behind for cars turning into the crossing.

5. When you're in a bike lane, never pass a car on the right side of it: drivers don't look for you before they turn right, and may cut you off or turn right into you. When stopped at a light or stop sign, and there is a car on your left, don't start out into the intersection before you know if the car is turning right. 

6. Make eye contact!  When a driver is waiting to turn in front of you, look at their face and see if they are looking at you.  If they are only looking the other way, don't cross in front of them.

7. Use lights on your bike whenever you are not in bright sunlight. Reflectors are not enough, though you should wear them and reflective clothing too. The more lights the better!

8. Drivers make mistakes, and they sometimes don't see bicyclists. Sometimes when you are riding, a driver will actually make a mistake and not do what you expect. It is not an if, it's a when, so you need to expect it.  Always ride so that when a driver makes a mistake or doesn't see you, they can't hit you.

1. Use the bike lane.
2. Steer clear of opening doors.
3. Ride 2 or 3 feet from the curb in a car lane; or in narrow lanes ride in the middle.
4. Wherever cars can cross your path, get ready to yield and look all ways.
5. Never pass cars on the right, not even at a stop.
6. Make eye contact.
7. Use lights.
8. Expect the worst from drivers, and ride so they can't hit you.