RIDING SAFELY

It is not always easy to convince people about the importance of bicycle safety, but it is vital for everyone in your family to understand basic safety rules and to wear protective equipment before setting forth on any family bike ride. The concept of safe biking is overlooked or dismissed because of the simple nature of riding a bike. For the safety of everyone in your family, it is of utmost importance that safety is understood, and that a commitment to wearing a helmet is absolute.

As fun as family bike rides can be, never neglect the importance of safety. Never assume that your ride will be free of hazards, or become so comfortable on a bike that you fail to pay adequate attention to where you are going and what is around you. Complacency and inattentiveness can easily lead to accidents.

The following are a few safety tips that should be considered for your family bike rides:
  • Always wear a helmet and be certain that it fits properly. Parents are no exception.
  • Always follow the rules of the road. Bicycle riders must follow same laws that apply to cars and other vehicles on the road. As parents you should familiarize yourself with all traffic laws and teach them to your children.
  • Never ride in the opposite direction of traffic.
  • When riding at night be certain that all reflectors are intact (one on each tire and one in the front and back of the bike), and use an electric headlight and tail-light. Also wear reflective clothing or bright colored clothes so traffic can easily see you from a distance.
  • When riding alongside parked cars, beware of drivers and passengers who may open doors in your path.
  • Beware of road hazards, potholes, wet roads, oil, gravel, or any other condition that may cause you to lose control of the bicycle.

This should not be considered a complete list. Other hazards and safety concerns may also exist that have not been mentioned here. It is advisable to refer to additional sources to assure that you are following the best safety precautions for bicycle riding.

Before riding your bikes, it is a good idea to look them over for signs of any problems that may impair their function. Check the air in the tires, be certain that all reflectors are in place, make certain the brakes work, and look for any loose parts. A quick check can help prevent problems that may occur down the road.

Also, if you have any known medical conditions or are aged above 40, do consult your doctor before taking up cycling as a sport or as an exercise program. He or she can tell you whether this exercise is suitable for you based on your specific condition and medical history.

When you cycle, make sure the height of your seat is comfortable, to be at a level that won’t make you fully extend your leg while pedaling. Fully extending or overextending your leg causes your joints to be overworked, which leads to pain and swelling. Set the pedal so your leg is just slightly bent (not totally straight) when your foot reaches the bottom of the pedal-stroke.

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