Why Bicycle Safety?
- More than one-third of all bicyclist deaths occur among school age youth ages 5 to 20
- Most bicycle crashes involving motor vehicles are due to behavioral errors on the part of the bicyclist and motorist
- Head injuries are the most serious type of injury and the most common cause of death for bicyclists
- Studies have proven that bicycle helmets work to reduce head injury
- Approximately 800 bicyclists are killed, and 60,000 are injured in motor vehicle-related crashes each year
- Hospital emergency rooms treat 500,000 bicycle-related injuries each year
- Bicycle helmets are the best protection against mishaps that cause death or injury
How to help prevent bicycle injuries and fatalities:
- Insist that your child wear a helmet every time he/she rides a bicycle.
- Instruct your child on the correct way to wear a helmet.
- Set a good example and wear a helmet yourself.
- Check your child’s bicycle for correct fit, properly working parts, and reflectors.
- Avoid allowing your child to ride at night, as drivers often miss seeing cyclists.
- Stress the need to ride defensively since many drivers do not see bicyclists.
- Enroll your child in a bicycle safety education class in your area (in the Norman area we have “safety-town” every June).
- Make sure your child knows to ride with traffic on the far right side of the roadway and to obey all traffic laws.
- Make sure your child knows what all traffic signs mean and to look left right and left again before crossing a road.
- Lastly, be predictable, don’t swerve into traffic suddenly, make sure drivers know what you are about to do.
Bicycle Helmet Fit
- Only purchase a bicycle helmet that is ANSI, ASTM, or Snell approved; look for these labels inside the helmet or on packaging materials.
- A bicycle helmet should be tried on and adjusted before use; helmets come in a variety of sizes.
- A bicycle helmet should come with adjustable straps to position the helmet and keep it securely on the head.
- Always fasten the adjustable strap under the chin.
- A bicycle helmet should come with a package of Velcro foam pads; these pads can be inserted or removed to make the helmet fit better. (Keep your extra helmet pads where you can find them later.)
- Remember to adjust the straps and Velcro pads in the bicycle helmet as the child grows.
- A good-fitting bicycle helmet should sit on top of the head in a level position; feel comfortable, but not be too tight or too loose; and should not rock from side-to-side or back and forth. (see diagram below)
- Be sure to replace a bicycle helmet that has been in a crash or has been damaged. Never wear a damaged bicycle helmet.
Approximately a half a million bicycles are stolen in the United States each year. That figures to around 1370 stolen each day, at an average value of $252 each. Most of the bicycles that are stolen each year are stolen from the home (yard, garage, porch, etc.). While approximately 66% of stolen autos are recovered, less than 20% of stolen bicycles are returned to their owners.
Reasons Bicycles Are Stolen:
- For the thief’s personal use
- As a temporary means of transportation
- For the financial gain of the thief
- For a personal reason just to deny the owner of its use
Basic Bicycle Theft Prevention
- Keep the bicycle secured inside a building if possible
- When unattended the bicycle should always be locked up
- When locking you bike try to lock it to an immovable object that is in a conspicuous, open, and well-lighted area
- Record the make, model, color, description, special identifying marks and serial number of the bike and keep it in an available location in case the bike is stolen, this will increase the chances of the bike being returned to you
- Register the bicycle with your city’s local registration program. In Norman, the University of Oklahoma Police Department does the registration of bicycles.