Every year in the United States, bicycle-related deaths number about 900 and emergency rooms treat almost 500,000 people for bicycle-related injuries, most to the head. Bike mishaps in the U.S. send more children to the ER than any other sport. Proper use of a bike helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 88%. In Florida, children under the age of 16 riding a bike or as a passenger on a bike are required by law to wear a helmet. Officer Caitlyn Anglin with the Lynn Haven Police Department told WJHG- Channel 7 that most of their accidents with children on bikes – the child is wearing their helmet which saved their live in certain cases. “It’s illegal to have anyone on the bicycle anywhere but the seat,” Anglin said. “If it’s riding either in front of them of behind their head you can actually get a fine as the parent and the child for riding unsafely,” she said. Riders need reflectors and lights in the front and back of their bikes that extend for at least 600 feet. Anglin said riders also need to be aware of the road rules. She said bikers need to ride with the flow of traffic. Riders must obey all traffic signs and lights. They can ride on the sidewalk so long as they are able to give audible warnings to other bikers and pedestrians. “They need to be following the flow of traffic and ride as far to the right hand side as they can,” she said.
Regardless of your age, it’s wise to follow these bicycle safety tips:
• Always wear a helmet that meets one or more of the voluntary bicycle helmet standards like ASTM, Snell, or ANSI.
• Make sure your helmet fits properly and is level on the head. It should not be tilted back on the crown or pulled low over the forehead. It may take time to ensure that a helmet fits properly, but it is worth the effort.
• Before taking your bike out for a ride, make sure it is in good working order and properly adjusted.
• Wear the proper clothing to help make sure that motorists and pedestrians can see you easily. Reflectors on you and your bike can help make you more visible.
• Ride on marked paths and safe areas whenever possible.
• When riding your bike on the street, always go in the same direction as car traffic.
• Stay alert for vehicles, pedestrians, and potential dangers like potholes or debris.
• Never ride with another person on the handlebars.
• Keep at least one hand on the bike’s handlebars at all times.
• Know and use the proper hand signals for bike riding.
Have you been injured while riding a bicycle? If so, you can get experienced help at Brannon & Brannon. Contact us for a free consultation at (850)659-2252 or through our website at brannoncanhelp.com.