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May is National Bike Month. It was established by the League of American Bicyclists in 1956, and is celebrated in communities all across the country.

One of the most important messages during this celebration is to always put your safety and the safety of those around you first, whenever you go for a ride. Biking has become one of the most popular forms of exercise for adults and kids, as well as an environmentally friendly mode of transportation in many major cities. Bikes and cars must share the road, and cyclists and drivers must always be mindful of each other in order to avoid accidents.

Here are some important safety tips everyone should follow when going for a bike ride:

Always Keep Your Bike In Good Condition

Before hitting the road, check to make sure your bike is road-worthy. Tires should be sufficiently inflated, and brakes and gears should all be operating correctly. Check to ensure your seat is securely in place, and your derailleurs are in good shape. Have regular maintenance at a reputable bike shop to prevent flats or any other malfunctions.

Know the Law

Cyclists have the same rights as drivers. It is important to be familiar with and obey traffic laws while traveling on busy streets.

Not Sure Of Yourself? Take a Class

State departments of motor vehicles and local organizations offer biking safety classes for anyone not sure of themselves when riding in traffic. A class is a great way to increase your knowledge and learn all there is to know about keeping yourself and others safe when biking.

Always Wear a Helmet

Many states and municipalities have bicycle helmet laws in place for both adults and children. Work with a local sporting goods store or bicycle shop to find a helmet that fits properly, and meets or exceeds safety standards.

Wear Appropriate Clothing

You don’t have to wear specific bike gear every time you go for a ride. Make sure, however, that your clothing is comfortable and does not interfere with your bike’s performance. When biking at night, wear a reflective vest or something brightly colored to alert drivers to your presence.

Thinking About Buying a New Bike? Get One That is Right For You

Bicycles come in many different models and sizes. You should choose one that is right for your size, weight and purpose. A local bike shop is your best resource for finding the right bicycle that will suit your needs. If you plan on mountain biking, biking to work, or just going for the occasional weekend ride, a professional can help you find a model you will be happy with.

Share the Importance of Bike Safety With Kids

Adults are not the only ones who love to cycle. We all remember the day the training wheels came off our first bicycle, and were giddy with excitement when we realized we were cycling on our own.

The old saying is true: you never forget how to ride a bike. It’s important that kids get off to a good start by being taught the importance of safe cycling.

  • All rules that apply to adults are for kids, too: Kids need to abide by the same rules that are in place to protect everyone. They must wear helmets and proper clothing, and their bikes must be checked regularly to ensure they are operating properly.
  • Sidewalk or street? In general kids under 10 should ride on the sidewalk with parental supervision. When they are older, they should ride in the street as long as they understand and obey all traffic laws.
  • Be mindful of obstacles: When kids are old enough to ride in the street, make sure they are mindful of storm grates, puddles, wet leaves, and variations in road conditions. Knowing what to expect and what to avoid will help them ride safely.
  • Never take your hands off the handlebars: Kids tend to want to impress their friends by showing off on their bikes. Taking your hands off the handlebars can lead to an accident, and possibly a serious injury.
  • No talking or texting: Talking or texting on a phone while riding a bicycle is a recipe for disaster. Distraction can lead to a serious accident, as can not being in full control of your bike. Talking or texting while biking is as big a no-no as doing it while driving. That is something both kids and adults should avoid doing.

Wilshire Law Firm takes bicycle safety very seriously. If you or a member of your family is ever involved in an accident while riding your bicycle, you have legal rights.

Find out what you can do to obtain financial compensation for injuries or damage by calling (800) 522-7274, toll-free for a complimentary consultation. You may also visit this bicycle accidents page.