Bike Safety

Rules of the Road

• Always ride with your hands on the handlebars

• Always stop and check for traffic in both directions when leaving your driveway, an alley, or a curb

• Cross at intersections. When you pull out between parked cars, drivers can’t see you coming

• Walk your bike across busy intersections using the crosswalk and following traffic signals

• Ride on the right-hand side of the street, so you can travel in the same direction as cars do. Never ride against traffic.

• Use bike lanes or designated bike routes wherever you can.

• Don’t ride too close to parked cars. Doors can open suddenly.

• Ride single file on the street with friends.

• When passing other bikers or people on the street, always pass to their left side, and call out “On your left!” so they know you are coming.

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Safety rules exist to make sure riding remains the fun and enjoyable exercise it should be.

Safe cycling starts with always wearing a helmet. Some states’ laws requires everyone ages 18 and younger to wear a helmet when riding a bike on public roads or bike paths. Safety experts go even further. They recommend everybody wear a helmet, regardless of age. That’s even true for world-class cyclists like the ones in the Tour de France or Downtown Walterboro Criterium. Get in the habit of always buckling your chinstrap before you step on a bike pedal. That applies to teachers, parents and students alike!

Every year, more than 700 people are killed in bicycle accidents. Most of these deaths are caused by head injuries. Wearing a helmet is required for your own protection.

Choosing a helmet

Look for the seal of approval. You should only wear a certified bicycle helmet. Look for the initials CPSC for Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Wearing a helmet

Step 1: Size. Measure your head for approximate size. Try the helmet on to ensure it fits snuggly. While it is sitting flat on top of your head, make sure the helmet doesn’t rock side to side. Sizing pads come with new helmets; use the pads to securely fit to your head. Mix or match the sizing pads for the greatest comfort. In your child’s helmet, remove the padding when your child’s head grows. If the helmet has a universal fit ring instead of sizing pads, adjust the ring size to fit the head.

Step 2: Position. The helmet should sit level on your head and low on your forehead – one or two finger-widths above your eyebrow.

Step 3: Buckles. Center the left buckle under the chin. On most helmets, the straps can be pulled from the back of the helmet to lengthen or shorten the chin straps. This task is easier if you take the helmet off to make these adjustments.

Step 4: Side Straps. Adjust the slider on both straps to form a “V” shape under, and slightly in front of, the ears. Lock the slider if possible.

Step 5: Chin Strap. Buckle your chin strap. Tighten the strap until it is snug, so that no more than one or two fingers fit under the strap.

Step 6: Final Fitting.

• Does your helmet fit right? Open your mouth wide … big yawn! The helmet should pull down on the head. If not, refer back to step 5 and tighten the chin strap.

• Does your helmet rock back more than two fingers above eyebrows? If so, unbuckle, shorten the front strap by moving the slider forward. Buckle, retighten the chin strap and test again.

• Does your helmet rock forward into your eyes? If so, unbuckle, tighten the back strap by moving the slider back toward the ear. Buckle, retighten the chin strap and test again.

• Roll the rubber band down to the buckle. All four straps must go through the rubber band and be close to the buckle to prevent the buckle from slipping.

SOURCES: Amgen Tour of California, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. For more information, go to