As the weather improves and becomes warmer, many people take their bicycles out of storage after a long winter. Bicycling in the springtime is a wonderful way to get exercise and some fresh air, but it does pose some dangers. Bicycling accidents are more common in the springtime as more people head outside on their bicycles. Many drivers are not used to sharing the road with bicycles in the winter and may not be prepared to yield. You can help prevent bicycle accidents and personal injuries with a few tips:
1) Tune up your bicycles. After a long winter, your bicycle tires, brakes, and wheels may be affected. Now is the time to make sure that your bicycle is working safely and well. Check the chains, wheels, tires, and brakes to make sure that they are working well or take your bicycle to a bicycle shop for a tune-up. Make sure that all your bicycles are ready to go for the warm weather. Be especially vigilant about children’s bicycles. Bicycle accidents are a leading cause of injuries to children and minors.
2) Review bicycle safety. If you have children, now is a great time to contact their school about having a bicycle safety demonstration or presentation in school. Many local police authorities offer such services for free. All your school has to do is phone and request the service. You can also review bicycle safety with your children by yourself. Even adults who have not been bicycling for a while should consider reviewing bicycle safety and hands signaling rules to ensure that they are ready for bicycling. You can forget a lot about bicycling in a few winter months.
3) Take it slow. Don not head out on the highways or freeways on your first spring ride with your bicycle. Stick to bicycle trails until you get used to your bicycle again. While it is true that you never fully forget how to ride a bicycle after you have learned it once, it is also true that your bicycle skills may be a little rusty after winter. Your legs may also get more tired more quickly if it has been a while since you have peddled. Take it easy at first and build up your strength and confidence before heading out on more challenging routes.
4) Check helmets. Before taking out your bicycle for the first time this spring, make sure that you check your helmet for fit and safety. If your helmet has any dents, scratches, or any visible damage, consider getting a new helmet. Make sure that your helmet still fits securely and properly. If it does not, have it refitted or purchase a new helmet at a bicycle store. Helmets can help prevent a majority of brain injuries caused by bicycle accidents, so this is the piece of safety equipment you never want to be without.
5) Invest in some fun safety gear. A great way to promote bicycle safety is to buy yourself some safety gear that you really love. This is especially effective with children, who may enjoy wearing safety gear more when it is new, trendy, and fun. Look for knee and elbow pads in bright colors, for example. Consider also purchasing bright reflective clothing that will help make you visible at all times. Sunglasses keep the winds and sun out of your eyes and a good helmet is also vital.