Riding your bicycle can be great fun. But do you know how to "drive" your bike?
Riding your bike is just like driving a car - there are rules for bike driving.
Here are a few tips from the
Bicycle Coalition of Maine
Wear Your Helmet the Right Way
It's the Law in Maine to wear a helmet correctly if you are under 16. Do the "Eyes, Ears, Mouth Test"
. First put on your helmet so it is level and snug - if is slides around, you need to insert thicker pads
. EYES - you should see the very edge of your helmet when you look up past your eyebrows
. EARS - the straps should meet right under your ear lobes to form a Y
. MOUTH - the strap should be loose enough so you can breathe and insert a finger between the buckle and your skin, but tight enough that if you drop your jaw you can feel the helmet pull down on the top of your head
(If you need help, go to a bike shop. Never throw your helmet or leave it in a hot place because it will get damaged (even though you cannot tell). Replace your helmet if it is damaged, no longer fits, or if it is over 5 years old)
Dress Bright for Safety
Wear light or bright-colored clothing so you can be seen
Tuck away shoelaces or other strings or cords so they don't dangle -- they may get caught in the moving parts of your bike
Loose or baggy clothing can also be dangerous - so make sure you wear snug clothes
Check Your Bike for Safety
Have your bike checked at least once a year at a bike shop. Check it yourself before biking with the ABC Quick Check:
Air - pinch the tires, they should be hard
Brakes - make sure they work and aren't rubbing the tire
Crank/Chain - if there are problems with your gears or if the chain is loose, take your bike to a bike shop
Quick - check "quick release levers" and other bolts to make sure they are tight
Obey the Rules of the Road
Ride on the right
Ride single file
Obey traffic signs, signals, and laws
Ride straight - no surprises!
Look back and signal before turning
Yield to people walking
Use lights if riding at night (remember to ask your parents for permission)
Always stop at the end of your driveway -- look left, right, then left again before entering the road
When we all drive safely and follow the rules of the road, it is easy to be safe and have fun!
RULES OF THE TRAIL
Why wear a helmet? While bicycling is a lot of fun, you never know when you might be in a bike crash. A properly fitted bicycle helmet can help prevent most serious injuries and deaths experienced by bicyclists of all ages. A crash at any speed can result in damage to the brain, caused by the impact of the brain against the skull. The thick poly-styrene part of the helmet crushes on impact and is designed to absorb the shock of the crash in order to reduce the likelihood of a brain injury.
Are all helmets the same? Look for a CPSC (Consumer Products Safety Committee) sticker inside your helmet, or ANSI/ASTM or SNELL stickers. The cost of helmets varies widely, but all helmets that carry the CPSC sticker meet specific safety standards for bicycling. A more expensive helmet may have more air vents, a better retention system, and have a more comfortable fit, but the less expensive model will protect your head to the same standards. Helmets that are designed for skating or skateboarding are engineered for greater protection to the back of the head. Check the inside of the helmet to be sure that it is also approved for bicycling.
Will an old helmet work? Helmets should be replaced at least every 5 years. The polystyrene foam in an older helmet bill become brittle and may have hidden cracks, making it less able to absorb the impact of a crash. Be sure to thoroughly inspect older helmets for cracks and damage. All straps and pads should be intact and working. A helmet that has been in a crash and/or has obvious cracks in the polystyrene should be replaced immediately.
Making your helmet fit. Start the fitting process by making sure that your helmet fits snuggly on your head when it is unbuckled. Newer helmets feature a "sizing band" that circles your head (like a hard hat) and is adjusted in the back. Open the band up far enough so that the helmet slips easily onto your head. Make sure the helmet is level on your head (the "Eyes Test"), then adjust the sizing band until the helmet is comfortably snug. Some helmets use pads of different thickness to allow for a snug fit, and extra pads are often available at your local bike shop. After you have a comfortable fit, use the "Ears and Mouth Test" to adjust the straps; be sure that the tension between the two side straps is equal and that the strap under the chin isn't too loose. Proper adjustment of these straps, along with a snug helmet, will prevent your helmet from sliding around on (or off) your head.
Parents: helpful information on getting your child to wear a helmet.
- Be a good role model - The best way to encourage your child to wear a helmet is to model correct behavior; wear your helmet every time you ride.
- Start the helmet habit early - Require that a helmet be worn every time your child is on a bike, even just in the yard.
- Make sure the helmet fits comfortably - Bicyclists are more likely to wear a helmet that is comfortable. A new, properly fitting helmet may feel different at first, but should not be uncomfortable.
- Let it be their helmet - Let your child pick out a helmet color and style, and/or let them decorate their helmet with stickers so that they take more ownership or pride in the helmet.
- Be consistent - Don't waiver on the helmet rule, and don't let your children ride their bikes unless they wear a helmet. Encourage your child's friends to follow the helmet rule at your house, even if they don't normally wear a helmet.
Be Safe and Have Fun!
A message to kids about firearms responsibility
Not long ago, in another town, some kids found a firearm. Maybe they were looking for it because of something they saw on television. Maybe one of them dared the other to find it. Maybe they just found a firearm that was left out by mistake. It doesn't matter why they found it. What matters is the firearm was loaded, and they played with it. Now they are very sorry they did. Don't let this happen to you. Always follow these safety rules:
1. Don't go looking for firearms, in your house or a friend's house. Don't let other kids look for firearms in your house.
2. If you find a firearm in your house - or anywhere else - leave it alone. Don't touch it! Don't let anyone else touch it! Tell an adult.
3. Even if a firearm looks like a toy - don't touch it! Some real firearms look like toys. Don't take a chance. Tell an adult.
Remember... if you find a firearm, don't pick it up. Just leave it alone. And tell an adult right away.
For more information about firearms ownership, storage & safety visit: www.projecthomesafe.org