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by NYMetroParents Staff

Related: bike, child, teen, safety, national bike safety month, bicycle, crash, fall, injury, parent, advice, tips,

WASHINGTON - (BUSINESS WIRE) - May is National Bike Safety Month and as summer approaches, millions of Americans will climb onto their bikes to enjoy one of the ultimate warm-weather experiences. To help curb bike injuries and fatalities, AAA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have partnered to remind parents to set positive examples that encourage children and teens to ride safely.

“Helmets, when worn properly, are up to 85 percent effective in protecting the head and brain in the event of a crash. With only 20-25 percent of bicyclists wearing helmets, there is a vast opportunity to reduce injuries and fatalities with this simple step,” said AAA’s Traffic Safety Specialist Rhonda Markos. “Children look to parents for guidance. When children see someone they rely on wearing a helmet, they are likely to follow their lead and do the same,” Markos said.

Parents and caregivers must also remember that bicycle safety extends beyond early childhood. “Even the most experienced riders can crash or fall when riding a bike,” stressed Markos. According to NHTSA, among children, 10-to-14-year-old males have the highest rate of injuries and fatalities.

“When it comes to bicycling, safety is always the top priority. Because parents and caregivers are role models for children, it is especially critical they teach by example. That means wearing proper helmets and observing all the rules of the road,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

AAA and NHTSA recommend these easy steps to help keep bicyclists of all ages safe:

  • Wear a Properly-Fitted Bicycle Helmet. 
    • Wear your helmet properly, level on your head and low on your forehead, no more than two finger widths above your eyebrow.
    • Develop a family rule for helmet use and enforce it for every ride.
    • It’s never too late to start wearing a helmet.

  • Always Follow the Rules of the Road. 
    • Bicycles are considered vehicles and must abide by the same traffic laws as motorists.
    • Obey all traffic signs and signal your intentions when turning or passing.
    • Always ride in the same direction as traffic, keeping to the right.
  • Make Yourself Visible. 
    • Wear bright colors during daylight hours.
    • Wear reflective materials on clothing and/or equipment in low-light conditions.
    • Use white front lights, red rear reflectors and reflective material on clothing and/or equipment when riding at night.

  • Drive Respectfully and Share the Road 
    • Focus exclusively on the road while driving. Distracted drivers can be deadly for bicyclists.
    • Be patient and pass bicyclists only when safe to do so, leaving a 3 to 5 foot clearance between your vehicle and the bicyclist.

For information on bicycle safety, visit SharetheRoad.AAA.com.

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