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Bike Safety's Top 7 Rules

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As biking becomes more and more popular, it more important than ever to follow some common sense and possibly life saving guidelines.

  1. Wear a Helmet - Never ride a bike without a helmet. Every year 67,000 bicyclists sustain head injuries, 27,000 serious enough to require hospitalization. 91% of bicyclists killed in 2008 were reported not be wearing helmets. Select an approved safety helmet that fits properly. Parents need to set a good example by wearing a helmet when riding with their children.
    Wearing a helmet could reduce the risk of head injury by a much as 85% and the risk of brain injuries by to 88%. 
  2. Learn the "Illinois Bicycle Rules of the Road" - Read the Illinois Bicycle Rules of the Road. Bicyclists must obey the same rules as motorists. Never wear headphones while riding as they may impair your ability to hear traffic. Use proper hand signals to announce your intensions to turn or stop.
    When riding on the sidewalk observe all pedestrian signs and signals. Bicyclists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. When approaching a pedestrian from behind slow down and give an audible signal to alert them that you are passing.
  3. Avoid Biking at Night - Avoid biking at night if possible. Did you know that bicycle fatalities in urban areas occurred more often during summer months between the hours of 5 PM and 9 PM? Yet less than 8% of all bicycles in involved with injuries at night had lights. Other research shows that only 22% of children had lights on their bikes, while over 51% reported riding their bikes at night on occasion.
    If you do need to bike at night remember, Illinois State Law requires that bicyclists riding at night have a front light (LED is the best) visible from a distance of at least 500 feet and a red rear reflector that can be seen for up to 600 feet on their bikes. Better yet purchase a red blinking LED rear light (or two) that can be easier seen by motorists.
    When riding at night (and in daylight as well) it is recommended that bicyclists always wear white or reflective clothing. Never wear dark or black clothing. Ride in areas that are brightly lit.
  4. Be Alert for Hazards - Watch for road hazards such as railroad tracks, potholes, wet leaves, drainage grates or other hazards which can cause you to fall. Be especially careful in wet weather. Look ahead and plan your move. Always allow extra stopping distance in wet weather.
  5. Ride in the Same Direction as Other Traffic - Always ride with traffic, not against it. Riding against traffic is dangerous and against the law in Illinois. Motorists are required by law to allow at least three (3) feet of space between their car and a bicyclist when passing. Remember to “Follow the Rules of the Road”. 
  6. Be Aware of Traffic Around You - 76% of bicycle fatalities involved collisions with motor vehicles. 70% of car-bicycle collisions occurred at intersections or driveways. Always check for traffic when entering any street or intersection. Look both ways and use proper hand signals when turning or stopping.
  7. Inspect Your Bike - Make sure you and your bike are a proper fit. Make sure all parts of the bike (handlebars, seat, wheels, tires, etc.) are in good working order. Ensure your brakes work and are properly adjusted. Quick release wheel locks must be firmly closed.