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Public Safety & Education

Bicycle helmets have been shown to reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85% and the risk of brain injury by as much as 88%. Bicycle helmets offer substantial protection to the forehead and the mid-face area. Research has been done to prove that an estimated 75% of bicycle-related fatalities among children can be prevented with a bicycle helmet. The universal use of bicycle helmets by children ages 4 to 15 can prevent an estimated 135 deaths and 39,000 to 45,000 head injuries, as well as 18,000 to 55,000 scalp and face injuries annually.

Children are more likely to wear their bicycle helmet if riding with their peers or an adult who is wearing their helmet. Bike related crashes have killed over 900 people annually. Most of the accidents happen from noon to midnight among young liders under the age of 16 years old. About 7 times as many bicycle deaths are males compared with females. The most common deaths and bike injuries for children are from the ages of 13 and 15 years of age. Motor vehicles are involved in 90% to 92% of bicyclist deaths and 12% of injuries. The typical bicycle and motor vehicle crash occurs within one mile from home on minor rural back roads.

The current helmet laws require a person under 18 years of age to wear a helmet. A passenger without a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet that meets the standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the SNELL standards for protective headgear may be given a warning or a monetary citation by a law enforcement agency. If the child is cited, they will require a parent or guardian to attend their court hearing and loose a day of employment. Please, buckle up your safety helmet!

It is a very serious matter for children and adults alike to wear their bike helmets. Bike Helmets have been shown to save lives and prevent some head injuries. For more information you may log on to National Highway Traffic and Safety Association (NHTSA).

For more information on local bike safety and bike rodeo's please contact your local Public Health Department, Kids In Safe Seats (KISS) program at (530) 621-6194, Community Health Library (530) 295-1056, or EDC Public Library (530) 621-5540.

A child is a precious gift, guard and protect them with love and knowledge.

Bicycle Safety Tips for Kids

1. Wear an approved bicycle helmet every time you ride. If you're under 18, it's the law. The helmet should fit snugly, sit low on your forehead, and always be buckled.

2. Know and follow the rules of the road, such as: ride on the right side of the street; do not ride against traffic; obey all traffic signs and signals; and use hand signals. You must obey all traffic laws just like the driver of a car.

3. Ride single-file and never ride double on one bike unless it is a tandem bike.

4. Avoid biking at night. If you must ride during darkness, wear reflective markers on your bike. Be extra careful.

5. Before crossing a street, look left, right, then left again for motor vehicles.

6. Be alert and watch for cars. Drivers may not see you even if it seems like they are looking right at you. Be extra careful. Watch for motor vehicles moving out from a curb, driveway, or alley, and maintain a safe distance from parked vehicles to allow from suddenly opened doors.

7. Make sure your bike is not too big or too little. You should be comfortable with both feet flat on the ground.

8. Keep your bicycle in good condition. Check brakes, tires, and handlebars every time you ride.

9. Watch for and avoid potholes, drain grates and other hazards on the road.

10. Walk your bike when crossing a street in a crosswalk.

Bicycle Safety Tips for Adults

1. Wear an approved* bicycle helmet every time you ride. The helmet should fit snugly, sit low on your forehead, and always be buckled.

2. Know and follow the California Vehicle Code rules of the road. You must obey the same laws as drivers of motor vehicles, as well as local ordinances for bicyclists.

3. Ride with the flow of traffic, never against it, follow lane markings, and use hand signals.

4. Maintain a straight line of travel, keeping a car door's width of distance between you and parked cars.

5. Ride defensively. Don't assume that motorist see you or anticipate your actions. Avoid riding in a motorist's "blind spot."

6. Don't pass cars on the right at intersections. Many crashes occur when cars turn right into the path of a bicyclist.

7. A disproportionate number of auto-bicycle collisions occur at night. If you ride during darkness, wear reflective clothing, use a front light and reflectors on your bike. Be extra careful.

8. Keep your bicycle properly maintained. Check tires, brakes, and handlebars before every ride.

9. Follow the "rules of the road" and common courtesy on bikeways or paths. Yield to pedestrians, and slow down and warn others as you approach to pass.

10. Never ride while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Motorists' Responsibilities

1. Never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

2. Pass bicycles safely by leaving a minimum of 3 feet of space between your car and the bike. Slow down, and use the next lane if necessary.

3. Don't always expect bicyclists to ride on the far right edge of the roadway. They may legally ride anywhere in the other lane to avoid hazards, pass vehicles or other bicycles, or prepare for a left turn. Bicyclists may legally use a left turn lane just like a motor vehicle.

4. Don't honk at bicyclists unless absolutely necessary.

5. Be alert and watchful for bicyclists, especially when you enter or exit a driveway or alley.

6. Don't assume a bicyclist sees you or anticipates your actions.

7. Watch for young children who may be riding bicycles on the sidewalk or in a crosswalk.

8. Before turning right (or left from a one-way street) look over your shoulder and check for bicycle traffic. If a bike lane is present, carefully merge into it to make your turn. Always use your turn signal.

9. Look over your shoulder for bicyclists before you open a car door or pull away from the curb.

10. Consider bicycle commuting yourself. Start by trying just one day a week. Bicyclists cut down on traffic congestion and pollution for all of us.