By John Hogen, Vice President of the Rob Dollar Foundation
With temperatures cooling down and the fall season in full force, it is a popular time to go on bike riding adventures and explore the outdoor wonders of Arizona.
According to Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, about 100 children are killed and 254,000 are injured as a result of bicycle-related accidents each year.*
With these unfortunate numbers in mind, it is important for you and your children to understand the best ways to be safe on the road, especially with the busy season of ongoing traffic, vehicles, pedestrians and other riders.
Here are some tips from The Rob Dollar Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on spreading the word about the importance of sharing the road, on the best ways to incorporate bike safety practices into your life:
Bicycle Safety Equipment
Helmets can greatly reduce the risk of head injuries, accidents or even death. Head injury is the leading cause of bicycle-related deaths, and using a helmet is the most effective way to reduce these injuries and fatalities. A properly fitted bicycle helmet can reduce the risk of a traumatic brain injury by 88%.**
Additionally, incorporating bright-colored clothing into your wardrobe such as yellow, orange or pink is beneficial as these eye-catching colors allow others to notice you. It is important to avoid neutral colors that may blend into the scenery, as well as dark colors that are difficult to see at night. Neon hues with reflective elements are ideal for both day and night biking.
Be Alert of Your Surroundings
It may be tempting to listen to music while cycling, but it is crucial to ensure you are aware of any passing cars and vehicles. If you do choose to play music, it can be helpful to only keep one earbud in rather than both.
It is also necessary for kids to ensure they are riding with the direction of traffic and approaching every intersection, even in neighborhoods, with extreme caution. It is a helpful tip to be extra attentive when turning right as bicyclists tend to ride to the right of traffic. Keeping an eye and ear out for motorists and other potential hazards is the main responsibility of a bike rider and for others sharing the same road.
Obey Traffic Signs and Signals
Traffic signs are essential to maintain a healthy flow of traffic and promote bike and road safety. Bicyclists are required to follow the same rules as motorists, and each traffic sign and signal has its purpose in ensuring drivers and bicyclists know what to expect ahead. These signs are there to ensure passengers and riders are safe on the roads and to avoid any accidents from occurring, so it is necessary for kids and people of all ages to obey these signs and signals.
Communicate on the Road
Ensure you are signaling your next move to both cyclists and motorists. Communicate where you are going to give drivers an idea of which direction you will be heading in. Looking over your shoulder and checking your sideview mirror are effective methods to help avoid any collisions or fatalities.
Exercise Safety Habits with a Bicycle Safety Course
Participating in a bike safety obstacle course is a fun and interactive way to teach kids the best ways to be safe on the road. The 5th Annual Rob Dollar Ride on Sunday, Oct. 23 at South Mountain Park in Phoenix will include a free kid’s bike safety course from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Kids will get a hands-on learning experience of the best practices for bike safety and how to correctly wear bicycle safety equipment.
The first 75 participants of the Rob Dollar Ride safety course will also receive a helmet and be entered into a raffle drawing where they have the chance to win one of 20+ new bikes donated by Walmart to the Rob Dollar Foundation. The foundation is excited to be sharing the passion for cycling safety with the next generation of cyclists.
Incorporating each of these bike safety habits into your life is both beneficial for you and others on the road. For more information on the Rob Dollar Foundation and how to promote road safety in the Valley, visit www.robdollarfoundation.org.
About The Rob Dollar Foundation
The Rob Dollar Foundation is a Valley-based nonprofit created by family and friends of Rob Dollar who lost his life in October 29, 2017 during a bike ride after being hit by a motorist. The foundation seeks to spread the word of road safety for both cyclists and drivers. Learn more at www.robdollarfoundation.org or visit the Rob Dollar Foundation on Facebook.
John Hogen is the vice president of the Rob Dollar Foundation, a Valley-based nonprofit organization that seeks to spread the word of bike and road safety for both cyclists and drivers in the Valley and throughout the community.