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Transcript - Bike Safety

We’ve all heard the saying, “it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.” Regardless of age, riding a bike is fun! It’s an easy way to burn calories, build strength and achieve wellness. According to recent statistics over 500,000, department visits and over 800 cyclists lost their lives from bicycle-related accidents. It’s never been more important to take an active role in bicycle safety. The first thing all cyclists should do is check your bicycle.

According to the League of American Bicyclists, it all starts with a pre-ride ABC quick check. Air. Brakes. And Chain. Let’s start with A for AIR. Before you ride, check your tire pressure and look for any damages to the tire. After you’ve ensured the tires are up to par, look for B, for BRAKES. Make sure the brakes function properly and check the pads for troublesome wear. In addition, if your bike has quick release levers that hold the wheels to the bike. Check to ensure that the wheels are clamped securely to the bike. Once you’re done with A and B, move on to C for CHAIN. Ensure the chain is not too loose, is clean and moving freely. Finally, before setting out on any adventure, take a brief, slow ride to check that the bicycle is working properly.

We spoke to Jeff Steinbeck, a firefighter for the city of Phoenix, who has been teaching bike safety for over 30 years. He suggests using the same routine each time you inspect your bike to ensure you don’t miss anything.

“Well actually when you do your bicycle inspection, typically you would want to start, you know, from the front and go to the back, or the back go to the front, have a pattern that you do each and every time and so starting with the front wheel, uh, basically you can grab the wheel and move it back and forth to make sure it's securely, uh, attached, fastened to the fork of the bicycle, that there isn't any wobble or play, uh in that wheel, that it runs through the breaks properly, that it doesn't hit one side to side. If it's uh, if that's the case the wheel's out of true, could be just a minor adjustment or it can be that some spokes are missing. And if spokes are missing, then the wheel isn't sound and, you know, it's one of those things where you can ride the same route to work or to the gym, you know you've done it month after month and nothing happens but now you hit that pothole, and because you have a broken spoke or two, now the wheel collapses. Now you stop suddenly, now you get thrown off the handlebars.”

Once it’s certain the bicycle is in top shape, strap on a helmet. A helmet is the single most effective safety device available to reduce head injury and death from bicycle crashes. In fact, 91% of all cyclists killed in 2009 in the United States were not wearing a helmet.

“Everyone should wear a helmet. What's really frustrating, uh, for me, uh, is when you see a family riding their bicycles in the neighborhood and all of the children have helmets but mom and dad don't have a helmet. And so you're tempted to, you know, pull over and ask them why they don't have their helmet.”

“And why is it important for parents to wear helmets?”

“Set the example of course. You know that goes without saying. And really anymore there's no excuse for not having a properly fitting helmet. Um they're cool, they're cool in temperature, they're cool to look at, uh, they don't have the pads anymore they have a ratchet system that pretty much one size fits all and they're just awesome there's just no excuse.”

Finally, once out and about, don’t forget to obey the rules of the road and drive defensively. Watch your speed, use appropriate hand signals and make yourself as visible as possible to passing cars to help keep you safe.

After reviewing how to safely ride your bike…Get out there! But first, check your bike using the ABCs, strap on a helmet, and remember to ride defensively and obey the rules of the road. Never get on a bicycle without a helmet. Make sure to follow one simple saying: “Use your head, wear a helmet.” This doesn’t just apply to kids, but parents and adults as well.

I'm Ken Moll for Legal News Network -- your source for safety information.

For free consumer safety information and case updates, visit us at ‪legalnewsnetwork.com.

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