Children are more likely to be injured on residential streets close to home. The typical bicycle crashes with a motor vehicle occurs within one mile of the bicyclist's home.
Unfortunately, a child's behavior is often a risk factor. Most childhood bicycle accidents are associated with behaviors such as riding into a street without stopping, turning left or swerving into traffic coming from behind, running a stop sign or riding against the flow of traffic.
Parents, it's so important to teach your kids bike safety as they enjoy their increased independence. Below is significant information to discuss with your children:
Make sure they WEAR A HELMET!
New Jersey's Bicycle Helmet Law has changed! As of March 1, 2006, young people under the age of 17 are now required to wear an approved helmet when cycling, roller skating, in-line skating or skateboarding. Previously, the law only applied to those under the age of 14.
- Ride in single file with traffic, not against it. Bicycling two abreast can be dangerous. Bicyclists should stay as far right on the pavement as possible, watching for opening car doors, sewer gratings, soft shoulders, broken glass and other debris. Remember to keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead.
- Make safe turns and cross intersections with care. Signal turns half a block before the intersection, using the correct hand signals (left arm straight out for left turn; forearm up for right turn). When traffic is heavy and the cyclist has to turn left, it is best to dismount and walk the bicycle across both streets at the crosswalks.
- Never hitch on cars. A sudden stop or turn could send the cyclist flying into the path of another vehicle.
- Before riding into traffic: stop, look left, right, left again, and over your shoulder.
- Make sure the bicycle has the right safety equipment: a red rear reflector; a white front reflector; a red or colorless spoke reflector on the rear wheel; an amber or colorless reflector on the front wheel; pedal reflectors; a horn or bell; and a rear view mirror. A bright headlight is recommended for night riding.
- Always be seen. During the day, cyclists should wear bright clothing. Nighttime cycling is not advised, but if riding at night is necessary, reflective clothing, designed to bounce back motorists' headlight beams, will make cyclists more visible.