Spring break is here, and so is your chance to break out your bicycle and hit the paths around town. But, before you do, take the tips we got from the Pelham Bicycle Center into account.
Make sure you have ID on you or your bike and carry a cell phone if possible. Bikers can get stuck, have flat tires, or even get injured, so make sure you can contact help.
One of the most important things you should do is wear a helmet. It is the law that children up to age 14 must wear a helmet approved by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. To find out about specifc types of helmets that meet safety-certification standards, check the Snell Memorial Foundation website
Helmets vary in style and size. Local retailers like Target offer a varied selection, but you have to size them yourself. For toddlers, and kids, Schwinn offers a great helmet that has a size adjustment dial to help get the perfect fit and also grow with your child.
Bikes also come in a variety of styles and sizes, with specific recommendations for adults and for children of varying ages. Having the wrong size bike, especially for children, can lead to a greater incidence of injury. There is a sizing chart for both adults and children, as well as directions on proper bike fitting.
Companies like Schwinn (with over 100 years of making bikes) offer various models and styles, so finding the right bike for anyone in the family is really easy. Their bikes can be found in both mass market stores like Target and through bike dealers. Whether it is a tough & tumble boy, a girly-girl, a high energy grandparent, or an eco-friendly model—Schwinn probably has a bike right for you. In June, Schwinn will launch the Vestige, an eco-friendly bike that's generating a lot of buzz.
It is the responsibility of each bicyclist to know and follow the New York state traffic laws and to use proper hand signals. The NY DOT reports that cycling doubled from 2006 to 2010. So remember it is important to communicate effectively with motorists and other cyclists.
A few tips: Walk your bike across intersections and busy streets. This may seem like an extra step, but the stop/start control you have by walking your bike across an intersection may save you from injury. This is a good safety measure to teach children, and they learn best by example. Also, watch out for opening car doors and for cars pulling into traffic. Don’t trust that motorists will or have seen you and your bike. Pay attention to parked cars, and the possibility that doors may open or they may move.
Click here for a full list of safety measures.
Also remember to stay hydrated and have a bike path map. Visit the Pelham Bicycle Center more tips, a bike forum, and links to other bike sites. Or stop by the store at 106 Wolfs Lane to get a tune-up, buy a new bike or get advice from their knowleged staff.
Editor's note: The story has been updated to include information about safety-certified bike helmets.