The Ultimate Bike Safety Guide
Enthusiasm for bicycling is on the upswing. More and more people are enjoying the many benefits of regular bike riding. Cities across the globe have begun to implement ordinances and design plans to make their streets more safe and welcoming to cyclists. Riding a bike is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, get a workout, and lessen your impact on the environment. Read on for the best safety and awareness resources including lesson plans for kids, area-specific ratings for bike-friendliness, biking advocacy groups, and much more.
Bicycle Safety Resources and Educational Tools
If you want to effectively teach others about bicycle safety – whether it’s a grade school class, a group of seniors, or anyone else – look no further for all kinds of educational resources. The following sites feature all kinds of ideas, guides, and tips for effectively conveying the most current and important information about bike safety to kids and adults of all ages.
Bicycle Safety Resource Database – Try searching this database, put together by Bicycling.org, for articles and lesson plans to help you teach bike safety to anyone from young children to seniors.
Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety – The Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Safety has put together this fantastic resource page filled with the latest in bicycle safety information and educational tools. There are links to pages and documents with everything from regional crash data to tip sheets for staying safe in your community.
Safe Routes to School – The National Center for Safe Routes to School works with communities, government, and law enforcement to encourage kids to walk and bike to school no matter where they live by creating designated “safe routes” and educating parents about the benefits of biking or walking to school.
Bike Safety 101 – This no-cost online course was created with the cooperation of the city of Houston, Texas and The League of American Bicyclists. You’ll just have to register with the site (it’s free) and you can get started right away. Topics covered include safety, courtesy and etiquette, basic maintenance, smart riding techniques and tips, and lots more.
Bicycling and The Law
It’s important, both as a motorist and as a bicyclist, that you know the laws of the roads in your area. Being familiar with local ordinances and laws in regard to pedestrians and cyclists helps keep everyone safer. It’s also a good idea to know who you should contact if you feel like the bicycle laws in your city could use some improvement. Things like bike laws often don’t change until individuals speak up and raise their concerns with the proper officials.
NHTSA Safety Resource Guide – From the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration comes this guide discussing various relevant laws and how they affect bicyclists and pedestrians, either positively or negatively. This is a great place to start if you are examining the effectiveness of laws in your own community.
State Bike Laws – This page comes from The League of American Bicyclists, a nonprofit organization that has worked to make bicycling safer and more enjoyable for everyone since 1880. You’ll find bike laws by state, as well as state-by-state rankings for bicycle friendliness.
State Bicycle Statutes, Laws, and Codes – The International Bicycle Fund was established to provide a worldwide hub where a vast store of resources for cyclists can be accessed for free. The links on this page will take you to information about biking safety laws for each U.S. state. There are also links to help you find international directories.
FHA Bicyclist and Pedestrian Information Page – The United States Department of Transportation hosts this page and if you’re an avid bicyclist, you may want to bookmark it. You’ll find contact information for officials in your locality along with useful data like how much your state spends on bicycle safety measures.
Bike Safety For Kids
Learning to ride a bike is one of those important milestones in a child’s life. When parents foster a fun and safe experience for their children, a lifelong love of cycling may be born. By brushing up on the latest guidelines and learning to ride safely as a family, you can greatly reduce the risk of a bicycle related injury or fatality.
Bike Safety Activity Kit – The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers this page free to the public. It is filled with activities and lesson plans for teaching bike safety to kids. Grouped by age, you’ll find a wealth of information to help you teach children safe riding techniques.
Traffic Safety Toolkit for Parents – Also from the NHTSA, this page is all about kids biking safely. There’s a fun video featuring characters from popular kids’ show “Chuggington” and a downloadable activity book. Kids can also take the pledge to be an exemplary rider, showing others how to ride safely and courteously.
Bike Safety from KidsHealth.org – This article, written for kids, has a read-aloud option for pre-readers. Little ones can follow along while they learn about bicycle safety and why it’s so important. Within the article, there are links to enhance kids’ learning experience. For instance, when the article talks about the risk of brain injury, kids can click over to a related article about the brain and how it works.
Safe Kids Worldwide Bike Safety Tips – This page is a comprehensive guide to biking safety for kids. Subdivided into age groups, it’s easy to find the information you’re looking for. There are also safety videos, including one to help you find the correct size of helmet.
Bicycle Safety Advocacy Groups
If you want to find out what’s being done about improving bicycle safety at national and local levels, check through the links in this section. There are several groups whose sole purpose is to stand up for the rights of bicyclists everywhere and to promote safety and awareness through education and advocacy. You can find out about events and activities going on near you, donate, volunteer, or even find out how to organize something yourself.
Alliance for Biking and Walking – The ABW works to further its “People Powered Movement” campaign, which encourages people to choose walking or biking whenever possible. You can see what the group has done to make cities in North America more bike-friendly, and sign up to help in your area.
People For Bikes – This organization is comprised of bicyclists around the United States who form a unified national movement to improve biking conditions at local levels. You can look at the impressive accomplishments of the group and even join up yourself. The site is also a great place to find statistics and facts for your own research.
Helmets.org – This nonprofit organization is dedicated to providing the latest information and education about the use of bicycle helmets. You can check out the latest in bike helmet technology, read through FAQs, and learn how to make sure your helmet fits properly.
Bicycling Info.org – This site is an offshoot of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, whose mission is to make biking and walking an acceptable and viable mode of transportation in more cities across the United States. You’ll find “bikeability checklists,” a database of bike route maps, educational resources, and lots more.