UCI Road World Championships come to Richmond Sept. 19-27:
From beginners to elite riders, bike safety matters every time you ride
Tomorrow marks the opening ceremony for the UCI Road World Championships in Richmond! The championship bike races will inspire many to get on their own bikes and ride. From beginners just learning to pedal to practiced riders who bike to work or hit bike trails regularly, safety matters at all levels, every time you ride. Safe Kids Virginia Program Coordinator Corri Miller-Hobbs recommends the safe riding tips listed below. Whether you’re overseeing a child’s safety, watching your teen set off for a ride with friends or heading out on your own, be sure you – and your loved ones – follow these important safety precautions at all times.
Never ride without a helmet
– Helmets should be worn at all times when riding a tricycle or bicycle and during all steps of the learning process. Helmets can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by 88 percent. Be consistent. Insist that your children wear helmets each and every time they ride. Adults should set a positive example – and stay safe – by wearing a helmet too.
– Be sure your child’s helmet fits and that you/your child knows how to put it on correctly. A helmet should sit on top of the head in a level position, and should not rock forward, backward or side to side. Tighten the strap so no more than one finger can fit between the chin and the strap.
– Check to make sure helmets have a CPSC sticker. This means the helmet passed impact testing required by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Be visible and predictable when on the road
– When riding at dusk, dawn or in the evening, be bright, use lights and make sure your bike has reflectors. It’s also smart to wear clothes and accessories that have reflective materials to improve biker visibility to motorists.
– Ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, not against it, staying as far to the right as possible. Use appropriate hand signals and respect traffic signals, stopping at all stop signs and stoplights. Be predictable when riding. Go over this regularly with any young riders in your family.
– Bikers should make sure drivers are paying attention and are going to stop before they cross the street. Make eye contact with drivers and teach your children to do the same.
Sidewalks, parks or paths until age 10
– Developmentally it can be hard for kids to judge the speed and distance of cars until age 10, so limit riding to sidewalks, parks or bike paths until age 10. Teach children to always be careful for vehicles in driveways and to always stay alert and watch for cars and trucks, no matter where they ride.
– More children ages 5 to 14 are seen in emergency rooms for injuries related to biking than any other sport. Actively supervise children until you’re comfortable that they are responsible to ride on their own. Children should be able to demonstrate riding competence and knowledge of the rules of the road before cycling with traffic. The Virginia Department of Transportation’s Statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Program page outlines the laws, rights and duties of bicyclists and has a helpful reference on hand signals and details about where to ride when on roads, highways or sidewalks.
Bike size/equipment, clothes and shoes matter for safety
– When sitting on the seat of the bicycle, the rider’s feet should be able to touch the ground. Ensure proper bike fit by bringing your child along when shopping for a bike. Select one that is the right size for the child, not one they will grow into.
– Before the ride, make sure reflectors are secure, brakes work properly, gears shift smoothly, and tires are tightly secured and properly inflated.
– Long or loose clothing can get caught in bike chains or wheel spokes. Dress appropriately to ensure a safe ride.
– Always wear close-toed shoes when riding a bike.
Safety information and statistics from Safe Kids Worldwide.
We are open. We are here to care for you.
During the UCI Road World Championships, Sept. 19-27, VCU Health will continue to be open, providing you with quality care. Patients and families planning to come downtown during the Worlds should plan plenty of travel time as traffic will be congested in and around this area. Visit navigate.vcuhealth.org to plan your visit during this event. Be sure to allow extra travel time and check the navigate website daily for schedule and traffic updates.