Ready to Ride? Think About Bike Safety ABCs
Spring is pedal power season in Minnesota. Warmer temperatures mean cyclists are eager to ride like the wind.
“In the state of Minnesota, a bicycle has the same rights as an automobile to the road,” said Pam Sayler, who runs Trailhead Cycling in Champlin. Sayler says it’s crucial to make sure your bike is safe and ready to ride. Every cyclist should wear a helmet. “If the buckles do not work or there are cracks in the foam, it’s time to replace your helmet,” says Sayler.
Bike helmets should be replaced every five years. “The UV rays from the sun deteriorate the resin that holds the foam together,” explains Sayler. “In an impact that helmet is not going to have integrity anymore.”
Sayler says bike safety is as simple as A,B,C:
- A is for air. Proper inflation is a must. “Give the tires a squeeze,” Sayler said. “If they’re soft you need to add some air.”
- B stands for brakes. You better be able to stop. “Give the brakes a squeeze and make sure that they stop the wheels from spinning,” Sayler said. “If the brakes aren’t functioning you need to make sure the cable is connected.”
- C means check that chain. Use a special bike lube every 100 miles to keep it greased.”You’ve got to make sure the chain is connected and rotating,” Sayler said. “If the chain is off the cogs or fallen off the bicycle, put it back on.”
Bike Safety also means obeying the rules of the road.
“Stop at those stop signs and intersections because they can be really dangerous,” said bike rider Colleen Higgins of Dayton. “I had a collision last year so it’s even more important to me this year. I’ve got a mirror on my bike. I typically have a light in the back.”
Sayler also advises cyclists to ride with traffic, use hand signals to turn and put blinking lights on your bike. This could cut down on two-wheel collisions with four-wheel counterparts. “Cars are much bigger than bicycles,” Sayler said. “In an impact, a car’s always going to win.”
Sayler also suggests avoiding the roads altogether and ride the trails instead.