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Tips for Safe Bicycling in Time for Spring

When the weather turns warm, people are once again able to enjoy the outdoors on their bicycles. Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White and the Illinois Department of Transportation offer a number of tips designed to help bicyclists stay safe on our roads. If you or your loved ones will be bicycling this year, it is a good time to review the practices that can help you avoid accidents.

The number one tip for bicycle safety is to always wear a helmet when riding. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that helmet use reduces head injury risk by 85 percent. While helmets are recommended for all age groups, many states and municipalities have laws requiring helmet use for younger riders. Riders ages 5 to 14 suffer a disproportionate number of injuries in bicycle accidents. 

Another important safety tip is for riders to choose safe places to ride. Bicycles are vehicles and have all the same rights and responsibilities as other vehicles. That does not mean that all roads are created equal for bike safety purposes. Children, in particular, should not be allowed to ride on busy streets. The Illinois DOT recommends that younger children ride on the sidewalk.

Bicyclists are also reminded to obey all traffic lights, street signs and rules of the road. Yield right of way to pedestrians and pay particular attention to signs and traffic at intersections. Drunk biking, like drunk driving is illegal and unsafe. Nearly one-quarter of bicyclists killed in accidents had BACs of .08 or higher at the time of the accident. By obeying traffic laws and street signs, you can avoid many of the issues that lead to bicycle crashes.

Source: Cyberdriveillinois.com, "Bicycle Safety Tips

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