Courtesy of Independent Health’s Corporate Wellness Department

There are so many great reasons to ride a bicycle. Not only is it fun and good for the environment, but it’s also a great form of exercise. People who bike to work or school show fewer risk factors for heart disease and are more fit than other commuters.

With May being National Bike Month, we encourage everyone to ride their bikes as much as possible. Here are some safety tips you should consider before getting on your bike:

Wear a helmet:

  • A helmet is the most effective safety device available to reduce head injury and death from bicycle crashes.
  • Make sure you have the right size helmet. It should meet U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards. Look for a CPSC label inside the helmet to be sure.
  • A helmet should fit on the top of the head in a level position. When positioned correctly, you should be able to see the bottom rim of the helmet. The rim should be one to two finger-widths above the eyebrows.
  • Make sure the straps of the helmet form a “V” under your ears when buckled. The strap should be snug but comfortable.
  • Open your mouth as wide as you can. Do you feel the helmet hug your head? If not, tighten those straps and make sure the buckle is flat against your skin.
  • The CPCS recommends you replace your helmet every 5-10 years.

Proper equipment and clothing:

  • When sitting on the seat of the bicycle, your feet should be able to touch the ground.
  • Make sure the reflectors are secure, brakes work properly, gears shift smoothly, and tires are tightly secured and properly inflated. You should also have a white headlight and red taillight so that you can be seen in both directions.
  • Long or loose clothing can get caught in bike chains or wheel spokes. Dress kids appropriately to ensure a safe ride.
  • Wear clothes and accessories that have retro-reflective materials to improve biker visibility to motorists.

Riding etiquette:

  • Drive with the flow of traffic and use hand signals.
  • Obey street signs and traffic signals.
  • Don’t listen to music, text while riding or do anything that could distract you by taking your eyes and ears off the road.
  • Pass pedestrians by announcing “on your left.”

Enter Bike Month Contest!

Do you love bicycling in Western New York? Then we want to hear about it. In 350 words or less, tell us why you love riding a bike – is it your main mode of transportation? Has it helped you in your health and wellness journey? Is it something you enjoy doing with your family?

Submit your story and you could win the grand prize, a Bike Month Prize Pack courtesy of Independent Health, which includes:

  • One (1) $200 gift card to Dick’s Sporting Goods
  • Two (2) complimentary SkyRide registrations with two (2) bike helmets
  • Two (2) free annual memberships to Reddy Bikeshare (or two $40 riding credits for existing members)
  • One (1) Independent Health prize pack

The contest runs May 1 through May 24. Entrants must be at least 18 years of age and a resident of New York State. Stories will be reviewed by a panel of judges. Visit our website to submit your story and learn more about our community partnerships with Reddy Bikeshare and Gobike Buffalo.