Category Archives: Bike Accident

9 Bicycle Safety Tips for Kids

Bicycling can be a great activity for children—if they know the basic safety routines. The following guidelines can make it easier for you to get your child into the bike safety habit.

1. Helmets and kids – It’s the safety connection that really matters

  • Let your child help pick out the helmet.
  • Always insist your child wear the helmet.
  • Begin the helmet habit with the first bicycle.
  • When you ride with your children, wear your own helmet.
  • Encourage the parents of your children’s friends to buy helmets.

2. Dress your child appropriately for dawn, dusk or bad weather biking

  • Children should avoid biking in the dark. If they must bike at night, make sure their clothing and helmet have reflective strips and that the lights and reflectors on the bike are in place.
  • ALWAYS make sure they wear shoes when riding a bicycle! One reader told us that she lost a toe when she was little because she wasn’t wearing shoes and got her toe caught in the bike chain (yowza).

3. Sidewalks and paths

  • Start with sidewalks and bike paths until you feel confident your child can handle a road with vehicle traffic.

4. Plan a safe cycling route with your children

  • Ride it at different times of the day—the amount of traffic can vary significantly.

5. Make sure schools provide cyclists with “safe areas”

  • Look to see where kids can lock their bikes and if it’s near the pick-up, drop-off area (which could have a lot of traffic).

6. Discourage kids from riding alone

  • Kids should always try to ride with a buddy (but not on the same bike) and know what to do in case of an accident or if they are followed or approached by a stranger on foot or in a car.

7. Don’t let them ride a borrowed bike

  • Make sure they are riding a bike that fits them and that it is in good working order.

8. Warn children of the dangers of using a bike to try stunts and tricks

  • ”Showing off” can lead to injuries for the cyclists and his friends.

9. Traffic

  • Remind children to stop and look for traffic at all intersections, including those where streets cross alleys and driveways.

– Susan

Biking Under Freezing

Our offices are in Minneapolis’ warehouse district – an eclectic blend of small businesses, restaurants and condos.

For the past week, it’s been between -5 and -20 below zero.  (We have windchills of -30; it feels like it’s -30 when the wind blows.  Yes, we choose to live here….)

We got in this morning and passed two bikes at the building’s bike rack, which means two brave people are biking into work.  God knows where they get that kind of insanity courage in this weather.

There are some rules to biking in the snow and here’s how those hearty souls handle the snow, ice, skidding cars, slippery tires and more….

Susan

Start of Summer

summer.jpgMemorial Day weekend is unofficially the “kick-off” weekend for summer. Summer means hot weather, cool nights, barbeques, baseball, road trips, poolside vacations and summer camp.

What’s your favorite summer activity? Get ready for the summer ahead with these top articles and tips:

Speaking of fun summer activities, we’re looking to launch our new section on Motorcycles sometime next week!

Have a motorcycle tip or story? We’d love to hear it! Post it in the Comments section below or email us!

Teaching Your Child How to Ride a Bike

10_2503308.JPGBy Steven W., our guest blogger and busy father of two

Your child has mastered the tricycle, and now you are wondering how to teach him or her how to ride a bike — safely! Here are six tips that worked for my son.

1) Buy the helmet first

Make sure your son or daughter is comfortable wearing the helmet first, well before the first bicycle ride. For maximum protection, get a new helmet, not a used one. Make sure it fits right, adjusting the straps for a comfortable fit days (or weeks) in advance.

2) Get the smallest bike you can find

Bigger is not better when it comes to a first bicycle. Your child must be able to reach the ground with both feet on the ground (not tippy toes) while sitting on the seat.

Get a little children’s bike with 12 inch wheels. It will be the easiest to balance and maneuver while starting out.

3) Make sure she wears her helmet the very first time she rides a bike

It is important to link these two events, so that it becomes an automatic habit for him or her to always put on a helmet before riding a bike.

4) Start in “tricycle mode”

To start out with, the training wheels should be the same height as the back tire, so that the bike is completely stable and doesn’t tip or lean. Let your child ride like this for a week or two, but not much longer.

5) Get the balance right

Learning to ride a bike is all about balance. The only way you child is going to learn balance is by raising the training wheels so that the bike can lean. Raise the training wheels a little bit every two weeks or so. Don’t tell them you are doing this!

After two or three months, the training wheels should be at their maximum height, so that your child is doing all of the balancing.

6) Get out in front on the big day

After a few months, your child will confidently master the bicycle steering, pedaling, balancing, and braking. When you and your child are ready for the big day, find a secluded open area, take off the training wheels, get in front of the bike and hold the handlebars as your child gets on.

Now, take a deep breath and let go of the handlebars as your child starts to pedal. Quickly walk/trot backwards as he pedals towards you, maintaining a distance of about 6 feet. Trot backwards like this for a distance ten to twenty feet, then let him stop. This is a better approach than running behind the bike, trying to hold the seat, which throws off their balance.

Do this short ride four or five times, then call it a day. A few crashes are inevitable, so try to stop after a successful ride. After a few sessions like this, he will be able to ride all on his own.

If he falls or becomes frightened, he may want the training wheels put back on. Don’t stress out, just put them back on. It may take a few weeks, but he will want to try it again, believe me.

Let them go at their own pace, and don’t forget to relax and enjoy the moment as your child rides right past this milestone!

Bike to Work Week

bike2.JPGTired of high gas prices? Save that money and give bike commuting a try!

Many metropolitan areas and transit systems are offering discounts and free rides to cyclists this week. Tomorrow is the official Bike to Work Day – click here to see what fun events are going on in your area.

Also, we just posted some new tips from cyclists and bike experts on how to enjoy your first bike commute. Here’s a sample:

1. Take It Easy. Don’t get caught up on trying to have the correct equipment, like the best bike or fancy carriers and crates for your bike. Start out with a backpack to carry things. Make sure that you’re enjoying your bicycling and your commuting before you go wholeheartedly into it. There are great community bike shops that have used bike equipment for sale, we’ve heard a lot of great things about Craigslist or even just ask your coworkers.
– Chris Cameron, Commuting Instructor, Cascade Bicycling Club, Seattle WA

2. Protect Your Melon! A helmet is a must, as should be protective eye wear (sunglasses or clear glasses). I’ve been hit in the lenses on more than one occasion by rocks kicked up by cars. And the glasses will also protect your eyes when you ride through a patch of bugs or hit a bee. Gloves are good to protect your hands if you fall – or to keep you warm if its cold.
– Torin R., West Hills, CA

3. Do a “practice run.” Ride in on the weekend to make sure that you know the bike route. Carry the gear that you expect to need for work. Make sure you know where you are going to park your bike, change clothing if necessary and store gear during the work day. A practice run helps you overcome some of the hurdles in a non-stressful way.
– Doug Shidell, avid cyclist and publisher of Bikeverywhere.com.

Top Ten Phone Numbers to Have…Just In Case!

Bloggers Marc and Angel have a list of the top ten phone numbers you should have in your cell phone just in case. You just never know when you might need them!

Also, this brings to mind another blog post from a while back:

Still in need of additional contact lists to have just in case? Print out these handy emergency contact lists to keep a hard copy of your contact numbers – store them near your landlines at home or at work.

Snowmobile Safety

Before you suit up and head out the door for a quick snowmobile ride, be safe and be smart: the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that about 13,400 hospital emergency room-treated injuries occur each year with snowmobiles.

snowmobile.JPG

The CPSC offers these tips to have a safe ride:

1. Never drive your snowmobile alone or on unfamiliar ground. Have someone ride along with you so you can help each other in case of breakdown or accident.2. Drive only on established and marked trails or in specified use areas.

3. Avoid waterways. Frozen lakes and rivers can be fatal. It is almost impossible to judge adequate ice coverage or depth.

4. Avoid driving in bad weather. Check warnings for snow, ice and wind chill conditions before starting.

5. Watch the path ahead to avoid rocks, trees, fences (particularly barbed wire), ditches and other obstacles.

6. Slow down at the top of a hill. A cliff, snowbank or other unforeseen hazard could be on the other side.

7. Don’t hurdle snowbanks. You have control only when your skis are on the ground.

8. Learn the snowmobile traffic laws and regulations for the area. Many states prohibit using snowmobiles on public roads. Some states have minimum age requirements for drivers.

9. Be sensible about stopping at roads or railroad tracks. Signal your turns to other drivers. Avoid tailgating. Control speed according to conditions.

10. Use extra caution if driving at night, as unseen obstacles could be fatal. Do not drive faster than your headlights will allow you to see. Do not open new trails after dark.

11. Never drink while driving your snowmobile. Drinking and driving can prove fatal.

12. Be sure the snowmobile is properly maintained in good operating condition. Some cases report that the throttle sticks, leading to loss of control. Snowmobiles manufactured before 1983 may not have a “throttle interruption device” designed to shut off the snowmobile in the event the throttle sticks.

Four Professionals Everyone Should Keep on Speed Dial

Productivity and frugality blog, WiseBread, has a great post about the top 6 professionals that you should have in your phone’s contact list…just in case. I’ve narrowed their list down to three and added in one extra professional I think you really should have in case of emergencies:

Attorney: Whether it’s a car accident, medical lawsuit or helping you draw up a will or other important document, everyone will probably need or meet with a lawyer at least once in their lifetime. Before something major happens, do the scouting now:

  • Nolo.com (this is a commercial site but they have good, basic information on how to find a lawyer and understanding fees)

Doctor: Even if it’s just a cold, having a doctor that you can trust can make the world of difference. Build that relationship now before you feel under the weather:

Insurance Agent: Auto, car, life, medical, home owner’s and rental insurance…doesn’t matter what coverage you’ve got, you’ll need a great agent to get the coverage you need and help you get the most out of your claims.

Mechanic: Let’s face it. Someday (could be tomorrow, could be next year), something in your car will break. You’ll need a great mechanic you can trust to get your car back on the road – and fast. Otherwise, you’ll be back in the shop before you know it.

What professional couldn’t you live without? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below! (Thanks, WiseBread!)

Starting an Emergency Fund

money.JPGYou might have heard about emergency funds before, but why do you need one and just how much is really enough? Here are a couple of tips to help you find those answers for your own situation:

What is an emergency fund?

An emergency fund is a extra pool of money – either in the form of cash, a savings account, savings bonds, etc. – that can help you through some of life’s unexpected situations such as natural disasters, unemployment, loss of family member, health problems and home repairs.

Why do I need a fund?

You don’t have to have an emergency fund. However, if an emergency causes you to lose your job or home, having extra money on hand may be helpful while you try to recover. It can also prevent racking up large amounts on your credit cards, which could cause debt problems down the road.

How much do I need?

A general rule of thumb is to have at least 3-6 months of living expenses set aside in case of emergencies. It’s up to you to decide on an amount that you feel comfortable with.

How do I begin my emergency fund?

There are many different ways to set aside money for this – extra cash, savings bonds, savings accounts, CDs, etc. Use search engines to help you decide which option is best for you (search “starting an emergency fund”). Whichever method you choose, make sure that your money is accessible in case of an immediate emergency.

  • You don’t have to set aside a large amount of money right now – you can take time to build your fund to the desired amount. Deposit as much and/or as often as you’d like.
  • If you use money from your emergency fund, don’t forget to save up and replace the amount you used.
  • If you need financial assistance due to an emergency, there are federal agencies that may be able to help you with your finances. Head to FEMA, the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and other local and faith-based organizations for more information.