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KID STUFF : 'Tis the Season for Bike Safety

August 05, 1992|ASSOCIATED PRESS

Summer's here, and kids have taken to the road on their bikes.

So it's important to remind them that bicycles are considered vehicles just like cars and trucks, says Dr. Alan Forstater, clinical professor of surgery at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

When outfitting a child with a bike, make sure it's the right size. Adjust the seat so that when the pedal is at the bottom, the child's leg is straight. Wheel size should correspond to the rider's size: In general, 5- to 7-year-olds should ride on 20-inch wheels, 8- to 10-year-olds on 24-inch wheels and anyone older than 10 on 26-inch wheels.

Have the bike checked thoroughly once or twice a year by an experienced mechanic. Check tires and brakes once a week.

Forstater offers these safety tips:

* Always wear a helmet.

* Stop and look in both directions every time you ride into a street.

* Ride as far to the right as possible, single file.

* Obey traffic signs and signals.

* Before you make a turn, look in front and behind you for traffic. Use hand signals.

* Watch out for obstructions in the road. Bikecentennial, a bicycle travel association, says 95% of injury-producing bike accidents and 18% of cycling deaths occur when a cyclist runs into something or falls.

* Don't ride after dark. According to Bikecentennial, 30% of fatal biking accidents and 10% of all biking accidents occur at night.

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