Bicycle Safety Frequently Asked Questions
- Any helmet's a good helmet, right?
No way! Bicycle helmets and construction hard hats, for instance, are not interchangeable. Bicycle helmets are designed to protect your head in headfirst falls at high speeds. Hardhats and other types of head protection are not designed for this type of impact.
- How should a helmet fit?
A helmet should be worn squarely on top of the head, covering the top of the forehead. If it is tipped back, it will not protect the forehead. A helmet fits well if it doesn't move around on the head or slide down over the wearer's eyes when pushed or pulled. The chinstrap should be adjusted to fit snugly.
- How do you know if it's a good helmet?
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a uniform, mandatory federal government safety standard for all bike helmets. All helmets manufactured or imported for sale in the United States must carry a label or sticker stating that they are certified by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), and/or the Snell Memorial Foundation.
- When should I replace my helmet?
You should replace your helmet after a crash, even if there is no visible damage. Damage to the helmet may not be visible to the untrained eye. Even very small cracks in the helmet may greatly reduce its effectiveness in preventing injury.
- What safety equipment is required if I ride at night?
Your bike is required to have a front white headlight and rear red reflector. Amber reflectors on each side are also recommended. Tail lights are required at speeds more than 35 mph.
- Where should I position myself on the roadway?
Bicyclists should ride on the right side of the roadway, in single file, and in the same direction as traffic. Riding against traffic puts bicyclists where motorists don't expect them.
- How can I be more noticeable to other motorists?
Bicyclists are more easily seen when they wear bright-colored or reflective clothing. You can also increase your visibility by wearing lights that strap to your legs and move while you are peddling.
- Are bicycles prohibited on sidewalks?
No, unless prohibited by local ordinance. While on sidewalks, you must always yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and give an audible signal before passing them.
- Is it safer to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk or on the road?
Avoid bicycling on sidewalks, especially in areas where motorists might not expect bicyclists or might have obstructed visibility. For example, a driver backing a car out of a driveway might not expect a bicyclist riding on the sidewalk.