301 W. Franklin Street
Taylorville, IL 62568
CALL 911 FOR EMERGENCY
FROM THE SHERIFFíS DESK VOL 4, NR 4.
By Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp
ITíS TIME TO ENJOY YOUR BIKE RIDING, BUT BE CAREFUL!
Itís that time of the year again! Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of State, says, "Bicycle riding is a great way to get into shape and enjoy the outdoors", as stated in his valuable booklet, BICYCLE RULES OF THE ROAD.
And of course heís right. I greatly enjoy riding my bike this time of year. Although, there is no question that there is a definite element of danger in dealing with automobile traffic. There are dangers that can arise all too easily. Therefore, I want to go through the activities and preparations that will help us all. It doesnít matter if youíre young or old, an adult, or a child. It is never too late to learn, or reemphasize, bicycle safety, especially for children, who gain so much from bike riding.
The Secretary of Stateís Bicycle Rules of the Road booklet has done an exceptional job in gathering the essential facts needed for real bicycle safety. For example, it lists ten vital pieces of safety equipment any bike should have. This list can, and should be, reviewed by all bike riders.
The bookletís pages are filled with several short, easily reviewed explanations of important topics. They cover such topics as proper arm signals, riding on sidewalks, approaching a school bus, and right of way laws. Actually, I recommend that every bike rider have his or her own copy, and it should be read to make sure that riders understand the vital facts.
To help the reader be sure of what has been read, the booklet includes a Bicycle Safety Quiz with key questions and multiple choice answers. The answer page lets you check your results so thereís no doubt about your understanding.
ANOTHER VALUABLE REFERENCE: KIDS AND BICYCLE SAFETY
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, is a government organization in the Department of Transportation. One of their publications, KIDS AND BICYCLE SAFETY, is a brief, but very informative listing of Safe Riding Tips. It is only 2 pages long, and it covers 3 topics-- Safe Riding Tips, Rules of the Road for Bicycling, and Sidewalk versus Street Riding. The individual points are brief but very effective.
Their basic point is that bicycle riding is fun, healthy, and a great way to be independent. They also remind us that itís important to remember a bicycle is not a toy. Itís a vehicle.
Here are some of their tips:
WEAR A PROPERLY FITTED BICYCLE HELMET.
ADJUST YOUR BICYCLE TO FIT. They explain how positioning should be achieved and maintained.
CHECK YOUR EQUIPMENT. Before riding, inflate tires properly and check that your brakes work.
SEE AND BE SEEN. Whether daytime, dawn, dusk, foul weather, or at night, you need to be seen by others. Wearing white has not been shown to make you more visible. Rather, always wear neon, fluorescent or other bright colors when riding day or night. Also wear something that reflects light, such as reflective tape, markings, or flashing lights.
CONTROL YOUR BICYCLE. Always ride with at least one hand on the handlebars. Carry books and other items in a bicycle carrier or backpack.
AVOID RIDING AT NIGHT.
And here are their Rules of the Road:
Go With the Traffic Flow. Ride on the right side, in the same direction as other vehicles.
Obey all Traffic Laws. A bicycle is a vehicle and youíre a driver. When you ride in the street, obey all traffic signs, signals and lane markings.
Yield to Traffic when appropriate.
BE PREDICTABLE. Ride in a straight line, not in and out of cars. Signal your moves to others.
STAY ALERT AT ALL TIMES. Use your eyes AND ears.
Look before turning. When turning left or right, always look behind you for a break in traffic.
Watch for Parked Cars. Ride far enough out from the curb to avoid the unexpected, like doors opening or cars pulling out.
All of these ideas are essential to achieve maximum safety when bicycling on streets. Increased farm machinery traffic this time of year will make our need for alertness and awareness even more important.
If you have young children in your family, get a copy of each of these documents for them to study and review.
Letís make this a record-setter for bicycle safety.
Department Activity for the last 5 months: