￼￼￼￼￼In addition to the great exercise and community that we can share while riding bikes in Georgia, we also share a high priority on rider safety. Making sure that the equipment you are using, from your bike to all the other things you might need, are safe and sound is step one in getting out to ride this season. This is the second in a series on getting ready to bike in Georgia.
In my work as a Gwinnett County bicycle injury lawyer, I know first hand what happens when something goes wrong on an outing that should be a wonderful experience. So, let's take a little time to make sure that you have what you need.
First, your bike. Amazingly, some people do not realize the importance of checking out your bike every season. It is very important that you and your family ride bikes that are correctly fit for each person. Fit requires the ability to not only straddle your bike while you are standing, but to ensure that bike, be sure you can straddle your frame while standing. There are several other key fit tests that you will need to make sure bikes fit their riders, so best bet is to go to a bike shop that can check measurements and ensure the correct fit.
Once you have your bike and you know it's a great fit, it is important to make sure it is working properly. Before you start riding this season have someone with knowledge, if you don't have that knowledge yourself, check out your bike.
Obviously, one of the most important areas of mechanical safety for you as a rider is your brakes. You need to be able to stop quickly. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated mandates how your bicycle brakes should function. OCGA section 40-6-296 (b) states that "[e]very bicycle sold or operated shall be equipped with a
brake which will enable the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level pavement." It is a good idea to test your bike's functioning in this regard and make sure you can come to a skidded stop on dry pavement that is level. If necessary, replace your brake cables and your brake pads. These can become worn and make braking more difficult and therefore, put you and others at risk.
Make sure that your tires are properly inflated. Checking the tire pressure on a very regular basis will help eliminate issues with your tires.
It is crucial that you make sure to wear a helmet when you ride your bike. Many many serious head and brain injuries occur in the absence of a helmet. Helmets cut down the likelihood of these injuries in very significant numbers. Helmets are required to meet certain safety standards and you want one that has the approval of consumer agencies. Make sure your helmet has a Consumer Product Safety Commission, ASTM, or Snell sticker.
Helmet use is so important that Georgia law also requires them in certain circumstances. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-6-296 (e)(1), states that "[n]o person under the age of 16 years shall operate or be a passenger on a bicycle on a highway, bicycle path, or sidewalk under the jurisdiction or control of this state or any local political subdivision thereof without wearing a bicycle helmet." The fit of your helmet is also very important. The helmet needs to be a bit snug. It also should be no more than an inch above your eyebrows to best protect you in the event of an accident.
￼￼￼Another area of mechanical safety is your bike's gears. Make sure they are adjusted properly in general and particularly since our roads can be hilly in parts of Georgia.
Next post we will continue to share things you need to know about cycling in Georgia from the law to your emergency equipment. Until then, please ride safely!!!