Important Bike Safety Suggestions For Summer


Hi! I have been a regular cyclist now for about 25 years. You will usually find me on my bike at least four days a week, I used to race and still ride in both Endurance and Charity ride events.  As we enter summer many of us will be on our bikes much more and I offer some important Safety ideas.

Wear a helmet!  Most important thing you can do. Head injuries are going to occur if you crash or fall off your bike.  I know as a child I never wore one - no one did.  Things have changed for the better, and it is the law.  I have taught my grandson from the get-go to wear a helmet and he

knows the reasons why.  Adults riding with kids should always wear helmets.  Think of the

example you are setting and what would happen if you fell, were unconscious, and your child would be there alone.

Lights on the bike.  It has been proven that a blinking red light on the back of your bike is the single best thing you can do to prevent being hit by a car.  A blinking white light on the front is also very important!  Let’s face it, there are a lot of distractions when driving—cell phones for one—and that blinking light is enough to catch a driver's attention.  They are small, rechargeable, and easy to put on your bikes.

Riding in the Right Direction.  If you are riding in a bike lane or on the shoulder of the road, you must ride in the same direction as cars are traveling.  By riding against the traffic, you would be much more severely injured head-on than if you were struck from behind.  Also, all experienced cyclists are riding in the proper direction.  Many of us train at fast speeds—and there are many of us in this area.  You pose a serious injury threat to us if you are riding in the wrong direction

Tire Pressure.  An average road bike should have 80-110 pounds of pressure in its tires.  Kids’

bikes with fat tires maybe 40-50.  Most tires list recommended pressure on the sidewall.  If you are uncertain, visit your local bike shop for a recommendation and buy a pump while you’re

there!  Ask for a quick bike inspection—they will do it for free in most cases.

Tires, brakes, chain – before you ride, check the tires for anything embedded in them that might cause a flat, make sure the brakes work, and lubricate the chain – just a little goes a long way.

You can also bounce the bike to make sure nothing is loose.

Finally, for those in Manchester, be aware of road construction and avoid these areas.  For instance, the construction project on School Street could run through October.  The Bike & Pedestrian Committee would recommend that anyone riding in or out of town avoid as much of School Street as possible in the meantime.  Forest/Mill on the east side of town, and Pine/Pleasant on the west side all make good alternative routes. Cyclists who have to travel on School Street are advised to “take the lane” moving to the center and avoiding the gravel and pipes at the shoulder.  

By keeping these simple rules in mind, we can all look forward to a great summer season.  Ride safely and enjoy the outdoors on your bike!

Freddy Cicerchia is co-chair of the Manchester Bike & Pedestrian Committee