When the weather is nice, few activities are as satisfying as a bicycle ride or an afternoon of skating. However, before taking to your wheels, it's worth getting to know some basic safety tips for various types of outdoor activity. Many of these active pursuits, from cycling to skateboarding, take place on or near public roadways. Whether you plan to stick to the sidewalks or share the road with other vehicles, learning how to be safe is key to avoiding serious risks. In addition, laws regarding skateboards, bikes, skates and scooters vary from state to state. Whether for adults or children, getting to know the legal procedures and the best safety measures is an important first step. After that, you can go outside and enjoy.
Before cycling, it's important to check that your bicycle is of the appropriate size. If you're going on a longer ride, it's also wise to take along some basic tools or gear, as well as a water bottle. However far you plan to cycle, it's also advisable to wear a helmet. In many places, wearing a helmet is required by law. While statistics vary, wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of a head injury by 85 percent, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center. On a bicycle and whenever you're near a road, remember always to look left and right for any oncoming traffic before approaching the street or joining traffic.
As with cycling, skateboarders should always wear protective helmets to reduce the risk of serious injury. In addition, most skateboarders agree that protective padding is highly advisable. These may include kneepads, elbow pads and/or wrist pads. It's also crucial when skateboarding to wear closed-toe shoes. For greatest safety, skateboarders should avoid practicing in or very close to roadways. Instead, many skate parks have dedicated places where skateboarders can safely practice their skills. When practiced safely, skateboarding is no more dangerous than many other popular sports, including cycling and football.
Roller skating and inline skating come with some of the same safety demands as skateboarding or cycling. Wearing protective pads is highly recommended, as for skateboarding. In addition to wrist guards and elbow and knee pads, in-line skaters may choose to wear ankle guards and special gloves. These gloves offer padding on the palms, letting inline skaters catch themselves after falling without scraping up their hands. As with any other type of equipment, you should check your skates before you begin for any signs of damage or wear and tear. Using good quality equipment and keeping it in good working order is the first precautionary step against accidents.
Scooters, also known as kick scooters or T-bar scooters, are a relatively recent means of locomotion. The standard scooter resembles a skateboard in its basic structure. However, it features a tall vertical bar at one end, with a simple handlebar. To safely use a scooter, follow the same basic precautions as you would with skateboards or bicycles, such as wearing a helmet and appropriate padding. In addition, it's important to check that the scooter is an appropriate size for your frame. Some accidents occur when smaller children use older siblings' scooters, which require them to reach uncomfortably for the T-bar. Always ride scooters on level surfaces, as the basic scooter's wheels are not designed to handle rough terrain or gravelly roads.
In general, anyone spending time close to a road should learn certain safe practices to avoid accidents and potentially critical injuries. Depending on the local road laws, cyclists may be required to follow different rules than pedestrians. Exactly how you should maneuver other forms of transport, such as scooters or skates, will partially depend on the local transportation laws in your state. Wherever you are, though, basic safety measures include paying attention to oncoming traffic, keeping a safe distance from motor vehicles, only using equipment in good working condition and wearing all the necessary padding.
- Don't Be Shy, Be Safe
- Stay Safe in Traffic
- Sharing the Road (FFDL 37) - Safety Tips for Bicyclists
- Safe Bicycle Riding in NJ
- Bike Safety for Adults
- Safe Bicycling
- Children's Hospital Safety & Patient Education: Bicycle, In-Line Skating & Skateboarding Safety
- Injury Statistics and Incidence Rates
- University of Chicago Medicine: Bicycle/In-Line Skating/Skateboarding Safety Statistics
- Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: Safety Tips and Prevention
- Skateboarding: A Surprisingly Safe Sport
- Injury Statistics and Incidence Rates, High-Risk Situations, and Prevention
Inline and Roller Skating Safety
- Roller Skating Safety Act of 1988
- National Safety Council: Inline Skating
- Inline Skating Resource Center
- In-line Skating Safety Tips
- In-Line Skating and Roller Skating Safety Activity Checkpoints
- Good Inline Skating Practices
- Scooter Safety
- Scooters and Safety
- Kick Scooter Safety Fact Sheet
- Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents: Scooters
- Basic Kick Scooting: Your Stance on a Scooter
- Safety for Kick-Scooters, Skates, and Skateboards
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: Pedestrians
- Pedestrian Safety and Access: Pedestrian Safety Tips
- Pedestrian Safety Tips
- Pedestrian Safety
- Pedestrian Safety, Children Ages Five to Nine Years
Find more about the author: Kim Hart