Warner weather means more outdoor activities. So May's arrival of Bicycle Safety Month is timed perfectly. And police are reminding the public of easy ways to stay safe while riding a bike. Our Cara Thomas has some potentially life-saving tips.
POTSDAM, N.Y. -- Ted Prahl has been the owner of the Tread Mill, a Potsdam bicycle shop, for 40 years. And during his time here, he’s seen the bad and the ugly when it comes to riding bikes.
“About ten years ago, there was a horrible accident on the sidewalk and a kid was doing 20 mph on the sidewalk and somebody pulled out in front of the savings bank, never saw him and plowed right into the side of the car,” said Prahl.
But he’s also seen times when following bicycle safety rules have saved someone’s life.
He said, “A good friend got hit by a truck last year and his helmet saved his life.”
While many think bicycle safety is just common sense, like wearing a helmet no matter your age and making sure your bike is in good repair. Police say it’s important to be reminded of a few safety tips as the warm weather approaches.
Officer Kyle Fink from the Potsdam Police Department said, “Bicycle safety is not only for the youth, which is who the program are usually directed toward, it’s an important time for everyone to renew their dedication to safety and review the laws governing that.”
And one bicycle law that Prahl and local police say tends to be overlooked, is adult bicyclists riding in the street and treating a bicycle as if it’s a vehicle.
Fink said, “Always operate with traffic, be mindful of traffic signals and stop signs. Also signal all the turns you’re going to make and lane changes before doing so, so vehicle to the rear know what your intentions are.”
Children under the age of 10 are permitted to ride their bikes on the sidewalk.
Police say one law people tend to forget about is the regulation against using cell phones or headphones while riding a bike. Since a bicycle is considered a vehicle, police say having headphones in both ears distracts the rider and hinders their ability to hear traffic.
Police want to remind drivers and bicyclists to be conscious of each other and hazards on the road. They say there haven’t been many bicyclist accidents in the recent years and they’d like to keep it that way.