The League of American Bicyclists sponsors National Bike Month in May every year. They ask, “With so many reasons to ride, what’s yours?” National bike month was established in May of 1956. “To showcase the many benefits of bicycling – and encourage more folks to giving biking a try.”
The Creating Healthy Communities Coalition promotes biking as not just recreational, but also functional: as a means of transportation. The Coalition has been collecting information about biking and residents perception about biking within Meigs County. Overall, residents site feeling safe when riding within the Villages in the County.
If you are new to biking or would like to start here are some tips to keep in mind:
Be sure to wear a helmet. Healthresearchfunding.org stated that wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by up to 85 percent If you are uncertain about what size to purchase, a bike shop would be able to properly fit you for a helmet.
Follow traffic laws when riding in the roadway. Stop at all stop signs and red lights. Avoid weaving between parked cars and traffic. Ride in a straight line, so you can be predictable to a driver.
Ride on the right side of the road. Bicyclists, if in the roadway, should ride in the right lane. Healthychildren.org dispels the myth of riding facing traffic saying that “riding against traffic confuses or surprises drivers”, and that “almost one fourth of bicycle-car collisions result from bicyclists riding against traffic.”
Use headlights and taillights to increase visibility, especially if riding at night. Brighter clothing increases visibility also.
Furthermore, if you are in a vehicle passing a bicyclist, it’s the law to give a 3 feet cushion when passing.
If you are interested in promoting biking and bicycle safety in Meigs County contact the Creating Healthy Communities Project Director at the Meigs County Health Department at (740) 992-6626.
Laura Cleland is a health educator with the Meigs County Health Department.