Staying safe while riding a bike

Properly fitting a helmet (KHGI)

About 494,000 bicyclists went to the emergency room in 2013, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 900 cyclists were killed but, CHI Good Samaritan in Kearney says having the proper clothing when riding a bike could help keep you safe.

"We want to make sure kids are dressed brightly," said Good Samaritan trauma outreach coordinator, Tracy Dethlefs. "That they've got bright colors on and not the dark colors that might blend in with the sidewalk or the grass. And reflectors are a great idea to add to the bike or to the clothing."

Wearing a properly fitting helmet is also encouraged.

"So as we fit a helmet, we want to make sure that that goes snug onto the head," said Dethlefs. "The strap here should make a V by the ear, and then as we clip this helmet we want to make sure that we can get a finger width here, but then open your mouth and you should feel this pull down. And, we want to make sure that we only have two finger widths above the brow."

Tracy says hair accessories and styles are also something to keep in mind when wearing a helmet.

"Now, for anybody that has longer hair you want to make sure that any ponytails or barrettes are going to be down below the bike helmet," Dethlefs said. "You don't want those up here because they'll effect the fit."

However, safety is not only about apparel, bicycle maintenance is also necessary.

"Making sure the tires are inflated, fully without any leaks, that you've got your chain working well, and make sure seat heights are adjusted properly for each child," said Dethlefs.

Finally, knowing the rules of the road is also important.

During the adolescent years, kids are encouraged to ride on the sidewalks.

"But once they transition a little bit, ten years old or older, then we need to make sure kids are following the traffic rules, because they're going to be riding their bikes on the same side of the road as the cars are driving," said Dethlefs.

All of these safety tips can be put into action during the City of Kearney's sixth annual Bicycle Sunday.

"We will have a route that participants can ride," said recreation superintendent, Jade Brown. "It kind of highlights sections of our trails. So, it will go from Yanney Park to UNK to 30th avenue back to Kearney High and then to UNK."

If you do the full five mile ride, you may be rewarded.

"There are nine check points along the trail and if families or groups, whoever, participate, if they make it to the nine checkpoints, and they will be entered into a drawing to win a free 2017 family pool pass," said Brown. "So, there is incentive to get out and get going on those trails."

If you'd like participate in this free event, it's this Sunday from 2 until 5 p.m., no preregistration is required.

You can find this year's trail map for Bicycle Sunday here, and the helmet fitting tips here.

You can follow this story and all of Jessica Stevenson's local news coverage on facebook and twitter.

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