Friday, June 6, 2014

Saranac Lake: Bicycle Safety and Free Helmets at the Rodeo

A bicyclists making a stop hand signal 
Yippee-Ki-Yay, it’s time for the rodeo. Well, not all rodeos are with horse and cowpokes, folks. It’s the annual Bicycle Rodeo at the Saranac Lake Civic Center. It still calls for a bit of a “yeehaw,” but instead of riding wild bulls, children will use their own power to ride around traffic cones and avoid obstacles, in the form of other bicyclists.   

Last year my daughter got a refresher course on bicycle hand signals and bicycle road rules. While other children chose to go around the course as fast as possible, she took her time. There is a sense of relief to watch my young child cautiously approach the stop sign while attempting to use a bicycle safety hand signal.  Police volunteers are there to help coach children with proper technique.

For anyone needing a refresher course, a bicyclist is supposed to go with traffic, but stay close to the painted line on the right side of the road. Use the left hand for all directional signals (unless indicated) and use the right hand to hold the handlebar and balance. 

Demonstrating a right hand signal.
See alternate version after the jump)
Always signal well in advance of any turn or stop. To indicate a left turn, extend the left arm straight out parallel with the ground, pointing to the left and in the direction of the turn. To indicate a right turn, hold the left upper arm horizontally and bend the forearm at a right angle and upward into an L shape or extend the right arm straight out parallel with the ground pointing to the right and in the direction of the turn. To indicate stopping extend the left arm out parallel to the ground, bend the forearm at a right angle and angle the forearm toward the ground. 

 Other children chose to learn about basic bicycle repairs.  This year Blue Line Sports will have a mechanic available for bicycle safety checks and minor repairs. This is a great opportunity to have children learn about basic maintenance. I’m told that questions are welcome so come prepared with minor repair issues and see how Blue Line Sports can provide a solution.

Diagram of basic hand signals. 
An added bonus to the day is that the Kiwanis Club of Saranac Lake is providing free bike helmets to all children. There will be someone there to check the fit of existing helmets and trade in old ones. For anyone thinking that a bike helmet is unnecessary, here are the grim statistics.

According to the New York State Department of Health, over 50 NYS residents are killed in bicycle crashes each year as well as over 2,000 NYS residents are hospitalized because of bicycle-related injuries. Head injury due to bicycle crashes is the leading cause of death and permanent disability.  A head injury also accounts for over 60% of bicycle-related deaths, 2/3 of bicycle-related hospital admissions and 1/3 of all bicycle-related emergency room visits.  It is also the law that all NYS bicyclists under the age of 14 are required to wear approved bike helmets when biking or as a passenger on a bike.
The Bicycle Rodeo is Saturday, June 7 from 10 am – noon at the Civic Center in Saranac Lake. An adult should accompany all children. It is a rodeo so it’s not all safety, there will be refreshments and a bicycle raffle. Yeehaw! Enjoy! 

 © Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities™ guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time™, which is available online or bookstores/museums/sporting good stores. Diane is currently working on the third guidebook in the four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities™.

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