Bicycle Safety

Bicycle Safety
To obtain a free copy of this brochure, contact the Town of Hempstead Department of Public Safety at (516) 538-1900.

Residents in the Town of Hempstead love to ride their bicycles. Nice weather draws bicyclists to make use of the more than 1,200 miles of town roadways. With ever-increasing bicycle traffic, it becomes imperative that motorists and cyclists obey all traffic regulations as they share the road.

Since 1994, it is required by law that all bicyclists 14 years of age and younger wear an approved bicycle helmet. While it is not a law for those over 14, it is certainly recommended for everyone who rides a bike.

This brochure contains rules and regulations intended to help you and your family practice bicycle safety.

It's important for bicycle enthusiasts to be fully aware of all precautionary measures necessary to cycle safely. Following these simple guidelines makes biking a fun and safe sport for all to enjoy.

Bicycle Safety Presentations

It's time to be the safest person you can be on two wheels. Residents young and old are riding bicycles along roadways across our township. At the same time, car and truck traffic is increasing and drivers are confronted with a host of distractions from navigation systems and ringing cell phones to mobile televisions and other "on-board" entertainment devices. Therefore, it's more important than ever to practice safe bicycling.

Wearing a helmet is just the first step in an extensive bike-safety program. Bicycling rules, safety equipment, bike maintenance and selecting the right bike are just a few of the topics covered in our important bicycle-safety program.

This half-hour presentation is great for riders of all ages, but it is especially helpful to young people who are just becoming familiar with the rules of the road and safe-bicycling practices. To arrange a presentation for your organization or group, contact the Department of Public Safety at (516) 538-1900.

Bicycling Rules

Obey Traffic Regulations – Bike riders are to obey the same traffic signs and local regulations as motor vehicles.

Keep to the Right – Always ride with traffic, keeping in a single file.

Making Signals – Signal before you turn or stop, letting motor vehicles as well as pedestrians know your intentions.

Ride Defensively – Anticipate others' mistakes. Leave time and room for evasive action. You are vulnerable on a bike. You have nothing to protect you if you have an accident. Always yield to cars and pedestrians.

Use Caution At Intersections – Most accidents happen at intersections. Stop your bike, look and listen for cars before you proceed.

Beware Of Parked Cars – A car may suddenly pull out in front of you or a door might open forcing you to pull out into traffic.

Use Common Sense – Do not show off, weave or race in traffic. Use caution when pulling out from in between parked cars, driveways, alleys, or entering into traffic. Attempt to make eye contact with the driver or the pedestrian.

Road Hazards – Be alert for anything that may cause you to have an accident. Watch out for potholes, gravel, rocks, cans, etc. Be careful of animals, as they may run into your path or chase after you.

Confidence – Knowledge and experience prepare you to react to danger. Practice to build your skills and confidence.

Be Safe

Bicycle Helmet – First and foremost is wearing an approved bicycle helmet. This became law effective June 1, 1994.

Handlebars – Adjusted to the proper height and securely tightened so they do not move when riding.

Reflectors – Rear one must be visible from 300 feet. The front, pedals, and spokes should also have reflectors.

Handlegrips – Should not be worn or loose. Replace when needed.

Brakes – Must stop you with no slipping or grabbing. Check for any wear.

Headlight – Should be visible from 500 feet.

Tires – Check for any cracked walls, bubbles, and objects imbedded into the treads. Also maintain correct pressure.

Fenders – Be sure they are securely tight and do not rub on the tires.

Wheels – Should be aligned so they spin freely and do not wobble or hit the fenders.

Pedals – Must be tight. Replace if worn with reflector type.

Spokes – Replace any broken or bent ones.

Bike Seat – Adjust to the proper height for the person riding the bike.

Chain – Check for damage: it should have between 1/2 - 3/4 inch slack.

Horn or Bell – Get one that has a clear, loud sound that can be heard at approximately 100 feet.

Dressing & Riding Right

Protect yourself form serious head injury by wearing an approved helmet. Get used to putting a helmet on every time you ride your bike. For everyone under the age of 14, it is required by LAW. Parents found in violation of the law could face a fine of $50.00.

Dress for riding your bicycle. Wear reflective materials and bright clothes so you are more visible to motorists and pedestrians.

For good protection, wear long pants. Fix the bottom of the legs so they will not catch in the chain. Also avoid items such as long coats, long scarves and any loose clothing that may catch in the chain or wheels.

Keep your eyes on the road ahead of you. Be aware of what is going on around you. Do not horse around or show off. Steer with both hands. If something happens, you will need both of them to react quickly to danger.

Keep your balance. Knees and arms are kept in. Lean forward slightly. Seat and handlebars should be adjusted for comfort as well as safety.

Pedal with the ball of the foot with an even steady rhythm.

Remember to be courteous, give pedestrians the right of way. Set a good example for others.

Lock Your Bike

Protect your bike from theft. This is a large investment.

  • Mark it.
  • Register it.
  • Record the serial number.
  • Lock it up.

Select the "Right Bike"

There are many different types and styles of bicycles. Some are dirt bikes, high performance or for casual riding. Check to see what type of bicycle would be best for you.

When buying your bike, straddle it. There should be approximately one inch between your body and the crossbar.

Check the bicycle for any danger points. Look for any sharp edges that could cause injury and tear clothing.

Check the frame. Is it welded correctly? Are there any cracks? Look at the wheels. Are they aligned?

Check what SAFETY EQUIPMENT comes with the bike and what extras you may have to buy.

Maintain Your Bike

Basic Tool Kit – Should include a wrench, screwdrivers, pliers, tire pump, etc.

Keep Bike Clean – Be sure reflectors are clean from mud and/or dust.

Lubricate – Check owner's manual for instructions. Oil chain and all bearings according to these directions.

Check Out Noises – This may be a sign of serious trouble. If left alone it could cause an injury and/or an accident.