Bicycle Safety Tips for Everyone

Bicycles are a wonderful source of transportation and are in abundance here on Key Biscayne.

Make sure your child always wears a bicycle helmet when riding a bike.  If your child is under the age of 16, s/he must wear a helmet by law, even if s/he is a passenger on your bike.  The same law applies to any child using a carrier mounted to your bicycle, whether it’s mounted to the bicycle or pulled behind it.

Did you know that more than 630 children aged 19 and under are injured daily in bicycle-related crashes in the United States? More children ages 5-14 are seen in emergency departments for injuries related to biking than any other sport.  Studies suggest that an estimated 75% of fatal head injuries among child bicyclists could have been prevented by bicycle helmets. 

The Key Biscayne Police Department wants to make sure your child does not become one of these statistics. We routinely see children riding bicycles either without helmets, or with a helmet hanging from their bike’s handlebars.  These children may be issued a verbal or written warning by an officer for not wearing a helmet.  If a child has been repeatedly warned and still rees to wear his/her helmet, a citation may be written.

The Key Biscayne Police Department offers these tips to keep both bicyclists and drivers safe:

  1. Bicycles ridden on the streets and in bike lanes are considered vehicles.  Bicyclists have the same rights to the roadways, and must obey the same traffic laws, as the operators of other vehicles.  The laws include:

    • Stopping for stop signs and red lights
    • Riding with the flow of traffic
    • Using lights at night, and
    • Yielding the right-of-way when entering a roadway
  2. Drivers passing bicyclists must leave a minimum of 3 feet between their vehicle and the bicyclist.

  3. Riding in single file is required except on bike paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles, or when two people riding side-by-side within one lane will not impede traffic flow.  Bicyclists who are not traveling the same speed as other traffic must ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.

  4. Bicycles operated between sunset and sunrise must be equipped with a lamp on the front, exhibiting a white light visible from 500 feet to the front, and both a red reflector and a lamp on the rear, exhibiting a red light visible from 600 feet to the rear.

  5. Florida law requires that bicyclists and/or passengers under the age of 16 must wear a bicycle helmet that is properly fitted and is fastened securely upon the head by a strap, and that meets the standards of the American National Standards Institute, or the Snell Memorial Foundation.  The term “passenger” includes a child who is riding in a trailer or semi-trailer attached to a bicycle.  The single most effective safety device available to reduce head injury and death from bicycle crashes is a helmet.

Before the Ride:

  • Helmets on Heads: Establish the simple rule: No helmet, no bike.
  • Wear one yourself; children are more likely to wear helmets when you do too!
  • Allow your child pick out his or her own helmet—they're more likely to wear it.
  • Make the wheels-and-helmet connection early so it’ll become habit as they age.

Take the Helmet Fit Test:

  • Eyes: Position the helmet on your head. Look up. You should see the bottom rim of the helmet.
  • Ears: Make sure the straps form a ‘V’ under ears when buckled. The straps should be snug.
  • Mouth: Open mouth as wide as possible. Does the helmet hug the head? If not, tighten the straps.

In Motion:

  • Ride right: bikes travel with traffic, not against it so ride on the right side of the road.
  • Look back before turning left. If traffic is coming, be patient and let it go first.
  • Be visible to drivers when you and your child ride.
  • Watch out for and avoid uneven surfaces while riding.
  • Bike only on sidewalks and paths until your child reaches about age 10


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