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Don’t spin wheels when it comes to bicycle safety

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- How many of us ride bicycles? We usually start this activity early in life and if we learn good habits early, they will stay with us the rest of our lives. However, it is never too late to learn to be safe. Below are some tips on protective equipment for you, necessary equipment for your bike and safe riding tips to incorporate in your daily or weekly ride.

Protective gear
Helmets for bicycles are approved by the American National Standards Institute, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Snell Memorial Foundation, and are singularly the best piece of safety equipment you can wear. Ensure you adjust the fit to your head and always fasten the chin strap. The helmet does you no good if it flies off as you begin your fall to the ground.

Equipment
Depending on the type of bicycling you do, the rest of the gear you wear varies. "Roadies" use aerodynamic helmets; slick, lightweight clothes; clip-on shoes and small water-packs. Cross-country riders use standard style helmets, larger water-packs, long sleeved shirts (to protect them from tree branches) and sturdier clip-on type shoes. Down-hillers use chest protectors; moto-cross style Department of Transportation approved helmets, knee and elbow pads and hiking boots to ensure good traction on the heavy cleat-pedals.

Bike accessories
Regardless of the style of riding you do, if you use your bicycle on the road, there is certain equipment all bicycles should have. That equipment includes reflectors on the wheels and pedals as well as on the seat post and front handlebar stem. If the bicycle is used during periods of reduced visibility, it must have bicycle headlamps, rear lights and or rear reflectors. All of these reflectors and lights help the other guy see you and may keep you from being hit in traffic.

Rules of the road for bike riding
· Never wear headphones while biking -- you need to hear everything going on around you when you ride

· Stop at all stop signs and obey traffic lights just as cars do.

· Yield to pedestrians, stop at red lights, and be especially careful at intersections.

· Always ride in the same direction as cars do. Never ride against traffic.

· Try to use bike lanes or designated bike routes whenever you can

· Stop and check for traffic in both directions when leaving a driveway, alley or a curb.

· Watch traffic closely for turning cars or cars leaving driveways.

· Don't ride too close to parked cars -- doors can open suddenly.

· When riding in a group, always ride single file on the street.

· When passing other bikers or people on the street, always pass to their left and call out "On your left!" so they'll watch for you.

· Never change directions or lanes without first looking behind you

Bicycling is fun and adventurous, but can also be dangerous. Remember the right of weight rule: if it is bigger than you are, give it the right of way and always wear your gear.