When you learn how to ride a bike safely, you’re getting your first lessons in driving a car safely. Pennsylvania law treats bicycles the same as motor vehicles —bicyclists are expected to learn the rules of the road and obey the same laws as car drivers.
Following the law helps ensure that bicyclists and drivers are considerate of one another and are always on alert for changes in traffic. Ferguson Township Police Sgt. Ryan Hendrick and his fellow officers teach children how to ride bikes safely, which is the purpose of the annual Ferguson Township Police Bike Rodeo. This year’s event was canceled when rain made for a wet pavement and hazardous conditions for inexperienced riders. The next bike rodeo is scheduled for June 4.
Children and parents who attend the bike rodeo learn the basic rules for bike safety:
• Wear a helmet. That’s the law in Pennsylvania — bicyclists and skateboarders younger than 12 must wear helmets while riding.
• Make sure your helmet and bike are safe. Materials in a helmet start to wear down after two or three years, and if it’s been dropped, it may no longer protect you. The life of a helmet is no more than five years. Inspect your gears and brakes annually. Adjust your seat properly so that your handlebars are the same height as your seat. There should be a slight bend at the knees when you’re pedaling.
• Obey all traffic laws. Obey stop signs and traffic signals. Yield as required.
Make sure you can be seen. When you’re passing parked cars, be aware that they may be pulling out. If you’re riding in an area where a car driver may be waiting to turn on red or at a right-turn signal, that driver may not see you coming if you suddenly appear from behind cars that may be obscuring his view. Wear bright colors — ideally a reflector vest. On your bike, wear reflectors, blinking red lights during the day and a flashlight at night.
• Enjoy our shared-use paths. Our paths are designed to give bicyclists a safe place to ride and commute, while sharing them with walkers and runners. When paths are available, please use them and leave the roadways to the cars.