Tis the Season for Bicycle Safety

Michelle Avola
Ex Director of NPC

Do you still have last minute shopping to do? As you ponder the perfect gift for your loved ones this holiday season, consider safety gifts for the cyclist in your family.

A little planning can go a long way when it comes to giving a thoughtful gift. Before you hit the mall or go online to shop for yet another pair of socks or pajamas, save lives with a safety gift.

This year’s Stay-at-Home Order brought people out in record numbers buying bikes or dusting off those in many garages.

Helmets, front and rear bike lights, and reflective clothing did not see record sales to match the bike sales, unfortunately. To help ensure another ride on another day, everyone on a bike needs these items!

HELMET – Every cyclist should wear a helmet to protect their most prized possession, their brain. Even if it’s just a short ride around the neighborhood, loss of focus, a distracted driver, or a dog running out in front of you can cause a crash. Wearing a helmet when your head hits a curb, the pavement, or a vehicle could save your life and prevent a devastating brain injury.

When purchasing a helmet, don’t go cheap. Buy one that is at least $40 to ensure all of the materials meet safety standards and provide better protection. And once a helmet has made impact in a crash, it does not provide adequate protection and needs replacing. They also break down from heat and humidity so replace them at least every five years.

FRONT AND REAR LIGHTS – These lights help cyclists be visible to motorists and other cyclists, and help you see better. By law, every bicycle in use between sunset and sunrise must be equipped with a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and a red light visible from a distance of 600 feet to the rear. They increase visibility during the day too.

BRIGHT OR REFLECTIVE CLOTHING – Drivers only have a few seconds to register whether or not they should avoid an object in their path. Bright or reflective clothing day or night is a must. Neon yellow, green, orange, or pink are popular choices for increasing visibility to motorists and other cyclists.

SUNGLASSES – Wearing sunglasses not only protects eyes from the sun’s UV rays, they keep bugs, wind, and other elements out, and help cyclists remain focused on the road. Not all sunglasses are created equal, be sure to buy your loved one sunglasses that block 100% UV and UVB rays, fit the face well and wrap around their eyes.

SADDLE BAG – A bike bag can be a lifesaver if your loved one has a flat tire or is injured while cycling. These handy bags can be mounted on the bike and allow cyclists to carry a small repair kit, spare tube, tire levers, a patch kit, or even a first aid kit.

CYCLING GLOVES – Wearing gloves can prevent blisters, chafing and other discomforts from friction and road vibration. Gloves also help with grip and can help break a fall with your hands, preventing serious injury to other parts of the body. This gift is sure to come in “handy” for any cyclist!

When you’ve gotten your loved ones safely outfitted for their next ride, how about paying it forward? Consider making a gift to Naples Pathways Coalition. It will help us provide bike lights, helmets, and safety materials for low income commuter cyclists, conduct safety seminars for HOAs and at community events, and further our key project, the Paradise Coast Trail. This will be a 70+ mile trail, separated from the road and exclusively for nonmotorized recreation and transportation.

Visit www.NaplesPathways.org/PCTrail for more information or drop me a note at Michelle@NaplesPathways.org.

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