I didn’t learn to ride a bike until I was in my early teens. My uncle fixed up an old 24-inch with balloon tires and gave it to me for my eighth birthday. It had training wheels on it. He offered to teach me how to ride it, but it sat in the garage until he finally gave it away.
I finally learned how to ride a bike when I was thirteen. I borrowed the deaf and dumb kid’s bike who lived across the street, took it back in the alley, and learned to ride away from prying eyes.
Then I couldn’t ride enough. My parents bought me a stainless steel banana bike for twenty five bucks. It had been used by Floyd McDonald, a local legend, because he could do wheelies longer than anyone else in the neighborhood.
We weren’t too safety conscious back then. Wearing a helmet was unheard of. And unless you were Floyd, trying to pop a wheelie could get you some serious road rash or worse. Another thing that we did was totally crazy.
We lived in a neighborhood that bordered the housing projects. The kids who lived there were were very poor and couldn’t afford bikes. We would sometimes ride our bikes through there and they would chase us with sticks and baseball bats, trying to knock us off our bikes so they could take them. One time they almost got me when my bike hit a patch of gravel and I fell. But I managed to get back on my bike and get away.
Nowadays, everyone is much more safety conscious. Helmets are the order of the day and a lot of adults and children ride their bikes on the street in traffic. According to adventuresportsonline.com:
“Anyone Can Get Hurt ….. It’s easy to crash on a bicycle. Each year, more than half a million bicyclists visit the hospital when they do just that. (Estimates are that more than one million bicyclists seek treatment in their physician’s office.) These injuries can happen anytime, anywhere.”
If you think that you are safe because you just pedal around the neighborhood, then you’re wrong. Most serious accidents that occur on bicycles occur on residential streets.
Each year some 70,000 bike riders suffer serious head injuries. Sometimes these injuries can leave permanent damage or can even be fatal. That’s why it’s so important to wear your helmet when you ride your bike.
Here are a few other tips to help you be safe when riding your bicycle:
Be sure to wear your helmet-no exceptions.
Always ride with the traffic near the right edge of the road. Give the cars plenty of room to pass you.
Never carry another person with you on your bike. There are approved baby carriers, but be careful if you use them. I myself would never take a baby on a bike with me. The chances of injury are just too many.
Use hand signals when turning or purchase the battery operated ones.
Always be safe and have a good time!