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PennDOT Urges Bicycle Safety

Parents and Caregivers Reminded of PA’s Bicycle Helmet Law The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) reminds parents and caregivers that Pennsylvania’s Bicycle Helmet Law states anyone under the age of 12 must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. This applies to anyone operating the bicycle, riding as a passenger, or riding in an attached

Parents and Caregivers Reminded of PA’s Bicycle Helmet Law

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) reminds parents and caregivers that Pennsylvania’s Bicycle Helmet Law states anyone under the age of 12 must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. This applies to anyone operating the bicycle, riding as a passenger, or riding in an attached restraining seat or trailer.

PennDOT strongly recommends that all bicyclists, regardless of age, wear helmets whenever they ride.

“With many day cares being closed across the nation due to COVID-19, many people are watching children for their friends, neighbors, and family that normally do not so that the parents can continue to work. And with the weather turning fair, many children are expected to ride their bikes more. Social distancing can be maintained while riding bikes, and other than the initial cost of purchasing a bicycle, it is a free activity. Unfortunately, conflicts between bicyclists and motorists can be tragic. So, it is especially important for those finding themselves watching children for others that they also become familiar with bicycle helmet laws and enforce them with children who are under their care,” advises Alan Keller, P.E., PennDOT District 3 traffic engineer.

Bicycle helmets should fit low and level on the head, one or two finger-widths above the eyebrows. The straps should be adjusted so that the helmet cannot move from side to side or back and forth. The side straps should form a V below the ears and the chin strap should be buckled snugly, allowing just one or two fingers to fit under the strap.

Bicycle helmets should be replaced about every three years, following a bicycle crash, at visible signs of damage or when a child outgrows their current helmet.

According to PennDOT data, statewide bicycle crashes resulted in 102 suspected serious injuries and 16 fatalities last year alone. Outside magazine reports that a bicyclist or pedestrian’s chances of dying increase by 50 percent if they are hit by an SUV or a truck instead of a sedan.

PennDOT offers the following safety tips for bicyclists of all ages:

Wear light-colored, reflective clothing so you can be seen;
Consider wearing an approved helmet and other protective gear;
Ride on the right side of the road;
Signal your intentions in advance; and
Consider attending training to obtain the skills necessary to ride safely on the road.

Additionally, motorists are encouraged to be on the lookout for bicyclists and slow down and drive with caution near bicyclists. Pennsylvania law requires drivers to give bicyclists four feet of space when passing them at a reduced speed.

For more information about bicycle laws and safety, visit http://www.penndot.gov/safety or call 877-723-6830.

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