Health eTips

Headline Banner

Health eTips is produced by the staff of the St. Charles County Department of Public Health. The department consists of three divisions - Environmental Health and Protection, Health Services and Humane Services - that provide a wide range of services focused on enhancing the well-being of this community.

If you have questions about the Department of Public Health or have suggestions on public health topics you'd like to see explored in this blog, please email us.

View All Posts

Jul 10

Bicycle Safety

Posted on July 10, 2018 at 4:18 PM by Doug Bolnick


Bicycling through neighborhoods and along St. Charles County’s extensive trail systems offers spectacular summer fun. While the activity offers a great way to stay in shape and enjoy the community, cyclists must take precaution against and woman riding bikes

Americans of all ages ride bicycles every day, but accidents do happen. In 2015, nearly 500,000 bicycle injuries occurred, and a number of those were head injuries. Cyclists — both children and adults — who wear proper helmets reduce their risk of serious head or brain injury by about 60 percent.

Good protection and properly maintained equipment help ensure a safe ride.

Make the Helmet a Good Fit

To be effective, a helmet must be a good fit for the cyclist. Here are a few suggestions:
  • Measure the head to determine the right size by using a tape measure to track a level line that stays just above the eyebrows and ears (about one to two fingers of space).
  • Adjust the straps to fit snugly around the head. There should be no space between the foam and the head.
  • Change the size of the fit if a hairstyle changes. Do not wear a hat under a helmet.
  • Make sure the side straps fit snugly, making a “V” shape around the ears.
  • Adjust the chin straps to fit snugly, allowing no more than one or two fingers of space between the strap and chin.

Maintain the Ride

In addition to a secure helmet, bike safety relies upon good conditions. Along with semi-annual bicycle checkups, routinely inspect the equipment for damage or maintenance issues, such as:
  • Making sure the bike fits the rider. Stand straddling the top bar, with both feet on the ground. There should be at least three inches of space between the rider and the bar. Check to ensure that the handlebars, seat and pedals are at a comfortable size as well.
  • Checking the tire pressure and that wheel pieces are tightly connected. Look at the chain system to make sure it works properly and is oiled sufficiently.
  • Checking brake pads and the braking system for proper working order.
  • Reviewing clothing to make sure nothing can become entangled in the bicycle or chain. Tie shoelaces, stick loose pantlegs inside socks, and secure straps. Wear shoes when bicycling.
man and woman biking outside

Follow the Rules of the Road

A good rider knows and obeys traffic laws. Cyclists must follow local rules for motorists. Here are a few other laws and etiquette tips to consider:
  • Ride single-file, in the direction of the traffic — using bicycle lanes or sidewalks, where allowed. Be aware of other cyclists, vehicles, pedestrians and additional hazards.
  • Use proper hand signals when turning or stopping. Use caution when near intersections or around traffic.
  • Wear bright clothing that allows for comfortable movement and clear vision. If riding at night, wear reflective clothing and use bicycle lights.
  • Know personal abilities and the capability of the bicycle.

For additional Health eTips throughout the year, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter.