The Upper Midwest, once famous for infinite access to great fishing, hunting and canoeing, now also boasts some of the best biking in the country. According to the League of American Bicyclists, Minnesota ranks as the second most bicycle-friendly state in the nation, with Wisconsin in sixth place. The ranking is based on several categories, including legislation, enforcement, infrastructure and state funding.
Living in a bike-friendly area is good for our physical and environmental health, but it also raises the risk and incidence of biking accidents and injuries. To help you and your family stay safe while enjoying our states’ bike trails, St. Luke’s Regional Trauma Center offers the following safety tips:
- Always wear a helmet.
- Make sure your helmet fits properly and snugly.
- Don’t wear headphones or earbuds while biking.
- Adjust your bike seat and handlebars to fit your body.
- Check that your tires are properly inflated and that your brakes work.
- Wear neon or bright-colored clothing, reflective tape or flashing lights even in daylight.
- Always have at least one hand on the handlebars.
- Carry books, laptops and other items in a pannier, basket or backpack.
- Watch for potholes, broken glass, gravel, puddles, leaves, dogs and other road hazards.
- Obey all traffic laws, including stopping at red lights and stop signs, signaling turns and following the direction of traffic.
- Give pedestrians the right-of-way.
- Ride in a straight line, not in and out of cars.
- Watch for parked cars and vehicles coming into or out of driveways.
And finally, because actions speak louder than words, it’s important that parents and older siblings set a good example for younger bicyclists.