Last summer, the parents of six-year-old Danny Curran's worst nightmare came true when he died in Pullman after a tragic bike crash. They later discovered that his handlebars were what killed him.
They were left exposed, and the bare metal launched into his abdomen. This is just one example of the many things that can easily be overlooked when checking your child's bike. Scott Brewer from Trek Bicycle in Kennewick said there are several things to keep in mind when breaking out the bikes for summer:
- Replace your helmet every five years, even if you've never been hit.
- If you have been hit, replace your helmet as soon as possible. Even if you don't notice it, the impact will compress the protective foam, making it less effective.
- Make sure the helmet fits right. It should stay in place without being constrictive.
- Make sure all bolts are screwed on tight.
- Check the air tire pressure.
- Inspect the chain and make sure it runs smoothly.
- Kids may also find a pair of gloves helpful so they don't scrape or cut their hands when they fall.
Safety applies to adults too. Brewer experienced the consequences of safety being overlooked firsthand after getting hit by a reckless driver.
"He came up in my side, he was speeding, and I just head on into him. Fortunately, when I was flying forward, I hit my leg on the handle bar and it snapped my femur but it stopped me from going into the windshield," he said.
Bikers should also be aware of their surroundings. Brewer said people may not know this, but they are supposed to bike in the direction of traffic flow, not against it, despite the misconception that people think they can see oncoming cars better if they go the opposite way.
It's also important to stay visible, even during the day. It's better to wear bright colors on your legs since they are doing all the moving, he said.