Drive Safe / Bicycle Safe – For Your Kids’ Sake

family bicycle safetyHow many times have you done it? How many times have you looked at your phone while driving? How many times have you looked for what only seems a second only to find out you have drifted into another lane or even oncoming traffic and had to swerve back into your lane? More than once I bet. We all have. Now, how many times have you seen that person ahead of you on the road swerve and you are sure they are texting while driving, and you find out you are right. More than once I bet. The fact of that matter is that with the growing number of visual devices in your vehicle, such as the navigation screen, the apps on cell phones and tablets and all these things that supposedly help us to be more productive in our daily lives, drivers today are more distracted than ever. What makes this worse is that we’re often not alone on the road…

While the statistical data for biking is not pleasing – “More children ages 5 to 14 are seen in emergency departments for injuries related to biking than any other sport” – the good news is that the data seems to indicate that overall fatalities among pedestrians and bicyclists is getting lower every year. The 59 pedal/cyclist fatalities in 2011 for the 14-and-younger age group represent a decrease of 58 percent from the 141 killed in 2002, with the 8- to 14-year-old age group showing the largest percentage decrease (65%). I can tell you however that even though responding to calls involving cars, pedestrians and bicyclists getting hit is less common than it used to be, when it does happen it’s a very bad scene and is commonly caused by the driver being distracted by something in the vehicle.

You have heard all the ads and seen the billboards and commercials about not texting while driving and I hope that you have made the decision not to text and drive and should you be one of the unlucky ones to receive a ticket for texting while driving, better a ticket than an accident.

Having said that drivers are more distracted than ever and at the same time having the desire to get ourselves and our families outside on our bikes, we have a responsibility to ourselves and our families to take precautions both before and while heading out for a bike ride. I am a real proponent of preparation and prepping everyone’s gear is a must. It does not matter when you ride. Bright colors are bright and should be worn no matter the time of day. Helmets are always essential and I can remember many times they have saved a biker from serious injury. Reflectors/LED’s/head and tail lights, you name it, and they all help. Knowing the area and route that will be taken can save time and injuries. Will there be cars nearby?, Will we be crossing streets?, Will there be rough terrain, Who will ride in front and in back of the group and what will they say to alert everyone?. The list can go on forever…

The point is to think ahead and prepare for the fact that drivers are more distracted than ever and keep everyone as safe as possible while enjoying a great ride.

Be Safe.


About the Author

Greg Atwood is a Firefighter /Paramedic in Coral Gables Florida and works for the Coral Gables Fire Rescue. He is an American Heart Association certified instructor in BLS ( Basic Life Support ), ACLS ( Advanced Cardiopulmonary Life Support ), and PALS ( Pediatric Advanced Life Support ). Greg currently lives in Miami Florida with his beautiful wife Alexa and their 2 sons, Connor and Jake. Greg is a former member of the PedSafe Expert team


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