Skip to main content

Military Health System

Important Notice about Pharmacy Operations

Change Healthcare Cyberattack Impact on MHS Pharmacy Operations. Read the statement to learn more. 

Out for a Bike Ride? Remember These Safety Tips

Image of A safety officer overlooks bike riders on a street. Bike safety includes knowing and following traffic and other laws in your community. In the photo, Joe Umemura, a safety inspector for Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka, spreads awareness about bicycle safety, crosswalk safety, and general street safety. (Photo: U.S. Navy Tech Sgt. Garret Cole)

Since the invention of the first bike in the 1800s, bike riding has become a popular form of transportation, enjoyment, and physical activity.

Yet it can also be a dangerous one.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly 1,000 bicyclists die every year, and more than 130,000 are injured in bike crashes across the United States.

According to the CDC, this implies a heavy cost—exceeding $23 billion annually—in health care, lost work, loss of quality of life, and lost lives.

To make your bike riding experience fun and safe, remember to “learn and know the laws in your community, and follow them,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Taylor Boeckel, occupational safety manager at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, located close to Honolulu, Hawaii.

“Wearing personal protective gear is always important, from a new rider to the most experienced of riders,” she added. “Make sure you know how to obey traffic laws and lights.”

Protective equipment is also mandatory at all military installations, which have programs that specifically address bike safety.

These include regulations common to all services and apply whether on or off a military installation, such as requiring service members and families to always wear Consumer Product Safety Commission-approved bike helmets, reflective upper outer garments, and equipping bicycles with operable head and taillights during hours of reduced visibility, among others.

Boeckel highlighted that protection and complying with traffic laws is especially important for children on bikes.

“Not all of them know or understand the traffic laws, so it’s important for the parents [or caretakers] to teach them,” she said.

She had safety advice for seasoned riders, too:

“Don’t get complacent with laws once you get comfortable with your routine,” she said. “For riders who ride the same path every day, it may be easy to become very comfortable with that route and start cutting corners such as not stopping when necessary.”

Ensuring your bike is always in top shape is also important year-round, she said.

“Tires wear even while in storage,” so it’s important to make sure they are in optimal riding condition.

“Do a bike check prior to each ride, just as you would your vehicle,” she said. “Check your tires and brakes for operation.”

Tips to Remember

Here are the top five tips Boeckel recommends all riders should always keep in mind:

  • Stay vigilant.
  • Don’t allow yourself to become distracted while riding.
  • Stay highly visible both at night and during the day.
  • Obey all traffic laws.
  • Always wear your personal protective equipment, such as a helmet and closed shoes for better control of the pedals.

Like driving a car, riding your bike requires relying on your senses to keep you alert and aware. This means not engaging in distracting activities or wearing earphones or other listening devices while you’re on your bike, according to the U.S. Army’s Safety Program.

It also means not consuming substances that may alter your state, such as drinking. According to CDC, about one-third of crashes that result in a bicyclist’s death involve alcohol for the motor vehicle driver and/or bicyclist.

Additional safety recommendations include:

  • Watch the road for traffic and pedestrians.
  • Always make yourself visible to others. 
  • Listen for other vehicles and people. 
  • Stay in your lane.
  • Always hold on to both handlebars for better balance and control, especially in case you need to break suddenly.

Yet it's not only bike riders that must be on the lookout, explained Boeckel. Vehicle drivers must always be on the lookout for bicycles as well. 

And while some cities may have well defined bike lanes, many others don’t.

“Especially with school back in session, we see a lot more bicycles on the roads” added Boeckel. “Always be a defensive driver, meaning be on the lookout for the other guy.”

Most importantly, Boeckel recommends children and minors never ride without supervision. “Teaching children how to be safe and supervising them” as they’re on their bikes, is key to building early awareness.

For more information on how to be safe on your bike, talk to your installation’s safety management team.

[Read: Joint Base San Antonio’s recommendations for bicycle safety and the U.S. Air Force Safety Center’s bike safety guidelines.]

You also may be interested in...

Article
Jan 20, 2021

Ask the Doc: Working out in a Winter Wonderland

A Soldier assigned to 10th Combat Aviation Brigade spends part of his lunch break getting a quick workout on the ice. So far, 2021 has seen the type of North Country winter weather that is making the Fort Drum ice rink a hot spot for outdoor recreation. Since the rink opened on Jan. 25, it has seen more activity in the first 10 days than all of last season with nearly 800 skaters in attendance. (Photo by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)

Dear Doc: Although my gym has opened back up, I’m still a little hesitant to return because of the recent spikes in COVID cases in my area. I’ve been getting creative with my home workouts, and I’d really like to be outside more, but it’s so cold! I want to bundle up, but I don’t want to overdo it and get overheated. Do you have any recommendations ...

Fact Sheet
Aug 6, 2020

Head Check: Know Your Helmet, Winter Sports

.PDF | 489.30 KB

A Head for the Future aims to raise awareness about TBI among service members, veterans and their families. This fact sheet provides tips for choosing the right helmet for the right sport, with information about different safety features in helmets for skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling.

Photo
Sep 29, 2016

Sunrise Yoga Class

Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Tara Paradiso participates in a sunrise yoga class on the flight deck aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. If you’re thinking of adding exercise to your pain management plan, consider the following types: aerobic, strength, and flexibility. But make sure your exercise program is specifically tailored to your needs. Some exercises might be easier or more difficult to complete depending upon the type and location of your pain. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Chris Liaghat)

Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Tara Paradiso participates in a sunrise yoga class on the flight deck aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. If you’re thinking of adding exercise to your pain management plan, consider the following types: aerobic, strength, and flexibility. But make sure your exercise program is specifically tailored to your ...

Last Updated: July 11, 2023
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on X Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery