Farmington Police were leading kids through the highlights of bicycle safety Saturday as well as through an obstacle course set up at Winding Trails. The event, which also offered Amber Alert registration, fire safety education and fun inflatables, was the annual Public Safety Day.
Event organizer Officer Troy Williams explained "most kids get hurt in bicycle accidents because they don't understand the rules of the road and aren't seen by drivers. Parents can help by bringing the child to a parking lot to learn to ride first and make sure they are prepared to react to the unexpected, to always look around and to wear bright clothing."
There are other hazards to a child's safety when riding a bike. "It's funny how many people need adjustments to their bikes when they get here," said Officer Eric Augustyn. Augustyn and Officer Ed Moehringer checked out children's bicycles and Berlin Bike did tune-ups and inspections.
For those that missed the officers' presentations, we'll review their safety tips, which fall into two categories - personal safety and equipment safety. Personal safety involves making sure you are properly outfitted to ride:
- A good helmet is most important. The straps should be snug and it should fit on top of your head like a baseball helmet - not too far back.
- A helmet is only good for one crack. Replace your helmet after any fall or visible damage.
- Always wear closed-toe shoes while bike riding. The officers said many children are injured while riding without shoes or by wearing sandals.
- Never ride while wearing an iPod or mp3 player. You must be able to hear things around you like dogs, cars and other people.
For equipment safety, remember your ABCs:
- A is for air pressure. Make sure your tires have adequate air.
- B is for brakes. Make sure they work.
- C is for crank and chain. Check to make sure they're tight and working propertly.
To be extra safe, the officers recommended wearing eye protection, especially when riding in the woods, and gloves to protect your hands in case of a fall. Augustyn also reminded parents and children that state law requires children under 14 to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle.