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Bicycle safety begins with wearing a helmet

If you want to stay safe on a bike, it all starts with wearing a brain bucket.

"I've heard a lot of horror stories," says Aaron Dittus, manager of the Moorhead Scheels bike shop. "If they come in (to an emergency room) for a bike accident,99 percent of the time it's because they weren't wearing a helmet."

Helmet care is important, too. Helmets need to be replaced after accidents, in case hairline fractures are missed. They also need to be replaced every five years because sun and the chemicals in sweat break down the shock-absorbing materials.

Other safety tips include:

- Know the rules of the road.


- Ride defensively. Drivers sometimes fail to see bikes.

- All bikes need reflectors, especially for night riding. For children, bells and horns are also good for preventing mishaps, and streamers are another visual cue.

- Check brakes every time you ride. Tighten bolts on handlebars. If you don't know how to maintain your bike, take it to an expert regularly.

- Stay hydrated. It's easy to bike farther than planned. A bottle of water can prevent dehydration or heat stroke.

- Use "Ankle Biters" or pants clips to keep pants legs out of the chain.

- Buy the right size bike. Buying too large a bike for children may make it impossible for them to brake properly. Also, the right size frame helps ensure a more comfortable ride and reduces stress on your body.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583

Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at hschmidt@forumcomm.com, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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