By Sen. Wayne Schmidt
37th Senate District
While the official start of summer is still a month away, for children across the state school is out in a few weeks, and their summer is right around the corner.
While this is a welcome relief both to kids and to their parents, it also means that instead of being in school buildings, children now will be out in our communities, in playgrounds, and on streets.
And that means there is an increased risk of accidents on the road and an increased need for precaution.
If you are a parent of children who will be hopping on their bikes this summer, your first priority is to make sure your kids are wearing a helmet. Make sure the helmet is in good condition and that it fits properly. For more information, visit the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute (BHSI) Web site at www.bhsi.org.
In addition to correct helmet size, bicyclists also should make sure they are riding bikes that fit them. If their bikes are too big, they will be difficult to control.
Riders should focus on safe riding and obey all the rules of the road. If sidewalk riding is legal in your area, be sure you yield to pedestrians.
When driving your car this summer, remember that there will be an increased number of children on the road with their bikes, and take the appropriate precautions.
Just as you yield to other drivers, yield to bicyclists as necessary. Make sure you properly gauge their speed.
Obey the speed limit, and reduce your speed to match road conditions. Drive defensively especially around cyclists to avoid a crash.
Give bicyclists plenty of room, and do not pass them too closely. When you do pass bicyclists, do so as you would any other vehicle, when it’s safe to move over into an adjacent lane.
For more information on bicycle safety on the road, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website at www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/bicyclists. For additional information on Michigan bicycle laws, visit the League of Michigan Bicyclists website at www.lmb.org.
By following these simple guidelines, you can help ensure that the road will be safe both for drivers and bicyclists this summer.
Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, represents the 37th state Senate District, which includes Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Chippewa, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Luce and Mackinac counties.