Bicycle Safety

Bicycle Safety Facts

  • State of Hawaii Law:    passed in the 2000 Legislative Session, all youth aged 15 years and younger are required to wear bicycle helmets while riding a bicycle. Citation is a fee of $25.
  • Ninety-eight percent of bicyclists killed reportedly weren’t wearing helmets
    (Fatality Analysis Reporting System, U.S. DOT 1998)
  • Head injury is the leading cause of death in bicycle crashes and is the most important determinant of bicycle-related death and permanent disability.
  • The single most effective safety device available to reduce head injury and death from bicycle crashes is a helmet.

BIKE and HELMET Frequently Asked Questions:

What I should look for in a bike helmet?

  • Make sure that the bike helmet meets or exceeds safety standards. Look for an ASTM, Snell, ANSI or CPSC certification sticker inside the helmet and on the box.
  • The helmet should sit on the top of your child’s head in a level position, cover his/her forehead, and not rock forward and back or from side to side. Bring your child to the store to try on helmets before you purchase one. Ensure that your children always ride with their helmet straps buckled.

What kind of helmet should my child wear when using a skateboard, scooter or inline skates?

  • It is essential that your child wear a helmet. While we recommend a multi-sport helmet for these “wheeled” activities, a properly-fitted bicycle helmet is just as effective.

Bicycle Safety Tips

  • The single most effective safety device available to reduce head injury and death from bicycle crashes is a helmet.
  • Practice your bike handling skills in a parking lot until you are comfortable before riding your bike in traffic.
  • You should be able to stop and start while maintaining a straight line as will be required when you are signaling, shifting, or drinking water. You must be able to look over your shoulder, as you are constantly required to do in traffic, and still be able to ride a straight line.
  • Use appropriate hand signals, and stop at all stop signs and red lights.
  • Ride with the flow of traffic – never ride against it.
  • Always be alert for other vehicles and pedestrians who are going to cross your line of travel, especially at intersections.
  • Ride just to the right of the flow of traffic, but stay out of the gutter and the litter along the side of the road.
  • If the lane is too narrow for you to safely share with a motor vehicle, it is written within the vehicle code that you may take the middle of the lane so that cars will not attempt to pass you.
  • Be aware of opening car doors – always check parked cars for passengers about to exit.
  • Just like other road users, bicyclists are required to make any turns from the most appropriate lane, i.e. left turns from the left lane. Be sure traffic is clear in each lane before merging over to make a turn.
  • If traffic is heavy and you must turn left, don’t hesitate to get off your bicycle and walk the bicycle across both streets at the crosswalks.
  • Keep a safe distance from vehicles ahead of you, including other bicycles.
  • Always be visible. During the day, cyclists should wear bright clothing-yellow and orange are best for road riding. During the night, wear retro-reflective clothing that’s designed to bounce back motorists’ headlight beams, making you more visible.
  • Wear a brightly colored helmet – white, yellow, orange, or red – makes the rider more visible.
  • Maintain your bicycle – a well maintained bike is a safer bike. Tires should be properly inflated, cables tight and unfrayed, and the chain well-oiled. If you are unsure about the maintenance, take your bike into a local shop.
  • Make sure the bike is the correct size. When standing over the bicycle, there should be at least one-inch clearance.
  • Never wear headphones while riding, as they prevent you from receiving information crucial to your safety.
  • Always wear a helmet. Make sure the helmet straps are adjusted correctly. A bike helmet should fit comfortably and snugly, but not too tightly. It should fit on the head in a level position. Insert the extra pads provided so that the helmet is not able to rock forward and back or from side to side.
  • Children under the age of 10 years should not ride their bikes in the street without being accompanied by an adult.

Bicycle Safety Link:

Hawaii Bicycling League