FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Summertime means more of us are spending time outdoors but while you’re enjoying your time in the sun, you need to take steps to prevent serious injuries.
Northwest Arkansas is full of trails and parks to explore. Whether you’re riding a bike, rollerblading or skateboarding wearing a helmet will drastically reduce your chances of having a serious head injury.
Nearly 850 bicyclists were killed in traffic accidents in 2019, according to the National highway traffic safety administration. In 2017, over 98,000 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms after being injured while skateboarding National Safety Council.
If you fall or crash, the helmet will absorb the impact rather than your head or brain. That’s why you want to wear one every time you’re riding or participating in a contact sport.
Northwest Health, Trauma Program Coordinator & Injury Prevention Coordinator, Brendi Gale says it important to find a helmet that is the right size and fits properly.
She says to remember the two-two-two rule.
“You want to make sure the helmet is two finger-widths above your eyebrows, you want to make sure the strap makes a V on either side of the ear. You also want to make sure that the strap under your chin is not any looser than two fingers can fit,” said Gale.
If there is an incident where someone falls and hits their head, evaluate them. If they are not responding to you, not breathing properly, or appear confused call for help.
Make sure that you are in a safe space, if the incident happened in the middle of the road, then move off the road to prevent another collision.
If you’re the one hurt and feel okay, make sure to monitor your symptoms. If you are getting persistent headaches, experiencing confusion or feeling more fatigue than usual you may have a concussion. You’ll want to see a doctor.
Now that you have the right gear, your helmet is the right fit, your bike is the right size with good working brakes you’re almost ready to go. It’s important to educate yourself about the rules of the road.
Fayetteville Parks and Recreation, Parks Planner, Zach Foster tells us when developing these trails and parks safety is a top priority. Making sure bicyclists and people walking can safely do so in the area, visibility, lighting at night, bike lanes and more.
Foster says when out on your wheels, stay alert, be aware of the traffic around you and obey all of the signs and traffic laws. When hitting the trails, look out for people on foot.
“Be aware of your surroundings and take friends. There is strength in numbers, of course. Be aware when it starts to get dark, and those lights are getting dimmer. Be aware of where your car is parked and where you need to go,” said Foster.
If you are going out by yourself let someone know where you are going, how long you estimate to be out
Parks and Rec do also offer bike riding safety classes that break down signaling, crossing the street, sharing lanes, and the importance of wearing helmets.