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The City of Portland, Oregon

Fire & Rescue

Always Ready, Always There

Phone: 503-823-3700

Fax: 503-823-3710

55 SW Ash Street, Portland, OR 97204

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Bike & Pedestrian Safety

Bike and Pedestrian Safety
Cross the Street with a Grown Up
Young children often believe that if they can see a driver, a driver can see them.  Children under the age of eight have difficulty judging how quickly traffic is moving, and they may think that cars can stop instantly.  Children this age don’t always recognize danger or react to it appropriately.

Children learn bike and pedestrian safety by watching and doing.  Grown-ups and older children should act as role models and set a positive example by practicing safe habits.

At this age, children should be supervised at all times, and they should only cross the street with a grown-up, and whenever possible, at an intersection.  They should also hold hands with a grown-up while walking in a parking lot.

To safely cross a street, children should hold a grown-up’s hand and follow these steps:
1.  Stop at the curb or edge of the road.  Never run into a street.
2.  Listen and look for traffic to the left, to the right, and to the left again.
3.  Wait until the street is clear.  Keep looking left and right until you have crossed the street safely.

Learn and Practice Bike Safety Rules
Always wear an approved bicycle helmet.  Have a grown-up look inside the helmet for a sticker indicating that the helmet has been certified and labeled by an independent testing laboratory.
Ride on sidewalks or paths while under the constant supervision of a grown-up.
When entering a sidewalk, path, or driveway, make a complete stop, look left, right, and then back to the left. 
When crossing the street with a grown-up, walk, don’t ride your bicycle.
Children should never ride their bicycles at night.
Wear a Helmet Every Time You Ride. 

Bicycle helmets have been shown to reduce the risk of head and brain injury.  Unfortunately, only 15 percent of children ages 14 and under use bicycle helmets.  Many communities are enacting laws to require bicycle helmets for young riders.  Check with your local police department for the status of bicycle helmet laws in your area.

A bicycle helmet should be worn every time you ride.  This applies to everyone.  Grown-ups should set a good example for children by always wearing a bicycle helmet when riding.  A helmet needs to be worn correctly.  It should fit comfortably and snugly, but not too tightly.  It should sit on top of your head in a level position, and it should not rock forward and backward or from side to side.  The helmet straps must always be buckled.  If you are wearing your bicycle helmet properly, you should not be able to fit the palm of your hand between the helmet and your forehead.

When you use in-line skates or skateboards, you should always wear a helmet, elbow and knee pads, and wrist guards.

See and Be Seen
Streets and driveways are designed for vehicles.  Many times, drivers may not be on the lookout for children in their path. There have been cases in which children playing in a driveway have been run over by a vehicle pulling in or out of it.  Be safe – stay on sidewalks or paths and play in a yard or playground.  Always be on the lookout for moving vehicles.  

Wear brightly colored or retroreflective clothing when riding your bicycle.  Clothing can be trimmed with materials that reflect light.  Retroreflective tape is an excellent choice and is available at fabric, sporting goods, and hardware stores.
Pedestrians should always walk on the sidewalk.  If there are no sidewalks, keep to the left and walk facing traffic with a grown-up.

Know the Facts  

Bicycles are associated with more childhood injuries than any other consumer product other than the automobile.  Each year, approximately 300 children ages 14 and under are killed in bicycle related incidents, and 400,000 more are injured.  Ninety percent of bicycle related deaths are the result of collisions with motor vehicles.  Approximately 1,000 children are killed each year in pedestrian-related incidents.  S
ource: National SAFE KIDS Campaign

Head injuries are the most serious injury type and are the most common cause of death among bicyclists.  The most severe injuries are those to the brain that cause permanent damage.  Studies have proven that bicycle helmet use can significantly reduce head injuries. 
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration