Walking and bicycling are among the most important activities for both living a healthy lifestyle and engaging in environmentally friendly practices. During the summer, when the weather gets warm, there is often a sharp increase in the amount of people walking and bicycling throughout New Jersey. With this in mind, it is important that we refresh our memory on crucial safety tips that can help to reduce injury and lead to a safer summer for everyone!

When walking, pedestrians should:

  1. Always use sidewalks when available.  If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic so you can make eye contact with drivers.
  2. Always cross the street at a crosswalk if one is near. If not, cross at a corner, not in the middle of the block.
  3. Look left, right, left! Look for cars coming from the left, from the right, and from the left again to make sure the street is clear before you cross. Walk, don’t run across streets!

For bicyclists, keep these points in mind for your next ride:

  1. Obey the rules of the road. Always ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, and be sure to always stop at red lights and stop signs.
  2. Always wear a properly-fitted helmet to help prevent head injury in the event of a crash.  If your helmet moves when you shake your head up and down and left and right, then it needs to be tightened.
  3. Make sure your bike is in good working order by doing an “ABC Quick Check.” Check the Air in your tires, make sure your Brakes work properly and stop your bike, make sure your Cranks aren’t loose and that your Chain is in good condition, make sure all quick releases are closed, and do an overall check by taking a slow brief ride to ensure everything is working properly.

To help keep everyone safe, drivers of motor vehicles should:

  1. Avoid distraction and pay attention. Do not talk or text on a cell phone, stay alert, and keep your focus on the roadway.
  2. Always stop and stay stopped for pedestrians at marked crosswalks.
  3. Slow down! Obeying speed limits and driving just 5 to 10 miles per hour slower can save lives.
  4. Only pass bicyclists when it is safe and be sure to give plenty of room, at least 4-5 feet.

General summer safety tips

Stay hydrated: Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent dehydration. With high temperatures during the summer months, it is easy for your body to lose too much fluid through sweat and strenuous exercise (Mayo Clinic).

Apply sunscreen: Frequent application of sunscreen will stop harmful UV rays from the sun that will damage your skin. While sunburns may be temporary, the long term implications of receiving them lead to an increased risk of skin cancer and other dermatological diseases (AAD).

Take breaks: Rest in shady spots in order to lower your body temperature and prevent heatstroke. Heat Strokes can occur once your core body temperature reaches 104 degrees (Mayo Clinic).

Have a safe and fun summer!