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Army regulation states helmets must be worn when riding bicycles on installations

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Bicycles are beneficial to health. They can also be dangerous.

A big part of the bicycle riding population on post, students must follow certain regulations and policies when riding their bicycles on the installation.

In 2015, more than 1,000 bicyclists died and 467,000 bicycle-related injuries occurred in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Because of the frightening statistics, Army Regulation 385-10 states bicycle helmets approved by the Consumer Products Safety Commission will be worn by all personnel, including Family members riding bicycles on Army installations. Purchased bicycle helmets certified by the American Society for Testing and Materials may also be worn, but when purchasing a new helmet, riders should look for headgear that meets or exceeds Consumer Product Safety Commission standards.

Brian Wood, a Fort Knox safety specialist, said there are different guidelines available online when choosing what the best helmet is for an adult or young child.

“Be cautious about one size fits all, especially in children,” said Wood. “Make sure they fit the helmet snug and not loose on their head, and make sure the chin strap is tightened so it doesn’t fall off.”

He pointed out everyone has to wear a helmet regardless of their age because it protects riders if they fall and their head strikes the ground.

“A head injury is much more difficult to heal from and can cause lifelong ill effects,” explained Wood. “That’s why it’s important to wear a helmet at all times.”

Wood added before people ride, they should inspect their bike, check the PSI in the tires to make sure they are properly inflated, and check pedals, chains and bolts that keep the bike together. An individual should also make sure the bicycle is properly lubricated.

Wood said when younger children are riding their bikes on the sidewalk they are considered pedestrians not so on roadways and crosswalks.

“For bicyclist on the roadway, they are just like a vehicle and they have to operate and maintain the bicycle like they are driving a car,” Wood explained. “They have to stop at all red lights, yield, stop (at stop) signs and use arm signals.”

When bicycling on roadways on Depart-ment of Defense installations during hours of darkness or reduced visibility, bicycles must be equipped with operable headlights and taillights, and the bicyclist must wear a reflective upper outer garment, according to AR 385-10.

Wood pointed out that if a rider plans to ride their bike for an extended period of time, they need to make sure their cellphone is fully charged. The rider should also let someone know the location they will be riding in case of an accident.

The post also has a policy against wearing earbuds or headphones near roadways while riding a bicycle, running or walking on the installation. If a runner crosses the street or approaches, they have to take the earbuds or headphones off before crossing the street, said Woods. Bicycle riders are also prohibited from wearing earbuds or headphones while riding on the installation.

“The only time you can wear earbuds or headphones (is) if you are on an enclosed track,” Wood said. “The Fort Knox High School is a closed-in track.”

BICYCLE RISK FACTORS

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk factors when riding a bicycle include:

* Adults aged 50 to 59 years have the highest bicycle death rates.

* Children (5-14 years) and adolescents (15-19 years) have the highest rates of nonfatal bicycle-related injuries, accounting for more than one-third of all bicycle-related injuries seen in U.S. emergency departments.

* Males die six times more often and are injured four times more often on bicycles than females.

* Most bicyclist deaths occur in urban areas and at nonintersection locations.

* Among bicyclist deaths, 37 percent had alcohol involvement either for the motor vehicle driver or bicycle rider.