Bicycle & Wheeled Recreation Safety: Be a Roll Model on Wheels

  • Be a Roll Model on Wheels is also available as a PDF

Bicycling, in-line skating, and other wheeled activities are great ways to get exercise, get around, or just have fun. Always wear a helmet, safety gear, and know how to stay safe while on your ride.

  • Before you go, check your equipment.

  • Wear visible clothing, especially at dawn or dusk.

  • Pay attention. Don’t text or wear headphones/ earbuds.

  • Always follow the rules of the road, and stop at all intersections and crosswalks.

Use Your Head and Wear Your Helmet

Bicycle-related incidents are the number one cause of head injuries in children in New York State. A traumatic brain injury (TBI or concussion) is an injury to the brain or skull caused by an external force, such as a strike or impact. When the head hits the ground or an object, the brain crashes against the skull, bruising and damaging delicate brain tissue. TBIs can result in lifelong changes in the way you think, act, feel, and move.

Wearing a helmet absorbs the shock of the impact, and can protect your brain and skull. Adults and children should wear a properly fitted helmet on each ride. Multi-sport helmets can be used for a variety of sports and offer more protection to the back of the head. Motorcycle and snowmobile helmets should not be used because they can affect balance, vision, and could cause a fall.

New York State Law requires all children under the age of 14 to wear approved helmets when bicycling, in-line skating, skateboarding, or scooter riding. Parents could face a $50 fine if their child is riding without a helmet.

Correct Helmet Fitting

Make sure that all helmets are approved for your activity. Bicycle helmets can be worn for other wheeled sports, but multi-sport helmets offer more protection to the back of the head. Choose a helmet that meets the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) helmet standard.
Look for the CPSC sticker to ensure that it is approved.

  1. Helmets should fit snuggly, and be level and stable on your head.
  2. Helmets should fit two finger widths above your eyebrow.
  3. Straps should form a ‘V’ under each earlobe, prior to buckling them.
  4. Straps should be tightened to allow no more than two fingers between the strap and your chin.

Stay Safe While You Roll

Bicyclists and in-line skaters

  • You are considered traffic. Follow the rules of the road. Always go with the flow and direction of traffic. Ride single file.
  • Obey traffic signs and signals. Use hand signals for all turns and stops.
  • One person per bicycle seat only. Kids over age one can ride in carriers, but infants under age one are not allowed to ride in carriers attached to or towed behind the bike.
  • When riding on shared pathways, be respectful of others.
  • Use a horn, bell, and bike light(s).
  • Don’t text or wear headphones/earbuds while riding and gliding.

Gear Up Before You Go

 Wear the right gear for the right activity to avoid injury.

Gear Bicycling In-line Skating Scootering Skateboarding
Helmet X X X X
Sneakers/closed toe shoes X X X
Elbow and knee pads X X X
Wrist guards or special gloves X X
Padded jackets and shorts X
Hip pads X

Be sure that padding is not too tight where it could restrict movement or too loose where it could move.

Skateboarders and scooter riders

  • Ride on smooth, dry, paved surfaces that are safe, such as parks, paved trails, or schoolyards. Stay away from cars or other vehicles. Riding in the road with traffic is not allowed.
  • Carry your skateboard or get off your scooter when crossing the street. Come to a complete stop before crossing. Look left, right, and left again before entering the roadway.
  • Be respectful of others if riding on the sidewalk.
  • Don’t text or wear headphones/earbuds while riding.

Other Resources