Oklahoma Bicycle Manual: The Safe Bicycle

No matter how safely you ride, an unsafe bicycle puts you at risk. Get into the habit of checking your bicycle often to evaluate its mechanical condition. It is especially important to check the condition of your child’s bicycle. If you acquire a secondhand bicycle for your child, take it to a bike shop for a safety check. A bike shop mechanic can help you keep your bicycle properly maintained. Bicycle maintenance classes are offered by some bicycle shops, bicycle clubs and schools. Books on this subject also are available.


It is essential that the bicycle fit its rider. Improper fit can cause discomfort and could result in a crash.

The bicycle should be safe for you if you are able to straddle the top tube with clearance between your crotch and the top tube as you are standing flat footed. Consult your bicycle dealer to obtain a better fit. Test ride the bicycle to determine comfort and proper control.

In sizing bicycles for children, they should be able_ to comfortably straddle the top bar of the frame while standing flat footed. This should provide a size for good control yet enough room to allow for growth. Learning to ride on a traditional girl’s bike is a choice to consider for both girls and boys as the sloping top tube reduces the risk of injury to the groin.

Your seat height should be adjusted so your knee is slightly bent when your foot is at the bottom of the pedal stroke.

Make sure the ball of your foot is over the center of the pedal.

Adjust the handlebars for comfort. Adjust the stem for height, positioning it no higher than the maximum extension mark. Rotate the handlebars to your most comfortable position.

Brake levers should be positioned so there is no strain to your wrist and can be reached by the middle of the fingers.

When riding at night, your bicycle must be equipped with an approved headlight and rear reflector. See THE LAW & BIKES.

Proper mountain bike fit allows 5 to 8 inches under the front wheel. Road bike riders should allow 3 to 5 inches.

This section’s text was taken from The Colorado Bicycle Manual.

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