Thomas Co. emphasizes bike safety - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Thomas Co. emphasizes bike safety

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THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - While many folks are struggling financially, Jessie Chastain says he's doing just fine. "April and May, of this year, have been two of our best months ever."

Chastain is the owner of Chastain's Bicycle Shop in Thomasville. His family has been selling bikes in town for more than 100 years. Due to the poor economy and high gas prices, more folks are buying bikes.

Chastain says before he lets any bike leave the shop, he goes through a strict safety checklist. "We encourage them to buy a helmet, to get a light if they have to ride after dark, and making sure the bike fits is a big deal. Some people like to buy big bikes for their children that are too big for them."

With more bikes on the road, Thomas County Law enforcement is cracking down on bicycle safety laws. "Bicycle helmets are required for any child under the age of 16. Must be worn at all times even to ride on a bike path. They must have that helmet on," said Captain Steve Jones.

Jones says if you ride at night, your bike must have a headlight that's visible for at least 300 feet. "I don't think that most of the public is aware of these rules as laws. They're there to protect the kids. They're there to protect the riders."

Jones told me a story about a woman who came close to hitting a child on a bike. The incident occurred at night and the child did not have any reflective gear.

"She could have very easily, the lady we were speaking of, could very easily have snatched the wheel out of panic when she realized there's a child on a bicycle and flipped her car, gone off the road, hit another car. Anything could have happened," said Jones.

Chastain says it's very important for cyclists to ride defensively. He says cycling is a fun way to get exercise, but only if you know exactly what you're doing.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding bicycle safety laws, you can call your local law enforcement agency.

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