COLUMN: Lyle Karasiuk — April 24, 2014

Lyle Karasiuk
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Lyle Karasiuk

The wonderful, often wacky, weather we have had this past week has made us all scratch our heads and wonder if sunny summer days will ever arrive.

A sure sign of spring has been the return to bicycles, motorcycles and skateboards to our streets. Yep time to dust off the helmet and get ready for summer activities.

As a paramedic I want to encourage our motorcycle enthusiasts to dress the part. Helmet, properly fitting and secured. Leather jacket and gloves, please! Try skidding on asphalt in a T-shirt and shorts and see what can happen to the human body. Ouch it will hurt!

Gloves and shoes would also be a nice touch. But before motorists blame the “young” guys and gals for driving too fast zipping in and out of traffic, give them room.

Motorcycles are vehicles too!  Driving any vehicle requires our complete attention, that includes no texting while operating the motorcycle and limit distractions, unplug the ear buds so you can hear what going on around you.

Pedal bikes are coming out of winter storage but before you hop on yours be sure the bike is in good working order. Check the tires, ensure the brakes work, check for any loose parts and as a young person be sure the bike still fits. Moms and dads if shopping for a new bike don’t buy one “they will grow into.”

A bike too big is hard to manoeuvre and too hard to stop especially if the operator cannot get their feet flat on the ground. Time to brush up on the rules of the road. Riding with traffic, stopping at all controlled intersections and using proper hand signals.

The Saskatchewan Prevention Institute has some great resources parents can download. Visit their site at http://www.skprevention.ca/bike-and-wheel-safety/ The use of proper hand signals and being seen in traffic is very important for all cyclists. Most of all grab a lid, a helmet and please wear one. No helmet will prevent a head injury but it will decrease the severity in any collision.

Without a helmet the severity of a significant head injury is dramatic. There are multisport helmets but be sure one your child is wearing is rated for cycling. Wear the helmet right and tight! Make sure it fits, just above the eye brow and with the strap snug under the chin.

Eventually all the snow will melt and the ice will gone from the many rivers and lakes. As you start to think about getting your fishing boat ready also remember the law requires anyone who operates a boat of any size, to have a pleasure craft operator’s card.

Visit our office at Parkland Ambulance and obtain a book, study at home, then book an appointment to write your exam. Exams are also available on-line from many sources including www.boatsmartexam.com.

One of the biggest single things you can have with you on the boat is your life jacket or personal floatation device. No it’s not your seat cushion but please wear it each and every time on the water. But it will be a few weeks more before you can get the boat out on the lake near you till then please stay off the river and lake ice. It is not safe to be on the ice now!

Tell your children to do the same.

Organizations: Saskatchewan Prevention Institute

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