With gas prices soaring nationwide and people more environmentally conscious than ever, this year's events are likely to draw a record number of participants. Standards from the national and international standardization communities help to ensure that bicycling is both fun and safe, this week and throughout the year. So dust off your bike and see how invigorating and efficient a two-wheeled commute can be!
Two standards from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) are designed to assure the safety of cyclists of all ages, whether they are riding to work or the corner playground. ISO 4210, Cycles -- Safety requirements for bicycles, defines safety and performance requirements for the design, assembly, and testing of bicycles in general, while ISO 8098, Cycles -- Safety requirements for bicycles for young children, specifies requirements for those used by children four to eight years old. These standards also offer guidelines on the use and care of bicycles so that cyclists can keep their bikes in good riding condition all yearlong.
Both standards were developed by ISO Technical Committee (TC) 149, Cycles, and its Subcommittee (SC) 1, Cycles and major sub-assemblies. American National Standards Institute (ANSI) member and audited designator ASTM International serves as the ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) administrator to both committees.
ASTM International has also published several standards in the interest of bicycle safety. Whether pedaling on city streets or a dedicated bike trail, bicycle helmets are an absolute must. ASTM F1446-08, Standard Test Methods for Equipment and Procedures Used in Evaluating the Performance Characteristics of Protective Headgear, covers tests for helmets and other protective headgear under specified environmental conditions, but it is up to the users of the standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices. ASTM F1447-06, Standard Specification for Helmets Used in Recreational Bicycling or Roller Skating, addresses performance requirements for helmets while recognizing the desirability of lightweight construction and ventilation.
Many serious cyclists wear special, brightly colored gear to be both clearly visible to drivers and comfortable in lightweight, breathable fabrics. But if showing up to work looking like a bumble bee isn't part of your company's dress code, wearing a reflective sash is a good way to remain highly visible, especially if you're riding at early dawn or dusk. ASTM E1501, Standard Specification for Nighttime Photometric Performance of Retroreflective Pedestrian Markings for Visibility Enhancement, covers the performance of retroreflective markings on objects worn to increase visibility.
Bicycling is good for your heart, it's good for the planet, and it's fun, so what are you waiting for? Hop on your bike and ride!